We’re a big movie watching family. My kids are visual and auditory learners so they love to watch documentary’s, educational films or movies that tie in with what we are learning in history, science or government. I’ve also been known to find a great flick as a way of piquing their interest when it’s time to move on to a new area of study. I’m convinced that you can find a movie for nearly any subject matter you could imagine, as well as some you’d rather not.
I knew when I was offered the opportunity to review a ZGuide to the Movies from Zeezok Publishing that it would be a good fit for our family. When it arrived in my inbox, I couldn’t download it fast enough and as soon as I had a chance to glance through it I emailed the company to tell them how much I appreciated their product, something I’ve never done before.
So, at this point you may be wondering “What is a ZGuide”? You can think of a ZGuide as a guide for movies, the same way a literature guide would be a guide for books, deepening your understanding through a series of activities and exercises.
Zeezok Publishing currently offers over 25 ZGuides in CD or e-book format. The guides correspond to movies that range from Kit Kittredge for young students, to One Night with the King, Les Miserables, My Side of the Mountain, Ben-Hur, Flyboys, Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner?, and the ZGuide I selected, The Boy in the Striped Pajama’s, which is definitely geared towards high school students.
The Boy in the Striped Pajama’s is about a young boy, Bruno, whose father is an officer in Hitler’s Nazi regime during WWII. The family moves to a new home in the country and as Bruno explores the countryside he discovers a ‘farm’ and befriends one of the ‘farmers’, a boy wearing striped pajama’s, named Shmuel, who is actually incarcerated in a concentration camp.
Each ZGuide offers a topic overview, movie synopsis and ten learning activities that can easily be completed in five days, as the lesson plan suggests. First, your child will answer a series of questions as they watch the movie which will require them to really think and absorb what they are watching, forcing them to notice things that they may overlook or simply dismiss. After watching the movie and answering the questions your child will research topics that were suggested or mentioned.
After watching The Boy in the Striped Pajama’s, my kids completed a series of activities that allowed them to grasp a deeper understanding of WWII and the Holocaust. They researched Auschwitz, Nazi propaganda, created a playbill for the movie and learned about theme, irony, humor and foreshadowing. There is also a biblical worldview connection and family discussion questions.
The only aspect of the ZGuide that left me disappointed was the additional resources section. I found the two suggested books meager and would personally love to see this section expanded.
The ZGuides to the Movies are available on CD, with some available as an e-book for only $12.99. I’d love to eventually see some of the titles offered as bundles for families like mine that incorporate a range of movies in their homeschool program. In addition to ZGuides, Zeezok Publishing also offers a selection of materials and resources for the homeschooling family.
Zeezok Publishing can be contacted via their website or by calling (800) 749-1681.
You can also read the reviews of other TOS Crew members by visiting The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.
*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received the ZGuide, A Boy in the Striped Pajama’s, free of charge in exchange for sharing my thoughts honestly and openly. I am not an affiliate for Zeezok Publishing and receive no compensation if you decide to purchase their products.