Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Shakespeare Under the Stars

(I wrote this out last night, but it was to late to type it up and post it.)

I've wanted to write at some point specifically about our homeschool experience--the good, the bad, the uncertainty and insanity :) . There are so many pros and cons and so much we're still figuring out that I haven't been quite brave enough to attempt the topic. So I'm not going to yet.

But tonight we got to do something incredibly fun that we really couldn't have done if we weren't homeschooling. We let the kids stay up late on a school night to go see a play. And it wasn't just any play. It was Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, put on by a theater troop from East Texas Baptist University, a university in a neighboring town They performed it outside of the student center at LeTourneau this evening...for free! And it was terrific.

Not only did Kraig and I like it, but the kids--all three--thoroughly enjoyed it, and not just because there were free snacks :) . I took the plunge this fall, decided to go completely nerdy, and introduce the kids to Shakespeare's plays before they are old enough to think they are boring and impossible to understand. I've heard a lot in the past few years about using picture book versions and other retellings as a jump off point to the real text. Read-Aloud Revival hostess, Sarah Mackenzie, has interviews some folks about it, as has Pam Barnhill of ED Snapshots. The clincher, for me, was when Read-Aloud Revival introduced Ken Ludwig and his book How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. He not only hits on some of the stories, but he helps guide memorizing some passages. And the first play he tackles is A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The kids have responded varyingly. All three like hearing the stories, but while Ev and Jon have dug into the fun of memorizing some of the poetry, Clare has balked and groaned. But she always does that regarding anything she deems pointless, and you can talk to her till you're blue in the face about the beauty of language and how great it all is for stretching your brain. It's no use because she knows better. It's amazing how knowledgeable an 11-year-old can be....

But tonight all three were enthralled. Jon got the actors to sign his program, and was excited to see some kids he knew from church. Ev decided she wants to act out a scene with Puck (as long as she can play Puck). Clare chatted with the girl who played Hermia and was challenged to try acting something sometime, and she didn't toss her head in scorn! All in all it was one of those experiences where I see a glimmer of progress and a reason to keep on the path we're currently taking.

P.S.~ Sarah Mackenzie's site is currently down for maintenance, but be sure to save it to check out later. It's lovely.


  1. Some of the best shows I've seen were community theatre productions. Kudos for you on the Shakespeare!