Why Study Shakespeare?

LCP Ep 2: Why Study Shakespeare?

Join Katie at Literary Cafe Podcast for tips in Why and How to Study Shakespeare in your homeschool. #homeschool #homeschooling #Shakespeare #Language Arts

Join Katie Glennon as she shares fun ways to include Shakespeare’s plays in your homeschool literature and Shakespeare studies starting as early as elementary ages through high school. Find out why you should include Shakespeare in your studies, what resources you can use to more easily understand and enjoy his works, and fun activities for your whole family to enjoy brushing up your Shakespeare!
Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage or her Facebook Group.


Why do we study Shakespeare?

Plots and themes from Shakespeare’s plays are a part of our culture and can be found in movies, television shows, plays, books, and poetry.

References to Shakespeare in Movies

TV Shows with Shakespeare Themes

TV Characters Based on Shakespeare

Book Titles Inspired by Shakespeare Phrases

Allusions to Shakespeare (characters and phrases) are found throughout literature and poetry. When we have background knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays we can better understand the ideas and images authors and poets are trying to convey in their writing.

Words created by Shakespeare are used every day. 1 out of every 100 words are most likely attributed to William Shakespeare.

Words Shakespeare Invented

45 Phrases Coined by Shakespeare

Words and Phrases Coined by Shakespeare pdf – Printable Handout for you to Download

Shakespeare used his plays as a way to share what he observed about human nature and man’s “foibles”. He poked fun at and examined how and why humans behaved. We can learn to understand men’s motivations and the consequences of their actions, and can examine character qualities and flaws.

Shakespeare for Children and High Schoolers

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit

Barron’s Simply Shakespeare and Shakespeare Made Easy series

Shakespeare Activity Ideas

Study William Shakespeare’s life and times and the Globe Theater with some of these suggested book titles –

A Shakespearean Theater by Jacqueline Morely

Bard of Avon: the Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley

William Shakespeare & the Globe by Aliki

After reading a story or some stories, have your children select their favorite one or scene and use quotes as copywork or write a summary or sentence or two of the story on notebooking pages and draw the scene.

You can use this e-book I created for notebooking pages, quotes, book title suggestions, activity suggestions and website links for a ready to go resource for your Shakespeare study. (Just for visiting my podcast page, use the coupon code ShakespearePodcast to receive $1.50 off.)

Having Fun with Shakespeare for Kids and Teens

Having Fun with Shakespeare for Kids and Teens in your homeschool

For field trips, go to plays at local community theaters and schools. Look for a Shakespearean Festival.

Make some puppets from paper and craft sticks, paper bags, or even those old socks with the missing pair. Be creative!

Have a discussion about what happened in the story, favorite or least favorite parts of the story, and about the characters and their actions.

Have a party for Shakespeare’s Birthday (April 23rd) or just have a party celebrating Shakespeare

Throw a birthday partyor celebration and dress up as characters from any stories or plays you have read. Or, dress up as historical figures from his time period.

Use this great free printable pack of party decorations, hats, photo props, and place mats.
Printable Party Pack

Serve food from the time period.

Play games –

  • Quote famous phrases from the stories or plays you read and ask if anyone knows what story or play it came from or what character said it.
  • Read words or phrases and ask if anyone can tell you if it is one Shakespeare created.
  • Read a quote and ask if it came from one of Shakepeare’s plays or the King James Bible.


Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share that your family has enjoyed or any of these ideas! I would love to hear from you! Thanks for visiting! Come back and visit the Literary Cafe Podcast for May’s topic How to Study Poetry in your Homeschool. We will explore fun ways to study and enjoy poetry! Spring is the perfect time to study poetry!


Make sure you subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast at iTunes so you don’t miss an episode or by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page!

Join Katie at Literary Cafe Podcast for tips in Why and How to Study Shakespeare in your homeschool. #homeschool #homeschooling #Shakespeare #Language Arts

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage.

HSHSP Ep 104: Teaching Shakespeare and Loving it! Interview with Kat Patrick

Homeschool highschoolers can really benefit (and like) a unit on Shakespeare. This interview with Kat Patrick, Shakespeare expert, tells how!

HSHSP Ep 104: Teaching Shakespeare and Loving It! Interview with Kat Patrick

This week on HSHSP Ep 104: Teaching Shakespeare and Loving It! Interview with Kat Patrick.

HSHSP Ep 104: Teaching Shakespeare and Loving It! Interview with Kat Patrick

HSHSP Ep 104: Teaching Shakespeare and Loving It! Interview with Kat Patrick

Many homeschooling highschool moms and teens feel intimidated (or even bored) when they think about studying Shakespeare. But take our word for it, Shakespeare can be meaningful, fun and even helpful for life preparation!

Here are some things you should know:

  • Shakespeare was writing for the masses. He wanted to entertain them so that he could sell tickets at his theater. Average Englishmen loved his plays and came back over and over to watch them. If we think Shakespeare in terms of the “common man”, it might feel less intimidating.
  • Shakespeare wrote about universal human experiences. His stories connected with his audience. If we look, we’ll still find connections.
  • Shakespeare’s characters and relationships were relatable to his audience. While the stories are not what we are used to, we can relate with some character or the other.
  • When the characters and relationships were placed in unfamiliar settings, the audiences were allowed to relate, connect and use their imaginations.

Shakespeare did not write his plays to be read. He wrote them to be performed. So try a double-pronged approach:

  • See a production
  • Read that play
  • Try watching an act, then reading that act together (try readers theater style for a fun approach, if you have a co-op or homeschool group class)

Our interview is with Kat Patrick. She is a homeschool mom who for many years lived and homeschooled England. She studied for her graduate degree there (and met her husband, thus raising their kids there). They lived near Oxford. Today Kat teaches English (and many subjects through her international online school Dreaming Spires Homeschool).

Kat reminds us of the benefits to studying Shakespeare:

  • It makes you a better reader: The better you get at Shakespeare, the better you are at reading textbooks, and real-life reading like contracts
  • It gives you context for other Literature studies. If you are going to read British Literature, you’ll never truly understand what you read without some knowledge of Shakespeare, because allusions to his work in embedded throughout any British writing.
  • Lots of our movie and books take ideas from Shakespeare:
    • Comedic characters who scrozzle phrases
    • Comic relief scenes in tragic drama

When you are ready to start studying Shakespeare in your homeschool highschool:

For more resources, check out the following resources:

Shakespeare Copywork from Kat Patrick 7SistersHomeschool.com

Homeschool Highschool Podcast Ep 65: Homeschooling in UK and US

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HSHSP Ep 104: Teaching Shakespeare and Loving It! Interview with Kat Patrick

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