Sunday, July 12, 2009

More About Shakespeare

I have been asked to tell more about how we do Shakespeare.

Charlotte Mason has said that it is important not to get in between the student and the book. So we don't use any commentaries or translations.

For our study, students in years 1 to 3 are in one study rotation, and older students are in another. They younger students just read short summaries of the play, as they are not yet ready to handle the readings of the play themselves. We use "Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare" by E. Nesbit.

Students in years 4 and up do read from the plays themselves. We do the following:

Students that need it - especially in years 4 to about 6, depending on the child, read the story in a summary first. We use "Tales from Shakespeare" by Charles and Mary Lamb if it has the story. This could either be done with all the students working on the play together, or if needed by only 1 or 2 of the students, it can be done individually before the family starts on the play.

Next, we read the play itself. We often assign different roles to the students to read outloud, with Mom reading the rest of the roles. The older students can be assigned the main roles, and younger students can be assigned smaller roles. Of course, this may be more from the reading ability rather than age - or in any other manner you desire. Children that are experienced might have a couple of roles.

Then we listen to a play in original language by professionals, or watch the play on a video (again in original language.) If we are lucky, we will watch a live performance. (In fact, we will change the family rotation if we know there will be an opportunity for a live performance.)

Optionally, we will occasionally pick out a scene or two to memorize and/or act out. If you are involved in a homeschooling co-op doing shakespeare, you could even be ambitious enough to do a whole play. If you do that, however, you may want to scale back a bit on some of the other subjects, or move some of the work from other subjects to another term.

In the high-school years, we add another play for the students to read on their own.

In the earlier years, I don't expect the students to understand everything they read in shakespeare - but they will get a lot, and their understanding will grow.

I hope this has helped!

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