Reading and teaching Shakespeare doesn’t have to be daunting.
I loved reading and learning Shakespeare in high school. It’s one of the few things I remember enjoying about my time in public school. We read Romeo and Juliet in 9th grade and Julius Caesar and Midsummer Night’s Dream in 10th grade.
One of my favorite university courses was Shakespeare. We read lots of tragedies and history plays and sonnets in just a few short weeks. My teacher was passionate about Shakespeare and it was contagious.
When I taught public school, I loved teaching Shakespeare! I taught all levels of students the plays: Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and Macbeth. We didn’t use kids’ versions or easier modern language texts. We read the real Shakespeare. I taught to middle school and high school students. We read aloud and performed scenes in class. Our school had a Shakespeare society and one year I sponsored the team, we won for the county with a scene from The Taming of the Shrew!
Many teachers and parents treat the language of Shakespeare like something foreign and many students are intimidated by that and it shows in their approach to learning something new and a bit unusual.
As a homeschool mom, I teach Shakespeare all the time to my kids of all ages.
How I take the fear out of Shakespeare:
I expose my very young kids to Shakespeare very early on, so they’re familiar with the stories. As they get older, they can read Shakespeare plays and poetry on their own.
We learn about William Shakespeare along with history. We read biographies about Shakespeare and how important he was to developing our English language and his place in history.
I begin with the KJV Bible when my kids reach the level of independent reading, at about age 6 or so. We love reading this version of the Bible. The language is so beautiful and poetic. Being familiar with the spelling and writing of Shakespeare’s time period makes reading the literature easier.
We’re familiar with mythology. The stories are fun and important to literature. Shakespeare makes a lot of references to the Bible and mythology. It helps to understand what he’s referring to in his writing. Shakespeare was very educated in the Greek and Latin plays and refers to them often in his plays.
We read the plays aloud because they make more sense when we can hear it. I don’t kill the lesson with busy work like vocabulary lists, comprehension questions, or analytical essays. We read for fun. We discuss characters, plot, setting, scenes, how they would have been performed. My kids have been taught to think critically and narrate since they were in preschool, so this is natural for us.
We watch the plays performed on film and live on stage whenever we can. I love how the plays are timeless and can be updated with modern twists.
We took a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London!
I bought a Globe tour online at Viator.
It was easier than booking directly at the Globe website, especially since they showed no availability.
I chose the day I wanted the tour and we showed up early. We were ushered right on in to join the first tour of the day.
The theatre is a replica of the original Globe.
Our guide was delightful. They’re all actors at the Globe and he was funny. The kids loved him.
We toured the whole theatre and he told us history and stories about the opening performance of the new Globe in 1997.
There’s a lovely exhibition – a not to miss museum that’s fun and educational for the whole family.
Tori even got to experience traditional clothing. It was so heavy with all the layers, and the farm girl costume was more lightweight than the costume of a noblewoman!
The kids even said this was the highlight of our London trip. They love Shakespeare.
My job is done here.
Shakespeare can be fun for all ages!
- We LOVE Notebooking Pages in our homeschool!
- Homeschool Share Shakespeare Unit
- A Gentle Approach to Shakespeare from Homegrown Learners
- We Are Teachers Shakespeare Activities
- Shakespeare from Activity Village
- Shakespeare Notebooking Pages from Mama Jenn
- Words and Expressions from Shakespeare Pages by Notebooking Fairy
- Shakespeare Lapbook by Homeschool Helper Online
- Star Wars and Geek Shakespeare by Ian Doescher
- Shakespeare Words from Notebooking Fairy
- Currclick Shakespeare list – Some FREE and some $