Shakespeare in the Homeschool

I am super excited that last week we finally got around to doing something I have been meaning to do for years –  an in-depth study of Shakespeare! I am no expert on the Bard, and honestly…

I feel a bit intimidated by the whole thing!

But I am determined to make it work, and I’m also feeling pretty enthusiastic!

For the record, my kids’ did not have a very enthusiastic first reaction. However, by the end of our first session things were looking up, and they were finding the whole thing amusing if nothing else…so I’m hopeful that this will be a positive experience for us.

The plan is to spend around 45 minutes a day, a few times a week, on our Shakespeare study.

I’m pulling from a few different resources for this study.

For the foundation of our study, I signed us up for the self-paced course 10 Weeks of Shakespeare from Music in Our Homeschool. We are working our way through it a bit each day, so it will probably take us less than ten weeks since it’s designed to be done once a week.

We began Week 2 today, and so far, so good. I am grateful to have a helping hand to organize the start of our study! So far, we have viewed both animated and live-action versions of Act 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, spent some time reading through the original script on our own, learned about Iambic Pentameter and how to read Shakespeare aloud, and lots more!

The course uses the two bottom books pictured above:

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig

and

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

I was able to find both books at my library. We are using the Ken Ludwig book to memorize and analyze lines of Shakespeare’s plays. My kids are picking up the memorization much more quickly than I am! I was a bit skeptical about memorizing lines, but it’s giving us a real feel for the language. Plus, it’s pretty darn exciting when we hear “our” line in one of the video clips we watch! And the Star Wars book is a blast! My kids are super familiar with Star Wars and we have had fun reading it in Shakespeare-style.

I also have Simply Charlotte Mason’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in Three Steps) on hand and plan to use it to walk us through the whole play after we finish our introductory course.

An excellent companion to all of this is No Fear Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I found my copy at Barnes and Noble and there were several other titles there. It includes the full script of the play side-by-side with a plain English translation. We have been using it along with the above course whenever we are prompted to read directly from the play.

And then we have lots of other resources I plan to pull in here and there as we have time. We may not get to these until after we finish our introductory course.

They include:

We also have several titles from the Shakespeare Can be Fun! series.

There are several other titles available.

For listening/viewing, we have:

Shakespeare 4 Kidz Macbeth

and

Arkangel Shakespeare’s Macbeth

I have had many of these resources on the shelf for years — with good intentions and no follow through. It was exciting to dust them off!

And that’s how we are doing Shakespeare in our homeschool this year!

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