Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shakespeare Fridays

A year ago I was drawing a blank on how to incorporate Shakespeare into our studies.  I really wanted to do this but I knew I couldn't just start reading original works to my very young crowd.  Everything I had read about Charlotte Mason suggested that this should be material the kids are exposed too.  Just how to do it.  I admit, I am what some would call a Type A personality and really enjoy organization and lists.  I have to see it mapped out for me.  There can be detours and stops, but ultimately I have to have a destination.

Besides Ms. Mason suggesting Shakespeare is good for children, I also had another pressing dilemma.  Many of our homeschool friends have participated in a Shakespeare Theater group that meets once a week from October to about May.  Their goal is to perform a play and I believe have a written paper by the end of their sessions.  It sounds wonderful and someday I hope my kids can be a part of it, especially the performances; but for now the very steep price just isn't justifiable, not yet anyway.  I will say, that the kids involvement in this group certainly sparked an interest in my girls.  Thus, started my research.  Where to start? What books to use?  I ran across Elizabeth Foss and contributor's Serendipidity site.  She has a whole plan layed out for Shakespeare Fridays.  I did not follow her plans exactly but I fell in love with the order of reading materials she suggested. 

Someone recently left a comment on my post that made great sense.  You have to first read and learn the basics before you can dive into the richness of original works.  I think my girls, who had not been exposed to Shakespeare, would have had a hard time jumping right into the stories; much less original works.  I had to start with an introduction.  We started in the fall learning about the Bard himself, then about the Globe, then about stories that inspired him, and are still reading through Edith Nesbit's Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare.  My daughters have enjoyed this Friday morning ritual, that even now as all our subjects are pretty much complete they are anxious about getting to the next story.  It's turned into an everyday Shakespeare.  Last week, we discovered Shakespeare: Animated Tales at our library and have made this an afternoon showing.  They are really enjoying this too.  I thought it was very cute to see my younger daughter sitting on the couch with her Shakespeare notebook ready to compare characters she had drawn.  Oh, I can't forget to mention, they love that they can talk to their friends and not be in the dark when a character or setting is mentioned. 

I'm not sure they are ready to tackle an original yet, but I do know we love our Shakespeare Fridays.  I think we will just move on to maybe Charles Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare, some films and maybe even a home made production.  It is clearly marked on our schedule for the next year.  I'm pretty convinced that this will become a permanent subject with a gradual introduction to his originals and a serious study through all his works.  How are you enjoying your Shakespeare?

Image is of Titania from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from the Graphics Fairy Website.


Jennifer Gregory Miller said...

Did you see the Mater et Magistra issue dedicated to Shakespeare? I thought the suggestions ran along the same lines as E. Foss.

Great ideas!

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Ooo... my first magazine is from Spring 2010. I've enjoyed them very much. Ordering this back issue! Thanks, Jenn.