Learning about Shakespeare for kids can be a fun and enjoyable experience with the right resources. Find easy tips for adding Shakespeare to your homeschool day.
Does the thought of teaching your children Shakespeare send shivers of anxiety down your spine?
Do you worry that your kids will be the only ones in co-op that can’t perfectly recite his plays?
Fear not! Learning about Shakespeare can be fun when you introduce his life and plays in enticing ways.
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If your education was anything like mine, hearing the word “Shakespeare” can make your heart race as you imagine yourself in front of your English class trying to recite scenes from Macbeth with everyone staring at you.
But you’re the teacher now. That means that you get to introduce Shakespeare to your children when and how you want! They can learn to love his works, instead of stressing out when hearing his name.
5 Ways to Teach Your Children about William Shakespeare
- Introduce his work during a Poetry Tea Time.
- Have your children memorize his writings for memory work.
- Learn about his life during an author study.
- Read one of his plays in a version adapted for children.
- Watch a child-friendly version of one of his plays.
Introduce his work during a Poetry Tea Time.
A relaxed and inviting way to introduce your children to Shakespeare is to read his work while enjoying a poetry tea time. Tea (or hot cocoa), baked goodies, and the Bard…a winning combination!
The Poetry for Young People series of books introduces children to a wide variety of poets. Their William Shakespeare book shares many verses from his plays and sonnets. Plus the pages have wonderful color illustrations as well. The first few pages give an introduction to Shakespeare with a background of his life. We’ll be reading through some of the book during our February morning basket.
I remember my first experience of Shakespeare negatively. In my high school literature class, we had to memorize verses from his plays. So it was a stressful introduction to his work. I don’t want that for my children. I want my kids to enjoy reading his work, without the stress of doing it for a grade. So a poetry tea time works perfectly for that!
Have your children memorize his writings for memory work.
If you already have your children do memory work as part of your morning basket, then it’s easy to have them memorize verses of Shakespeare’s writing. The book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig, is the most comprehensive and easily executed resource I’ve found on helping children memorize Shakespeare. It makes teaching Shakespeare for kids much easier.
My children memorized many verses from A Midsummer Night’s Dream several years ago. My youngest homeschooler at the time was only in 2nd grade, yet was able to memorize verses too!
The book shares how to make learning the verses fun. Not only does Ludwig share how to memorize the verses in this book, but he also shares the order in which Shakespeare’s works are easiest to learn.
Learn about his life through your history studies.
Another simple way to introduce your children to Shakespeare is through discussing his life when studying the time period in which he lived. You could also share his life and works as part of a study of England or British history.
The book, Bard of Avon, shares the story of William Shakespeare. This would be a good book to read to your children if you just wanted to talk to them about Shakespeare himself and not his works. The book mentions the names of his plays, but not the actual verses. So if you don’t think your children are ready to read the plays or memorize the verses from them, then this is a good way to just learn about the person.
Read one of his plays in a story adapted for children.
However, if you are ready for your children to read Shakespeare’s work, you may want to do so with stories that are adapted for Shakespeare for kids. To make sure that the adaptations fit your family’s version of acceptable, you may want to pre-read anything you’ll share with your children, especially if they’ll read it on their own.
We’ve especially enjoyed the Shakespeare Can Be Fun! Series. We’ve read A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night so far from this series. My kids love that the illustrations are drawn by children.
Watch a Shakespeare for kids version of a play.
A final way to introduce your children to Shakespeare can be to find a local play. Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be watched, so seeing a local play can excite your children into learning more. In our area, I’ve seen advertisements for plays about Shakespeare for kids, many times even being performed by children. Otherwise, you may want to try to find out if a local play is appropriate for your children to view.
Resources for Teaching Shakespeare for Kids
Teaching your children about Shakespeare can be a fun experience that you share with them. By finding child-friendly adaptations of his works, you and your children can read or attend his plays, memorize verses, or just learn about his life. Shakespeare will not be intimidating with the right resources.
For many other wonderful resources for teaching your children about Shakespeare, check out this Ultimate Guide to Shakespeare in Your Morning Basket.