Getting Ready for High School–Warrens

Watership DownImage

In preparation for her high school honor’s English class, Lainey was asked to read Watership Down over the summer.  It is almost 500 pages long and not an easy read, but I think it is a perfect choice for new high school students…

A short summary of the book:

A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adam’s Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England’s Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

What the summary doesn’t tell you is that Richard Adam’s introduces a rabbit language, that requires repeated page turning to a glossary, and names and nicknames for each of the rabbits which requires a lot of memorization/note-taking.  A bit tedious, but the books is such a great commentary on societies, politics, and groups…perfect for kids who are just starting high school and learning how to function in their own “warrens.”

A warren, or group, is important to most high school students…and critically important to their parents.  After watching two daughters navigate high school and move on to college, I understand the impact that a peer group can have on kids.  And it is BIG, so don’t underestimate the effect it will have on your child.  Personally, I like my girls to be in groups where good values are strong, education is important, competition is a factor, and friends are supportive.  It doesn’t always work out that way, but my life and their lives are easier and happier when they find these groups.

I also think it is so important that they have more than one group…lots of warrens to float between means more friends, more viewpoints, more experiences.  And it makes the transition from high school to college easier because they know how to make friends and enjoy all kinds of people.

Lainey started high school last week, and she is finding her own warrens.  She is a bit tentative at this stage.  She pushes us all morning so that she won’t be late for school, but once Joe gets her there, she is a bit slow and hesitant to leave the car.  Although she knows a lot of the kids at the school, this is new turf and she is uncertain about her place.  But, she has been establishing groups her entire life and I’m confident she will be able to find her part in the high school warren as well. But do you think she would mind if I just pick her warrens for her?


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