I know. I hear you! You are trying to grasp just why, when you will have to eventually teach advanced mathematics, why you should bother to teach Shakespeare. After all, what can Shakespeare teach us today?
You might also struggle with the thought of teaching an archaic language. Forsooth! You’re trying hard enough to do all.the.things Charlotte Mason style, why bother (
pull my hair out over) teaching Shakespeare?
Here are 5 good reasons to teach Shakespeare in your homeschool.
1. Shakespeare, Bard of the Bible
Shakespeare exemplifies the pinnacle of the poetic and dramatic language of his day. His work provides a type of non-religious framework for understanding the imagery, grammar, and vocabulary of the King James Version of the Scriptures. Of course, Shakespeare didn’t quote from the King James Version of the Bible (he’s often accused of writing it!), but the beauty and magesty of the English language is codified in both. It is said that he added over 200 words to the English language, his inspiration coming from Bible stories, Biblical characters, along with myths, and from an astute observation of human nature.
2. Good vs. Evil
Observing human nature, and writing at a time when the world was markedly Christian, it’s hard to escape the role of good vs. evil in his works. While not being a Christian work, (Shakespearean plays do have parts better filtered into story form for little ears), it embraces a right view of Biblical principles such as sowing and reaping, judgment and mercy, lying and honesty, and the dangers of the occult. In a modern world gone mad with the confusion of good vs. evil, Shakespeare can be a good choice for a teaching companion.
3. Ode to a Sonnet
If you polled one hundred people, asking what they think of when they hear the word sonnet, a good majority would think of William Shakespeare. His contribution to poetry provides your children a lifetime of study.
4. Because You Owe it To Yourself
Homeschooling affords the homeschooling mother the delightful treat of learning alongside her children. For some moms, this means the opportunity to embrace Algebra 2 for the first time. But, for many moms, it’s history and literature that we feel we’re learning for the very first time. Often our own school experience was driven by a textbook and a time-strapped educator. There was no time for the delight of working through dense and complex language. If we’re willing to truly dig in and do the work with our students, we can re-discover our own love of learning. And Shakespeare is just the guy to do that for you.
5. To Embrace the Biblical Virtue of Mercy
The works of Shakespeare resonate with this virtue, and this is truly something that has to be modeled in all we do to really grasp it. Mercy is God’s virtue, we only borrow it as creatures in the way we are echos of our Creator. Our human tendency is to come down on the side of judgement or justice. God, in his grace, extends mercy. How often? Seventy times seven.
Regardless of the depths of sin or despair we see portrayed in the characters of Shakespeare, we see mercy at work, justice vs. mercy, mercy extended, mercy called for.
Tucking this Biblical virtue away in the recesses of our children’s minds, allowing them to make their own connections, as Charlotte Mason would suggest. We may be laying the groundwork for their own receipt of mercy, that moment in their own lives when they embrace the Gospel of Christ.
Shakespeare isn’t easy, but it is rich. It can challenge you, grow you, and provide you with a lifetime of learning.
In the elementary years, we want to encourage creativity, inspire a curiosity, feed a sense of wonder, and spark an imagination. Great literature is one way to build a lifelong learner. Shakespeare provides a rich sense of language and is an excellent tool to introduce your child to classic literature and Elizabethan history. Allow Shakespeare to be the catalyst to discovering the rich the world of performing, history, and literature.
Intro to Shakespeare, is a self-paced Charlotte Mason inspired unit study for elementary students (2nd-6th grade). The course engages the student in the life of Shakespeare while introducing them to figurative language, sonnet 18, music, art, and science of the time period. Your student will enjoy learning through provided downloadable PDF files, resource links, videos, and fun assignments and projects including becoming a playwright!
Introduce your child to the world of Shakespeare using the Inspired by Charlotte Intro to Shakespeare Online Course. Learn more here.
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