Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Read-Aloud Revival
Do you do this too?
Do you overcomplicate your homeschooling life? I’m not really sure why I do it. Maybe it’s because I feel like I have so much on the line- I don’t want to mess up my children’s education!
Or maybe it’s because in the heat of the moment- when a child is melting down over a math lesson, the toddlers are all whining for a snack, and the dishwasher starts to overflow, it all does feel rather … complicated.
So I make color-coded homeschooling plans (that never actually pan out in real life) …
… I spend way too much time organizing and rearranging our schoolroom (when most of our day could be happily tackled from the couch or dining room table) …
… and I develop a huge list of books and ideas, because my son mentioned to me (in passing) that he’d like to learn more about the Civil War.
Next thing you know, I’ve got fourteen internet browser tabs open and I’m filling up my library hold queue like a madwoman with Civil War books from every library branch in town.
Slow the train, sister.
In general, homeschooling doesn’t need to be as complicated as I make it out to be.
In large portion, homeschooling well is about showing up each day, showering my kids with love and attention, and helping them take the next step as they learn and encounter new skills and ideas.
One of those areas a lot of us overcomplicate is introducing our kids to Shakespeare.
It seems like a subject that should be taught by someone who knows what she’s talking about, right? At least someone who has read a lot of his plays? Someone who knows that the Globe is not just a sphere of the earth, sitting on our schoolroom bookshelf?
Helping your kids fall in love with Shakespeare doesn’t need to be difficult, complicated, or intimidating.
I’m here to tell you–getting your kids hooked on Shakespeare is way easier than you think it is, even if you’ve never read his work yourself. In fact, you don’t need to know much of anything to get started.
Three Simple Steps to Getting Started with Shakespeare
Here’s a simple method to getting your family on a roll:
1. Choose a Shakespeare comedy to start with.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a perfect place to begin, but your children will also enjoy Twelfth Night, As You like It, and Much Ado About Nothing.
If your kids are older and want more of an adventure story with swords and big emotions, you could try a tragedy like Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth.
2. Find some good retellings of the Shakespeare play, and read those with your kids.
You’ll find my top recommendations in this brand new FREE guide, A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started with Shakespeare.
Narrative retellings help you get a sense of the characters, setting, and the main plotline before you tackle the original language in Shakespeare’s plays.
Also: you’ll laugh a lot (if you start with a comedy, that is), which is a bonus.
3. Try your hand at memorizing a few lines with your kids.
Use Ken Ludwig’s book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, to get started with memorizing. It sounds difficult, but trust me: it doesn’t get easier (or more delightful!) than this.
I’ve heard 3 year-olds recite long passages of the Bard after hearing older siblings work through the first chapter of this book.
You’ll find Mr. Ludwig’s suggestions for how to use this book in your homeschool on page 3 of the free guide I mentioned earlier, The Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started with Shakespeare.
I bet you’ll be surprised at how captivated your whole family becomes with the story lines in retellings of Shakespeare’s work. You never know— your kids might beg you to read aloud for a *little* bit longer so they can find out what Nick Bottom is going to do next, or how on earth the romantic foibles in As You Like It will turn out.
You just may fall in love with Shakespeare yourself!
Tell us in comments— have you tried teaching Shakespeare to your kids before?
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