Ode to The Bard on His Birthday

This is being reposted in honor of William Shakespeare on his birthday
(originally posted this time last year)

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I tripped and fell into homeschooling my younger children.  It wasn’t planned, wasn’t the long-fulfilled desire of my heart, and wasn’t the knee-jerk reaction to a bad school situation.  More on what brought us to this place on another day.

But I do love what we do (most days) and am constantly reminded what a privilege it is to be the one who gets to discover and explore this great big wonderful world with my children.  Last week, we had our year-end state-required testing.  They did well, although I’m convinced that “the best” of what we do will never be measured by or demonstrated on any test.  More on that another day as well.

The remainder of our school year will be much more laid back – we’re done with Spelling, Math, etc.  We’ve been freed from the “must-do’s” in order to enjoy more of the “can’t wait to-do’s”.  I must admit that as we entered this phase of the school year, I wasn’t sure what our days would hold.  More serious practice of instruments in preparation for recitals, finalizing details for our eldest daughter’s wedding, and freedom to enjoy our history reading at a more leisurely pace were what we’ve all been eagerly anticipating.

The fruits of a more relaxed schedule always catch me off guard – in the best sense of the term.  Today, Will (my 11 yr. old) disappeared for a substantial period of time.  This was no great surprise, as he is my avid and somewhat obsessive reader.  However, he finally emerged from his solace not with a conquered book in hand, but having created the following:

Although we never gave a test in history, never required a project, and rarely adhered to the “lesson plan”, I think we actually learned something this year!

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Some of our favorite resources on Shakespeare:

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by Edith Nesbit
Probably my favorite (but take into account that I’m a huge Nesbit fan).  Beautifully written, engaging, and true to story, yet each chapter is short enough to read in one sitting.

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
A classic.  Similar to the Nesbit book, but the stories are a bit longer.

The Wonderful Winter by Marchette Chute
Highly recommended.  A little boy runs away to find himself living in the Globe Theatre.  He becomes part of the Shakespeare household.  Many of the actual historical characters are included, and we get to see “behind the scenes” as Mr. Shakespeare’s new play, Romeo and Juliet, is being produced.

Hamlet for Kids (one of a series) by Lois Burdett
This series is a fun introduction for children.  I’d recommend reading the Nesbit story first, then reading through Burdett’s corresponding book.  Each book tells one of Shakespeare’s stories through rhyme.  The artwork (and occasional commentary) is provided by children.  The stories are clever, fun, and often include direct quotes from Shakespeare.

Will Shakespeare and the Globe Theater by Anne Terry White
One of the World Landmark series.  A great piece of historical fiction that walks the reader through Shakespeare’s life and the Globe Theater.  An easy read, but I learned much.

Will’s Quill (or How a Goose Saved Shakespeare) by Don Freeman
A delightful picture book.  Found in most libraries.

Shakespeare for Children CD by Jim Weiss
Weiss is a master storyteller.  I’d recommend his cds for children of all ages.

If you have some favorites, please share for the benefit of others…



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