“All the world’s a stage,
and all the men and women merely players:
they have their exits and their entrances;
and one man in his time plays many parts…”As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7, 139–42
Although I do not have a unit study for you what I do have is a series of steps to take you through years of studying Shakespeare.
So Let’s start out with looking at Just the Facts…
- Born: April 26, 1564 to John and Mary Shakespeare
- Where: Stratford-upon-Avon
- Married: Anne Hathaway and had 3 children and only one grand child who died childless so there are no direct descendants to Shakespeare.
- He wrote 38 plays, 154 Sonnets and 2 long narrative poems.
The thing about Shakespeare is that since we do not speak like he did then it is sometimes hard to understand. The key to Shakespeare for our family has been to grasp the basic story first and then to move into reading the actual plays.
Shakespeare in the Grammar Stage
In the Grammar Stage Shakespeare involves reading the abridged works by the Lambs or Nesbit. These books provide the plot that the child will use to understand the actual play later. So during this stage the children would identify the characters, plot and setting. They would gain a really good grasp on the plot of the play and who is involved in that plot.
Our goal is to provide them with the grammar of Shakespeare so when we enter the Logic Stage we are able to build on it.
Shakespeare in the Logic Stage
The Logic stage is all about why because they have developed the capacity for abstract thought. So now we can explore the themes within a Shakespearean play. Why did he choose certain words, what is the symbolism in the play, what does it point towards, why use certain words etc…
So at this point they know the plot, characters and setting from their study of the play at the grammar level. Now it’s time to examine why folks did what they did. Why did they extract a pound of flesh from the Jew in the Merchant of Vince?
Shakespeare in the Rhetoric Stage
The final stage in the trivium is the Rhetoric Stage, it builds on the first two stages.
“At this point, the high school student learns to write and speak with force and originality. The student of rhetoric applies the rules of logic learned in middle school to the foundational information learned in the early grades and expresses his conclusions in clear, forceful, elegant language.” (The Well Trained Mind, website)
So at this point the student can take the facts, learned in the grammar stage, and combine them with the theories learned in the logic stage to compose a forceful and elegant argument supporting his conclusions.
When you take Shakespeare in bit size pieces and everyone understands what is going on in the play the world of Shakespeare is blown wide open and the true beauty and majesty of his work is brought forth. I hope your family comes to truly enjoy the beauty of Shakespeare.
Books to Help Light the Way Studying Shakespeare
Just can’t get enough of Shakespeare? Here are some things to help you on your journey:
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream (No Fear Shakespeare) – Shakespeare on one side and a modern translation on the other side. for the Logic Stage
- Christian Reading Companion for 50 Classics
- Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers (Dover Children’s Classics)
stories for young readers for the Grammar Stage
- Tales from Shakespeare (Wordsworth Children’s Classics)
for the Grammar or Logic Stage (geared for a slightly older reader then nesbit)
Places to Find Inspiration Studying Shakespeare
- Shakespeare for the Ears by Homeschool Radio Show
- William Shakespeare Portriat from Barb at Harmony Art Mom
- Happy Birthday Shakespeare from Kris at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
- Homeschool Shakespeare Study for Kids from 31 Cups
- Shakespeare for Children by Jimmie’s Collage her Squido Lens