I love books. I’m always reading something. I go back and forth between fiction and nonfiction. However, my love of books can get expensive! So recently I decided to re-read books that I already have on my shelves. Many I haven’t read for (literally) decades.
One of the books I decided to re-read was Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl I hadn’t read this book since I was very young. Reading it as an adult gave me a completely different take on the book.
One thing I noticed is how rigorous the education was for the youngsters who were in hiding from Hitler and his “Final Solution.”
To give you some background in case you haven’t read the book or you haven’t read it in a while:
Anne Frank’s family was originally from Germany, however, when Hitler took over the government Anne’s father very quickly saw the danger for the Jews that was coming. He moved the family to Amsterdam.
Nevertheless, Holland was invaded by Germany and was no longer a safe refuge for Jews. Again, Otto Frank, Anne’s father, saw the danger his family was in. “The Final Solution” – Hitler’s drive to eliminate the Jews – was in full swing. Otto managed to find a group of people willing to hide his family in a “secret annex.” Unlike in Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place the Franks were secreted in an office building. The rooms that served as home for the Franks for two years were hidden behind a bookcase that served as a door. There was another family living with them and another gentleman joined them a year or so into their hiding. There were definitely tensions among the various individuals as might be expected with living in such close quarters. Sadly, after two years in hiding, and shortly after the Allies Normandy invasion, an informant gave the Franks up and they were sent to concentration camps. The only survivor of the Frank family was the father. When he returned to the annex, he found Anne’s journals and in time these poignant entries were made available to the general public.
In any case, now I come to answer my question, was Anne Frank a homeschooler? Before their time in hiding Anne was discharged from one school because she was a Jew. After that she attended a school that was for Jews only. The family went into hiding in 1942 when Anne was about 13 years old. But her education didn’t end there.
On one hand, you could say that having a rigorous education was not a difficult undertaking considering that she and a young man in the annex (Peter) didn’t really have anything else to do. They couldn’t exactly go on field trips! And they had to be quiet during business hours downstairs so they wouldn’t be detected.
Nevertheless, as a “relaxed” homeschooler I was blown away by the rigorous coursework these two young people undertook. In fact, it makes me a little embarrassed and wondering if I’m putting in everything I need to in order to give my son a quality education.
The people who helped the Franks go into hiding provided much of their supplies. For instance, they obtained illegal ration coupons so they could get them food (though the Franks and others in the annex still had times of eating the same rotted food over and over). These helpers also managed to get for the Franks course work, sometimes from universities, that Anne and Peter could use for their studies.
Allow me to describe just ONE DAY of studies that Anne lists in her diary.
- Translated into Dutch from English a passage about Nelson’s last battle
- Read more about Peter the Great’s war against Norway, et all with dates
- Read about Brazil including their Bahian tobacco, the abundance of coffee and a description (a long one) about the many inhabitants of that country
- “Quickly” ran through a genealogical survey
- Continued her program on the history of the Church
- Studied a variety of animals
- Bible study including Noah and his sons
- Read “The Colonel” in English, by Thackery
- Heard her French verbs
- Compared the Mississippi with the Missouri
And I would add that she did all this while suffering from a cold!
I don’t know about you, but this list rather blows me away. I would note that while Anne’s first language was German, she worked on learning a variety of languages, as can be demonstrated by the list above.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is a poignant enough story. Anyone reading it could derive great benefit from reading this book. But as a homeschooler the takeaway is even more pronounced. This young woman’s education didn’t suffer by being hidden for two years. It’s a course of education anyone could be proud of. I suggest you give this a read, and after you do, share your thoughts in the comments section below.