Bridge Cycle Two – Shakespeare, Rough Schedules


This will be our third year of tackling the real-deal bard stuff of Shakespeare! Our enthusiasm for Billy Shakespeare has waxed and waned a bit over the past couple of years but still, we press on with our Shakespeare studies.

I must admit my excitement about teaching Shakespeare – the real-deal Bard stuff – is a bit over the top to start with. Reading the beautifully composed rhythms of Shakespeare’s mind is such fun with kids! When I first started teaching Shakespeare to my littlest learners, I spent a bunch of time looking into just how to go about doing it.

We follow Ambleside Online’s reading lists for the early elementary years (Years/Grades 1-3). In those years, this process worked well for us. When we reached upper elementary, we followed AO for one year of their Shakespeare cycle before I started the Bridge. That first 4th grader taught me a lot about combining CC and AO.

During that year, similar to a multitude of other things in our homeschool journey, I took the “dive-right-in” approach. We sank or swam based on the sturdiness of the small raft I fashioned in the form of Rough Schedules I crafted.

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I haven’t really graduated from those days of sink or swim hopes. I figure my enthusiasm will carry us far – it’s infectious in our house. I share these Rough Shakespeare schedules for the Bridge Cycle 2 with similar hopes. Not because I have gotten it all figured out and am ready to tell the world of my brilliance. Rather, humbly, I offer these rough schedules as a way to cast a small amount of light down the tunnel.

Psst…I mix metaphors around here all the time.

You are welcome to kick the logs (as it were) of my little raft and decide if any of my craftsmanship appeals to you. If it does, feel free to follow along with us. If it does not, feel free to walk away knowing how not to do it.

The three Shakespeare plays I selected for the Bridge Cycle Two are:

A Few Peremptory Goals

Before I divulge my Rough Schedule, I thought it might be wise to set forth some goals for my “raft.” Each year these are the goals I am hoping to accomplish without sinking into the mire.

For starters, a basic understanding of the plot, characters, and some literary devices is the most basic goal – observation. Secondly, continuing to develop a love of language – delight. And lastly, developing the ability to dissect hard passages, mining them for meaning, without throwing up one’s hands and dismissing them as too hard – perseverance, it might be called.

With these three watchwords – observation, delight, and perseverance – in mind, let’s begin.

What Shakespeare Looks Like in our Homeschool

There is little commentary, little fanfare – and no lectures on structure or style. I do a simple introduction, work on memorizing a passage for a couple of weeks, read the story of the play and then dive right in. We don’t formally assign parts until we are reading each week. My daughter keeps a log of our parts and we simply read aloud together. Afterwards, we have a discussion of what is going on in the play – this counts as narration for us.

I typically create some resources for the memorization and introduction of each play. I have the ones for Much Ado About Nothing ready to go, but I am still working on the other two plays. If you would like these, please let me know.

At the end of the term, I try to find a version of the play which least offends my sensibilities to show my kids. We don’t often use screens in our homeschool, so this is a BIG deal for us.

Much Ado About Nothing

Week 1: Introduction (with Memorization Passage)

Week 2: Introduction – Characters

Week 3: Act 1, scene 1

Week 4: Act 1: scenes 2-3

Week 5: Act 2, scene 1

Week 6: Act 2, scenes 2-3

Week 7: Act 3, scenes 1-2

Week 8: Act 3, scenes 3-5

Week 9: Act 4, scenes 1-2

Week 10: Act 5, scenes 1-2

Week 11: Act 5, scenes 3-4

Week 12: Celebration- watching the play, snacks, general revelry, etc.

Macbeth

Week 1:

Week 1: Introduction (with Memorization Passage)

Week 2: Introduction – Characters

Week 3: Act 1, scenes 1-3

Week 4: Act 1, scenes 4-7

Week 5: Act 2

Week 6: Act 3, scenes 1-3

Week 7: Act 3, scenes 4-6

Week 8: Act 4, scenes 1-2

Week 9: Act 4, scene 3

Week 10: Act 5, scenes 1-4

Week 11: Act 5, scenes 5-8

Week 12: Celebration- watching the play, snacks, general revelry, etc.

Henry V

Week 1:

Week 1: Introduction (with Memorization Passage)

Week 2: Introduction – Characters

Week 3: Prologue; Act 1, scene 1

Week 4: Act 1, scene 2; Act 2, chorus, scene 1

Week 5: Act 2, scenes 2-4

Week 6: Act 3, chorus, scenes 1-2

Week 7: Act 3, scenes 3-7

Week 8: Act 4, chorus, scene 1

Week 9: Act 4, scenes 2-5

Week 10: Act 4, scenes 6-8

Week 11: Act 5

Week 12: Celebration- watching the play, snacks, general revelry, etc.

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