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One of the fun things we are doing to enrich our homeschool experience this year is memorizing Shakespeare with the help of Ken Ludwig’s terrific book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. This book is laid out easily and the coordinating website includes free printables to make your task even easier.
We have managed to use this very simply, without needing a lot of attention from me. Basically, we have our current printouts up on the wall in our school area. During breakfast we usually go through the current section that we’re memorizing about 7 times. This is a trick I learned from my Classical Conversations Foundations tutor training. 7 seems to be a magical number for getting things to stick in our minds when we have short bursts of time to learn them. The 7 times are usually varied. For instance, we all say it together 2-3 times, then maybe each of us goes around the room and tries to say it without looking, or maybe we do teams of two and two. It just takes a couple minutes and can be done while munching on breakfast or lunch, and if we forget to do it then, often someone will bring it up while we are driving or transitioning from one subject to another. It’s easy and takes up almost no time.
Once we get the basic words down, we work on expression. (Because who wants to hear monotone Shakespeare recitation? Nobody. That’s who. lol) It is very helpful that Ken includes helpful tips and information in each chapter that helps us understand the storylines, the characters, and what the words mean when they are different from what we would know in modern-day English. By the time we’ve read through the section and memorized the passage, we have a pretty good idea of what it’s all about.
And then, for fun, sometimes my guys like to jazz it up with chants and raps. They play with the rhythm and pronunciations and such. We have had costumed performances and dancing, too! And now all of my guys think that learning Shakespeare is pretty stinkin fun. 🙂
I shared about this book (and a few others) on periscope, and two of my boys were kind enough to do a rap(ish) version of some of their Shakespeare. It was too fun not to share. 🙂