We love libraries in the River Houses, and we hope you and your homescholars do as well! This week is one of our homeschool Shakespeare weeks because this Thursday (25 October) is the anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the central event in Shakespeare’s play Henry V. If you’re studying Shakespeare in your homeschool, you should certainly explore the teaching materials available online from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., one of the world’s leading centers for Shakespeare research:
The Folger is located on Capitol Hill, right next to the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court — a place of high honor indeed — and you can visit and tour the library the next time you make a homeschool trip to the nation’s capital.
At the Folger’s website you’ll find the full texts of all the plays and sonnets, lesson plans for many of them (with more on the way), and helpful summaries of each plot — including Henry V for this anniversary week:
“Henry V begins at the English court, where the young king is persuaded that he has a claim to the throne of France. When the French dauphin, or heir apparent, insults him by sending him tennis balls, Henry launches his military expedition to France.
“Before departing, Henry learns that three of his nobles have betrayed him, and he orders their execution. Meanwhile, his old tavern companions grieve over Sir John Falstaff’s death, and then leave for France.
“Henry and his army lay siege to the French town of Harfleur, which surrenders. The Princess of France, Katherine, starts to learn English, but the French nobles are sure of success against Henry. Instead, Henry’s forces win a great victory at Agincourt.
“After a brief return to England, Henry comes back to France to claim his rights and to set up his marriage to Princess Katherine. The play’s epilogue points out that Henry will die young and that England will as a result lose most of his French territories.” (Folger Shakespeare Library)
Bookmark the Folger Library’s website (folger.edu) and return to it often whenever you’re planning a homeschool lesson on the Bard.
What treasures have you discovered in your library lately? 😊
❡ Explore more: Your River Houses history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books) has a beautifully illustrated overview of the Elizabethan period, within which Shakespeare lived and worked, on pages 260–261. It’s just the background you need to do a wonderful homeschool history lesson.
❡ Books in the running brooks: The sidebar on the River Houses website (riverhouses.org) has links to several important online library collections that we like to explore. The WorldCat Library Finder (worldcat.org/libraries) will help you find all the libraries in your local area — there may be more than you realize — and the WorldCat catalog itself (worldcat.org) will help you locate the nearest copy of almost any book in the world. 😊