Our family cherishes our morning time each school day. Having a large family with varying age ranges can make homeschool challenging. Morning time was the gift that helps bring us together each day. From the high schooler to the toddler, we can enjoy some great books together. This has been a great opportunity to share my love of Shakespeare with my children as well!
There is no reason to dumb down our children’s education. Just because the words may be difficult, doesn’t mean to omit them. Homeschooling is an opportunity to challenge our kids to stretch their minds and see beyond themselves. Plus, if they can grasp Shakespeare, anything else should come easily.
Global Student network states that “scholars estimate that Shakespeare invented 1700 of our common words. He changed nouns into verbs, changed verbs into adjectives, connected words never before used together, added prefixes and suffixes, and devised completely new words. He also coined expressions that have been used so much they are now considered clichés.” Give your students a wide vocabulary and challenge the status quo by adding Shakespeare to your day.
His plays develop characters we can relate to and opens a world of discussion to you and your children. Some are funny, some sad and depressing, and some historical. It’s a rich culture to expose your children to!
From Young to Old – er
Now how do we introduce Shakespeare to the younger crowd while still appealing to the older ones?
Read alouds are essential to our homeschool and I hope yours too! Try reading aloud a series like The Shakespeare Stories during your morning time. All ages will love the stories in simpler English, while giving a base knowledge to further their studies as they get older.
Another fun way to add some exposure to the Bard, is with Usborne’s The World of Shakespeare book. It’s a great visual of his works, hometown, Globe playhouse, and more. If you have high school students like I do, then they can help explain the pictures. Seeing it important to an older sibling can help encourage interest in the subject as well.
Bringing Shakespeare Alive
Feed your creatives with an opportunity to …well…create. He wrote ballads, not just plays. Practice some prose or try Shakespeare Well-Versed for some fun rhyming narrative. Grab some props and put on plays. Our morning time doesn’t always look the same every morning and doesn’t always mean we are sitting around reading books. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with it.
A fun fact is that Shakespeare did not add script notes to his playwrights. He simply wrote the spoken words and the rest was up to the director’s imagination. I’ve seen some beautifully creative renditions of his plays such as A Much Ado About Nothing placed in a Mexican border town and Romeo and Juliet shot into the future where guns were worn instead of swords. Give your children creative license to think outside the box.
Mix it Up
If at first try, your kids aren’t receptive, take a break and try something different later. I was shocked when my 11 year old daughter preferred the historical playwrights. Try reading aloud a ballad. Even if all the words aren’t understood, the flow and rhythm is enjoyable.
As always, preview material before reading with your children. Some Shakespeare themes are mature and not appropriate for the younger crowd. Got more ideas on introducing the Bard to your children? Please share!