summer Shakespeare

the big question around homeschool blog land is DO YOU STILL DO SCHOOL IN THE SUMMER?  (sorry, didn’t mean to yell).  and i don’t quite know how to answer.  are we really looking forward to long days?  do we have lots neat things we get to do?  do our days look different than they did last fall?  the answers are all yes.

june 09 009not quite 3 year old Mabel investigating Bottom the Donkey in Midsummer Night’s Dream

maybe the neatest thing we do with our summers is soak up Shakespeare.  we are lucky to have a few different companies in town that do Shakespeare in the park.  for free!  can you imagine?  free means we can go more than once.  free means we can leave early if need be.  free means we really are free to enjoy Shakespeare without any feelings of guilt or pressure.

here’s how we do it:  we check the schedule to find out what plays are being performed.  then we hit the books.  we read a few different adaptations for children and a few major scenes in original language.  we also color from a few Dover coloring books and play dress up.  at our house these last few weeks, a four year old Shylock has been demanding “12 fleshes of skin!”  i sure like his adaptation!

The Best-Loved Plays of Shakespeare

this year’s great find is The Best Loved Plays of Shakespeare by Jennifer Mulherin and Abigail Frost.  this book provides a short summery of the main action, a few illustrations, and (best of all!) some of the most famous lines from each play.  the prose is a bit flat, but it is a wonderful addition the other retellings.

my best list of resources for sharing the Bard with children can be found in the many other Shakespeare posts.

here is a link to the Brave Writer Lifestyle section where you can find plenty about bringing Shakespeare into your life and creating a literature-rich family culture.  don’t forget to see Julie’s blog; it is just bursting these days.


  1. We do lots of concerts and such in the park, but I have never taken the kids to Shakespeare in the park! I have such fond memories of going with my mom as a child. (And I don’t think homeschool kids can KEEP from learning in the summer – just a whole different array of ideas and concepts to absorb!)

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