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First the stories

April 28, 2009

On my Shakespeare post last week, Angilee advised me to give Romeo and Juliet another try as my only experience in reading it was with my 9th-grade English class.  I happen to love Romeo and Juliet, tragic though it is, and I’ve been trying to figure out when I first became acquainted with the story.  I feel like I’ve known it for a very long time, even before we slaughtered it in junior high.  I’m pretty sure I saw it at the Utah Shakespearean Festival with my parents.  I know I’ve seen it as an opera by Gounod.  And West Side Story is one of my all time favorite musicals.  So where did I learn the story?

I vaguely recall that sometime in my youth (not in school, I know that) I came across a volume of stories from Shakespeare’s plays and read the entire thing.  So although I’m still a novice, I don’t feel like Shakespeare is completely foreign to me. 

One thing that I really love about our homeschool is that we are already reading so much great literature and much of it ties in to our chronological history studies.  So last year we read simplified versions of the Odyssey and the Iliad.  This year we’ve read picture book retellings from Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and Shakespeare.  Next year…well, I’ve only begun to look at literature for next year, but I’m sure we’ll read a little Gulliver, some Dickens, Defoe, and words of the Founding Fathers. 

When we go through our 4-year history cycle again, we’ll come back to some of the same literature, and eventually by the time the boys get into the original works of the world’s great writers (which just may be on the next go-around the way A is reading) they can dive right in and not be intimidated because they already know the stories.  (As an aside, I don’t plan to only do Shakespeare once every four years.  He will become a staple.) 

I should include myself in this as well.  I already know a lot of the stories and some of the originals still scare me, but I thoroughly enjoyed Beowulf last fall, as well as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  I’m beginning to fill in some of the gaps in my own education and I’m loving it.

Now I just need to get out of the fluffy reading mode I’ve been in (not that Brother Cadfael mysteries are entirely fluff!  Are they?) and tackle the Dante that’s been on my list for months.  I wonder if there is a children’s version of Dante’s Inferno I can try first, but then why on earth would there be?  If there was, would you want your child reading it?  There’s something to think about…

Off to search…

Well, what do you know, I found Stories from DanteThis should be interesting reading.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2009 8:06 am

    I have gotten into the habit of looking for children’s versions of “difficult” reading too. I guess knowing the story line is better than nothing, and some of them are so well written and include some of the actual language. They are a great stepping stone to some of these classics. I totally feel like I am filling in gaps from my own childhood. All these names, books, and events actually have context and meaning for me now. I love homeschooling. I learn so much!

  2. Mom permalink
    April 29, 2009 10:59 am

    I’ve been looking in the family chronologies to see when you went to the Shakespearean Festival and what plays you saw.
    1990 Loves Labor Lost,The Importance of Being Earnest, and Ghosts
    1991 Taming of the Shrew,Volpone, and Misalliance
    I’m sure you went to Romeo and Juliet some time. too, but I can’t find it.

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