Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shakespeare: for all ages

It was in the early days*, even before we started schooling, that I first knitted my brows* over the idea of introducing Shakespeare to my own flesh and blood*. What a strange thought for me, considering I am not conscious of having read significant Shakespeare during my own education, let alone my early education. It was still all Greek to me*! Yet, as luck would have it,* AmblesideOnline has Shakespeare on the schedules starting with year one. But the truth be out*, I've been on again, off again with my reading of the Bard with my littlest listeners. In my mind, doubts lingered, Can one start too early? Can there be too much of a good thing*? Recently, I decided is high time* to get out of this Shakespearean pickle I'm in* and figure out just what I think about it.

One of our very favorite things to do when we start a new Shakespeare play, 
is to do a character sketch...  which has been SO, super helpful!

It is a foregone conclusion*, that my ideas are much better developed now than before. For one, by Jove!* I've discovered that a Shakespeare play, as diluted by Lamb or Nesbit, isn't much different from a fairy tale, the value of which I am quite convinced of. The themes in Shakespeare are more real life too, which helps them deal with stony-hearted villains* within a safe context, and that's good. Also, as the kids are familiar with the storyline, they'll be excited at how much they'll be able to understand when they revisit the play later on. That's good too.

Seemingly without rhyme or reason*, however, I have this recurring feeling that I'm doing my kids a great injustice; big spoilers and all, giving away all the story lines WAY ahead of time. All my newly found reason and resolve begin to vanish into thin air*, until I revisit a quote like these:

"Little by little the people of Shakespeare, filling a larger world than she could know, became as real to her as her friends. That was the great gift he brought her."
~Shakespeare and the Heart of a Child, Gertrude Slaughter

"In [Form 2B] they read their own geography, history, poetry, but perhaps Shakespeare's Twelfth Night... should be read to them and narrated by them until they are well in their tenth year. Their power to understand, visualise, and 'tell' a play of Shakespeare from nine years old and onwards is very surprising. They put in nothing which is not there, but they miss nothing and display a passage or a scene in a sort of curious relief.
Charlotte Mason, v6p182

or then, there's these:

"...a child has entered into Shakespeare's Temple of the human spirit and come forth charged with a knowledge far beyond his present or his future experience. It cannot all happen on a summer day. Step by step, slowly and serenely, under a clear sky, the child approaches by pleasant ways to an understanding of life... and a sane and healthy joy of life is entrenched in the child's mind against the blows of fortune by the beauty of the medium through which the world has been revealed."
~Shakespeare and the Heart of a Child, Gertrude Slaughter

"The transition to Form IIA is marked by more individual reading as well as by a few additional books. The children read their 'Shakespeare play' in character. "
Charlotte Mason, v6p182

And then of course there are blog posts like this one, that really help me get a grip on things. So, if the truth be known*, I'm feeling pretty good lately about reading Shakespeare with my kids of all ages.

"In Forms III and IV... They have of course a great flair for Shakespeare, whether King Lear, Twelfth Night, Henry V, or some other play..."
Charlotte Mason, v6p184

Like this idea? See my recent Cymbeline post here for more... :)

Helpful Links: 

Helpful Books:
**See amazon links below (yep, you can click there to support our homeschool habit!) 

For youngsters:
Shakespeare, Bard of Avon
Shakespeare coloring book (paper dolls)Tales from Shakespeare  (download in various formats) or get the audio @

For elders:
Brightest Heaven of Invention

Well, that, my friends, is the long and short of it*. *Of course, every time you see an asterix above, you are seeing one of many of our common figures of speech that were invented by Shakespeare. For goodness' sake*, who knew?! See more here and here.


Makita said...

Great post!  I love the *s.  I caught on right away. :)

amyinperu said...

oh goody! ;) @Makita!

Naomi said...

Awesome drawings!! Great post Amy. I love the quotes!

Trisha said...

Your posts about Shakespeare have been quite helpful to me. Thank you for investing the time to share with the rest of us what has worked for you. 

Celeste Cruz said...

I *love* the character sketches--I'm so glad you shared them!  Please tell your children that they are fantastic drawings!  They put my stick figures to shame.  LOL  I think I just need to wait it out until my children get old enough to take over the job from me. ;) 

amyinperu said...

well, you're welcome of course. it helps me to have it all written down too! :)

amyinperu said...

@celeste, yay! the sketches are my FAVORITE shakespeare help :) of course, for non-artistic kids, it would be a huge frustration.
so, i would only recommend it if it's something helpful AND fun :)

Amy Tuttle said...

for one of the best shakespeare posts ever… @ mental multivitamins... click here

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Blog Archive