World War II: Lessons for Homeschool and Life

We’re studying World War II at our house. It’s a bit different this time around, with four girls as students, rather than their six older brothers.

So far we’ve read aloud some really good books:

The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier (later editions renamed Escape From Warsaw)

The House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJong

Next on the list is the young adult version of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Update: this book ended up as one of our all-time favorite read-alouds)

We’ve watched these movies:

The Scarlet and the Black, starring Gregory Peck and Christopher Plummer (based on the true story of a Vatican priest who ran an extensive underground organization aiding escaped Allied soldiers and Jews under the noses of Nazis in Rome. The final “what happened next” is incredible)

The Enemy Below, starring Robert Mitchum and Curd Jurgens (exciting cat-and-mouse game between the captains of an American destroyer and a Nazi submarine)

Valiant (animated movie about carrier pigeons, featuring the voices of Ewan McGregor, Tim Curry and Ricky Gervais)

With more movies on the must-watch list:

Gung Ho! and Go For Broke, both black and white, slightly corny propaganda-type movies with a good story line nonetheless

The Longest Day (the “longest movie” detailing the events of D-Day, with a huge cast of vintage stars)

I know the list could go on and on. I really didn’t intend to write a post about World War II resources. We’re a bit of a World War II buff family, probably from years of having six sons at home.

I got started with all of this by thinking about how grateful I am.

After reading this morning about a little Chinese boy lost in the mountains after his family’s village was burned by the Japanese, who suffered hardship and starvation while rescuing an American airman, and cried for his mother in lonely moments–I was grateful my children are home with me.

After reading about a starving little boy who ate mud because he was so hungry–I was grateful that we have plenty of good food.

After watching a movie showing the Nazis storm a neighborhood and round up innocent people to send them to concentration camps–I was grateful for freedom and safety.

I don’t have any bad days. My life is not hard. Busy-ness and ordinary days are amazing. Cleaning house and doing laundry are privileges. My sons get up and go to work in the mornings, not to battle. The list could go on, but you get the picture.

Sometimes a little perspective adjustment is a good thing. An unexpected homeschool lesson from World War 2.


  1. I am listening to Unbroken and have had the same response. I am truly thankful for a life that is not dominated by oppressive leadership. We have much to be thankful for.

    1. Susan Smith says:

      My husband and I are reading Unbroken. It really gives a glimpse into what our servicemen endured during WWll and makes me very grateful for my many uncles and all others who served in this war and other wars. I am grateful, also, that my son, who has been in the US Navy for 8 years and has done three overseas deployments, is willing to make the sacrifice to serve his country.

  2. Jeanette Anderson says:

    Loved the post. I have found your posts on gratefulness to be so encouraging! It has been key in helping me change my thoughts and how my days go! It truly is a priveledge to feed and care for these beautiful children of God’s!

    Just wondering, where do you find these movies at?

  3. I am grateful for all the things that I’m in the middle of packing – before moving to another state – that helps make our home “OUR home” and will again in a new house.

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