Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Z-Guides to the Movies: The Hiding Place

About a year ago, I had the chance to review a cool new product from Zeezok Publishing -- The Count of Monte Cristo in their then brand-new Z-Guides to the Movies series.  We had a lot of fun with that!  So when I had the chance to try another one, we didn't have to think about whether or not we wanted to... we just had to think about which movie we'd prefer to do.

Connor chose The Hiding Place.

You can read what Zeezok says in answer to "What, exactly, is a Z-Guide?" by going here.  My quick and dirty answer is that a Z-Guide is an e-book used to help you use a movie in your schooling, mostly for high school level, though they are expanding to have more available for younger ages.  The Z-Guide provides some overview information and ten activities that help you and/or your child explore the history, geography, philosophy/worldview and literary aspects of a specific movie.  My summary is that a Z-Guide is a fun supplement to your school!

So what did we think?

Connor & I both love the concept of these guides.  And the individual activities are well thought-out and really serve to make us think, or to guide us to more information.  Connor's favorite activity in this guide was either the mapping one (he commented on how he really didn't get a feel in the movie for just where the concentration camp actually was) or the one that had him designing a hiding place.  Personally, I would have hated the design your own hiding place one when I was in high school...  but I'd have loved the one where I was to interview to become a part of the Dutch resistance.

As a parent, I appreciated the activities that had to do with 'what would you do?' and some of the 'is it ever right...?' ones.  We had watched The Hiding Place before with Connor.  We had some good discussion then, including the BIG -- "would you hide Jews?" question.  That question is obvious.

The Z-Guide for The Hiding Place brought out a lot of other questions and discussions though.  Is it okay to lie?  Corrie says it isn't... but is she consistent about that?  Is stealing always wrong? Fabulous conversations.

The one frustration I had with both of the Z-Guides that I have used, though, is that they start off with a pretty little schedule, so you would use the guide over one week, doing two activities a day.  The problem is that the workload is not spread out very evenly that way and I just cannot imagine making that work.  But, homeschoolers tend to be master tweakers... or at least I am.

I would tend to plan for any future (high school level) Z-Guide to be something I'd use over 2-3 weeks.  Start with reading the introductory material, then a day to watch the movie (and complete the first activity, which has them answering questions about the movie as they watch it) and then plan for an activity per day... sometimes extending the activity over two days.

Bottom line though:  we love these guides.  I really want to do the one for Flyboys. At $12.99 per Z-Guide, I probably can even do that.

You can read what other crew members had to say about various Z-Guides (some not yet published!) here:


Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive this product for the purpose of a review.  All opinions are my own.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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