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 language 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 Shakespearean teaching and 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 someday if you make a homeschool trip to the nation’s capital.
On 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).
This year, in our strange time of pestilence, are you still mostly stuck at home and unable to get out and socialize? If so, the Folger’s got you covered too:
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 here’s one of my all-time favorite performances of Henry V that should also prove educationally inspirational:
If any of your students are aiming for a scholarly career, don’t forget that it’s never too early to start exposing them to an occasional reading of Shakespeare in the original language:
So, happy birthday, Will! (More or less!) 🎉
What literary treasures have you laughed over in your homeschool this Leo Term? 🎭
❡ Explore more: Your River Houses history encyclopedia 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 found all the local libraries in your area? There may be more than you realize, and there’s no better homeschool field trip than a field trip to a new library! The WorldCat Library Finder will help you find all the library collections near you — public and private, large and small — and the WorldCat catalog itself will help you locate the closest copy of almost any book in the world. 😊
❡ When in doubt, go to the library: This is one of our regular Homeschool Books & Libraries posts. Add your name to our weekly mailing list and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 📚