For live links, click to: riverhouses.org/2019-shakespeare 😊
It’s Shakespeare’s birthday! 🎉 Well, more or less.† And that’s good enough for us!
† The thing is, we don’t really know the exact date of Shakespeare’s birth. We do know that he was baptized on the 26th of April in 1564, and so was probably born just a few days earlier. The 23rd has become the customary date of celebration, and who are we to argue with that happy tradition? 😊
We love books and libraries and literature in the River Houses, and if you’re planning to study Shakespeare in your home academy — today, tomorrow, or any day in the future — you should definitely bookmark and explore the free 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 (Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and more).
Here’s a properly reverential reading from Macbeth that you can use to inspire your students this week — I didn’t learn this soliloquy until I was in high school, so this kid’s definitely got the jump on me:
And if any of your students are aiming for a scholarly career, it’s never too early to start exposing them to an occasional reading from Shakespeare in the original language:
What literary treasures have you laughed over in your homeschool 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-and-literature lesson.
❡ Dukedoms large enough: Have you visited all the local libraries in your area? There may be more than you realize! The WorldCat Library Finder (worldcat.org/libraries) will help you locate all the libraries near you — public and private, large and small — and the WorldCat catalog itself (worldcat.org) will help you find the closest copy of almost any book in the world. 😊
❡ 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. Why not sit yourself down at a large screen for a while (rather than a phone), and give them a browse. 😊