Monday, October 26, 2009

A Year With Shakespeare

Wow, this is more fun than I realized. I was just really intimidated, but after looking into it, I'm getting excited.

A friend of mine was hosting a homeschool highschool year long Shakespeare class and I put Dd#1 in it. After a month, I decided that it was too much time away from home and too hard to find a place for the younger kids while she was in it.

When I took her out, Dd#1 really wanted to continue to study Shakespeare, so I told her that we could get some homeschool kids who are close by and hold our own class. *Then I actually had to do it.*

Jenn's A Year With Shakespeare : Lesson Plans
Materials :
  • Folger's Shakespeare Library of each work you want to cover. These run ~ $6 each. I chose 6 plays & we'll cover 16 sonnets. (I'd normally choose 8 plays, but I figure the sonnets make up for the other 2 plays.) If you want to take vocabulary or analysis, this series is the best student series I've found. I'm really pleased with it and so is Dd#1.
  • Hewitt Lightning Literature Comedies & Sonnets also Hewitt Lightning Literature Tragedies & Sonnets $25 each This is normally a self-teaching 2 semester highschool course. I'm going deeper than that course goes, but it's a good jumping off point. A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night -&- Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth
  • Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Christian Guide To Six Shakespeare Plays by Peter J. Leithart ~$15 This is an excellent aid to reading Shakespeare from a Christian perspective. All the speculation about Shakespeare being anything but Christian is hooey and it's trying to remake the bard in the image of somebody he wasn't. This work could be all you need to make up a class for your kids' highschool course. The guy who wrote it ran a homeschool co-op class on the topic and then wrote the book off his lessons. GREAT stuff! Henry V, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing

Catholic Components :

  • Dr. Henry Russell has a CD set that I bought through Kolbe called "The Catholic Shakespeare" It's interesting enough for your highschooler to listen to. The last fourth of the CD is the Catholic part, the rest is just literary, moral & biblical in nature. Good stuff. The CD's run $15-$20 but Kolbe added about $5 shipping when I bought 1. I've only listened to MacBeth, but Hamlet and The Tempest would be interesting listening, too. This CD gave me the vision and framework in how I wanted to tackle Shakespeare.
  • Encyclical - Immortale Dei : On the Christian Constitution of States His Holiness Pope Leo XIII It's free at the Catholic encyclopedia site New Advent. It was tough to get through, as are most encyclicals (have a Catholic dictionary and maybe a regular dictionary handy) but once we got in the swing of it, good reading. I'm glad I didn't ask her to cover it without me. It's a good one to read with one of the king stories of Shakespeare (Macbeth, King Lear, Julius Ceasar, Hamlet)

After Listening to Dr. Henry Russell, I've decided how I'm going to teach Shakespeare. Much the same way we learn the bible. I'm incorporating Lightening Literature for Part I. It includes writing prompts that will be great with this class.

I. Literal Sense - what happened in the play.
II. Moral Sense - is what is happening good or bad (for the characters, for the larger themes as well as the subplots).
III. Biblical / Typological Sense - how is this character or circumstance like someone or event from the bible. Also biblical themes like Resurrection / Redemption, etc.
IV. Eschatological Sense - how does Christ factor in (or not) into the play and how does that fit with what we know to be the "big themes" of the bible (The Church, last days, heaven, hell), etc.

Within that framework, we'll fit in
  • symbolism and all the literary devices that Lightning Literature has for this highschool course
  • Information on Shakespeare's time period (some listed in Light. Lit., some listed in the Folger's books)
  • Themes to each of the books

We'll meet twice a month. I thought we could cover 1 play per month and one pair of sonnets in a two week period. I'm also assigning 2 papers per play and one paper per sonnet pair.

The kids will come with play read and the Comprehension Questions anwered (from Light. Lit.). We'll spend about 15 minutes going over the comprehension questions and iron out any questions the kids have about what was going on in the play. Then we can move onto the good stuff : themes, symbolism, moral, biblical and escatology of the plays. We'll spend at least 2 hours discussing that. I'll let them choose a writing assignment (many listed in Light. Lit. and in the back of those lessons, more listed in Leithart's book.)

The next session we'll finish up (or continue depending on interest of the kids) discussion and if we have time well watch a recommended DVD. (Peter J. Leithart has very specific reviews and recommendations in his book listed above.) One of the papers per month can be an analysis of the DVD or play we've seen. They'll choose a 2nd writing assignment for that play.

In the third session, they'll turn in their previous assignment and we'll cover a set of sonnets with them choosing a writing assignment. Then, we'll do it all over again with the next play.

No comments:

Post a Comment