Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course.

Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course

Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course

For years, parents of homeschool high schoolers asked us for some Shakespeare materials. As you know 7Sisters curriculum is mostly homeschool and mostly fun- no busywork but good education.  Finally, Sabrina captured the Shakespeare work she has done with our local homeschoolers with a self-paced online course. It covers one semester of high school Shakespeare experiences.

Our goal is to help homeschool high schoolers experience Shakespeare the way he intended – as entertainment! Let’s dive into the details of this fun Shakespeare online course and share how it can transform the perception of Shakespeare.

Breaking the Shakespeare Stereotype

Do you remember your high school days when studying a Shakespeare play felt like a chore? It’s time to leave those cringy and boring experiences behind. We understand the struggle all too well.

Here’s the thing: we have found a way to make Shakespeare fun and enjoyable for our own kids! And now, we want to share that experience with all of you!

Shakespeare was an entertainer, writing for both the educated upper classes and the common people. His plays are filled with universal themes and relatable characters. 

Once you start approaching his plays with the intention of being entertained and connecting with the characters, you will be blown away by the power of his stories! His works explore universal themes and relatable characters that transcend time and place.

It’s a new perspective on Shakespeare that changes everything. 

So, that’s exactly what we share with teens in this Shakespeare online course. It’s a one-semester course where they will explore four plays: two tragedies, two comedies. Not only that, we even dive into some Shakespearean sonnets. Our aim is not to turn teens into Shakespeare experts, but to help them appreciate and enjoy Shakespeare’s work.

The Course Structure

This self-paced online Shakespeare course is designed to make learning enjoyable and stress-free. The course is hosted on the Teachable platform, which provides a user-friendly interface for seamless navigation. Once you create a free account, you can easily purchase the course and access the sixteen individual lessons. Each lesson includes a video where Sabrina shares her insights and thoughts on the week’s topic.

Study Guides and Homework

There is a bundle of Shakespeare study guides as the framework to accompany the online course lessons. (We also offer them as individual guides for specific plays like:

These guides provide Shakespeare education with analysis, vocabulary exercises, and summaries of the plays. Homework assignments are based on the study guides, allowing students to engage more deeply with the material, and they include recommended performances to watch.

Parents can easily grade their teens’ work using the included answer keys, and there is also a chance for students to write responses to prompts that explore the universal themes in the plays.

The Magic of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

In addition to the plays, the course also includes two weeks dedicated to Shakespeare’s sonnets. These beautiful poems offer a different perspective on his writing style and allow students to explore the power of language and emotions. 

By analyzing and discussing select sonnets, teens can unlock the beauty and depth of Shakespeare’s poetry.

Shakespeare Education: Engaging with Shakespeare’s Plays

One of the key aspects of our online Shakespeare course is watching performances of the plays. You will receive high-quality recommended productions available for free on YouTube, ensuring that accessibility is not a barrier for your kids to get their Shakespeare education.

After watching the plays, students are encouraged to discuss and answer questions related to the characters, themes, and their personal connections. This interactive approach helps teens develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for Shakespeare’s work.

Lifetime Access and Co-op Opportunities

We believe in the importance of sharing resources within families and homeschool communities, so here’s the best part: once you purchase our Shakespeare online course, you’ll have lifetime access to it, meaning younger siblings can benefit from it in the future. Just like our ebook curriculum, we want you to be able to use it with multiple children or even share Shakespeare within your homeschool co-op

Speaking of co-ops, if you’re interested in doing the course with your co-op, reach out to us at info@sevensistershomeschool.com, and we’ll work out a generous discount for you to ensure everyone can participate without violating copyright.

Free Download: Expressions that Shakespeare Gave Us

As a fun teaser, we have a freebie on our website that explores expressions coined by Shakespeare called Expressions that Shakespeare Gave Us. It’s a fun download that introduces you to some of Shakespeare’s famous quotes. 

You will be surprised to discover how many common phrases actually originated from his works. It’s a great way to get started and realize just how much Shakespeare has influenced our language.

Shakespeare: Fun, Online Course

Don’t let past experiences or preconceived notions deter you from exploring the magic of Shakespeare with your children. With passion and expertise, our self-paced online Shakespeare course offers an engaging and enjoyable journey that your teens will not only appreciate but also connect with the characters and themes on a personal level. 

Embrace the opportunity for your kids to experience the joy and entertainment that Shakespeare intended, and let us guide you through this remarkable literary adventure!

If you have any questions or need further information, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to support you in your homeschooling journey. We value our 7Sisters Siblings community and love seeing it grow!

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool & Humor for writing this blog post!

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How to Handle Shakespeare for Homeschool Co-ops

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Handle Shakespeare for Homeschool Co-ops.

Teaching Shakespeare in Homeschool Co-op

 

How to Handle Shakespeare for Homeschool Co-ops

Sabrina and Vicki love Shakespeare and they love teaching Shakespeare for their homeschool co-ops. They have had so many fun experiences with their high schoolers as the teens learned about Shakespeare and a few of his most famous plays.

So what are some ways to handle Shakespeare for your homeschool co-op?

Keep it fun! Don’t scare the teens off by taking his works too seriously!

Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school and there’s not ONE right way to teach Shakespeare.

Show the teens the timelessness of some of his characters. (Some of the character types are folks you can run into today. Look for Sabrina’s Literature Study Guides for Shakespeare to help with this.) You can start with this FREEBIE on timeless expressions that Shakespeare gave us.

Also, check out this episode with Sabrina that has more ideas on teaching Shakespeare.

Traditional Academic Co-op (Let’s call it Sylvester)

The Sylvester co-op feels comfortable with textbooks, scope and sequences, syllabi, and grading assignments with rubrics. When approaching teaching Shakespeare, Sylvester co-op teachers will plan for a formal atmosphere. They will spend a lot of time translating Elizabethan English into modern English. They will teach iambic pentameter with counting syllables and finding accents in lines of words. They will discuss rhyming couplets. They might even do some copywork with this FREEIE from our friend, Kat Patrick.

This is all fine and dandy! (Remember, there’s not ONE right way to teach Shakespeare!) But Sylvester co-op, here’s word of advice: You might be tempted to ONLY do those things. Sabrina recommends that Sylvester gets a little loose and have fun. How to do that?

Ask yourselves: Why has Shakespeare remained so popular all these years? Now you can answer yourselves: Because it’s good storytelling with good characters.

While there is strange language, important form and structure, there is lots of interesting stuff to discuss in co-op. Take for instance: Discuss Much Ado About Nothing. It is a Shakespearian rom-com! Anyone who has seen a modern romance-comedy can find points of connection back to Much Ado About Nothing!

Organic, Bordering on Unschooling Co-op (Let’s call it Beatrice)

The Beatrice co-op might be a bit all over the place. They might be allowing a go-with-the-flow, find-a-passage-to-read co-op. They will probably be acting out favorite scenes in a light-hearted manner.

That is all groovy! (Remember, there’s not ONE right way to teach Shakespeare!) But Beatrice co-op, here’s a word of advice: You might be tempted to just have fun with interacting with favorite scenes. However, Sabrina recommends spending a little time explaining why Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter.

You know why? Because Shakespeare’s plays were produced by a company (SO many plays for one company to remember, line after line after line). But what Shakespeare knew (like many of his playwright peers) was that the rhythm patters of Shakespeare’s plays made heavy memorization of lines possible (and quicker). That’s because the rhythm of iambic pentameter is similar to English speech patterns and the musicality of the rhythm aids the memorization.

A fun activity for a co-op like Beatrice is to take a conversation the students just had over lunch, write it down, and then change it to iambic pentameter!

The Somewhere-in-between Co-op (Let’s call it Bob)

The Bob co-op is so moderate, a bit of fun, bit of strenuous academics. You have a lot going on at your co-op. You could choose a couple of scenes for creating a readers theater production.

Readers theater is a bit more than just a reading around the room- that’s fun, though, try it sometime. Rather, you will cast students as specific characters. They will read over and study them ahead of time, they read the script as part of the performance.

Usually characters wear black with one special piece that helps identify the character- like the “fool” character wearing a jester’s hat. This piece can be anachronistic, too- like a sea captain wearing a modern sailor hat.

Readers theater works great on Zoom, btw!

I guess our co-ops were a bit Sylvester-sh, Bob-ish AND Beatrice-ish because our homeschool high schoolers did all these activities with their favorite teacher, Sabrina!

SO, how do you handle Shakespeare for homeschool c0-ops?

One way is to use 7SistersHomeschool’s soon-to-be-released Literature Study Guides for Shakespeare! Sabrina has created these guides based on the activities she did with our teens. The guides will include:

  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Mid-Summer Night’s Dream
  • Hamlet
  • King Lear

Like all 7Sisters study guides, they will be no-busywork, don’t-kill-the-play. They will focus on the timelessness of the plays and characters, a little bit on form and structure, and links to good productions of Shakespeare’s plays for the teens to watch.

Join Vicki and Sabrina (and the Bard) for an inspirational discussion! For more on teaching Shakespeare, try some ideas from our friend, Kat Patrick.

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How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!

Sabrina and Vicki are so excited we got to be together (on Zoom, anyway). The pandemic has sure made it a challenge to all be together. In this episode, we talked about one of our favorite Literature topics: Shakespeare.

Don’t gasp! Studying Shakespeare can seem intimidating. However, Sabrina has experience teaching our local homeschool high schoolers the works of the Bard that inspires teens to enjoy it. Join us for some of Sabrina’s top tips on teaching Shakespeare!

Why study Shakespeare in homeschool high school?

  • Because it makes you look smart (especially seeing it on the homeschool transcript)!
    • Teens feel smart when they study Shakespeare. It sounds so intellectual to say, “I’m studying Shakespeare this year!”
    • Moms feel smart just typing it on the homeschool transcript!
  • Because it helps teens understand the human experience.
    • Many of Shakespeare’s characters have feelings and thoughts that teens have felt or thought. It is eye-opening for them to discover that people for eons of time have had the same human experiences.
  • Because it is an opportunity to experience masterful storytelling.
    • Homeschool trivia: Did you know that Shakespeare’s great storytelling followed the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s storytelling guidelines:
      • Tragedies require that things do not turn out how the reader thinks they should. In fact, the good people are punished for their goodness and the bad guys are rewarded. It causes the reader to say, “That’s not right!”
        • Vicki points out that tragedies can be used to change people’s behavior. For instance, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a tragedy. People read the book and felt that the world could not go on in that tragic way. A response was generated. As Abraham Lincoln reportedly said when he met the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, “So this is the little lady who made the great war.”
      • Comedies require that things turn out as the reader thinks they should. The good people are rewarded for their goodness and the bad people’s evildoing is revealed and punished.
  • Because when homeschool high schoolers read great books and plays, like the works of Shakespeare, they bring to the reading their own personalities, ideas and motivations.
    • Shakespeare himself wrote with his own personality, ideas and motivations.
    • So when teens read his works (as in all good reading experiences), there is a genuine meeting of the minds.
    • This brings about a challenge to action or growth in thinking.
  • Because Shakespeare’s plays are entertainment
    • In his day, as in our day, there was great production value that gave audiences a wonderful experience.
    • In our day, it is easy to go on YouTube and find excellent productions of his plays for teens to watch. (Check out Bob Jones University’s and Rice University’s productions of Shakespeare’s plays.)

BTW- This summer 7SistersHomeschool will be releasing literature study guides for our favorite Shakespeare plays:

  • King Lear
  • Hamlet
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream

As always, our literature study guides don’t kill the play, are user friendly and adaptable to different levels of interest and ability!

How do 7Sisters Shakespeare Study Guides work?

In 7Sisters Shakespeare study guides, Sabrina encourages teens to watch a performance. Sabrina actually uses “a sort of backwards format” from many other Shakespeare guides.

  • First, she gives a background to the story.
  • Then, she tells them what happens in the story (total spoiler alert). This way teens have in their minds when they watch the production the plotline, the characters (and how to expect them to behave).
  • Next, they watch the performance. (Sabrina points out that students will not be able to follow the entire story, but they will have the basic idea and in watching the performers’ expressions and behavior, they will catch the basic ideas.)
  • Finally, they read the play. They discuss the plot, characters, wordy passages and difficult to understand material, the rhythm (iambic pentameter) and rhyme schemes, etc.
  • Vicki points out how much our teens have enjoyed learning Shakespeare’s plays.

BTW- As a freebie on 7SistersHomeschool.com, there will be a list of phrases the Shakespeare invented. It is a fun discussion tool to start a Shakespeare unit.

Why did Shakespeare write in iambic pentameter?

  • The Globe Theatre had its troupe of actors. They had many plays to memorize quickly. Iambic pentameter helped them quickly memorize their plays.
  • Iambic pentameter also closely mimics our natural speech patterns. (Ever think about that?) Therefore, it is easier to listen to.
  • When teens know trivia like this, it sometimes makes Shakespeare feel more enjoyable.

Why did Sabrina choose those particular plays?

Both of the tragedies have main characters who are similar: The main character thinks he knows who he is and what he is doing in the world but finds out the opposite. But each of the characters is opposite in age (King Lear is in his 80s and Hamlet is late teens). This shows the universality of existential crises.

Both of the comedies have a look a “love” and all the social implications and silliness of finding true love. There is also a wonderful character type who uses words wrong all the time (malapropisms): remember Dogberry the constable in Much Ado about Nothing or Dick Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream? They just can’t get their words right (to hilarious ends).

Want more Shakespeare resources? Check out this interview with our friend, Kat Patrick, on teaching Shakespeare, a freebie from her, and her wonderful courses at Dreaming Spires Home Learning.

Join Sabrina and Vicki for a fun chat about teaching Shakespeare’s plays.

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  6. Thanks!

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  1. Tap the purple Podcast icon on your phone
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  3. In the search bar type: Homeschool Highschool Podcast
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  5. Tap *Subscribe*
  6. Please tap *Ratings and Review*

How to Teach Shakespeare so Teens Will Like it!