In Miss Mason’s original curriculum, Shakespeare is only studied in the upper forms, so if you only have younger children, you will not need to introduce them to the works of the Bard yet.  The formal study of Shakespeare’s plays began in Form II.  We have chosen to introduce the plays with an easier and more content-friendly one at the beginning of the year and then progress to a more difficult play, with more mature content for the last play of the year.

If your children are younger, or you are just beginning with Shakespeare, feel free to only study the first or second play, and leave the third for another time. Several of the plays are repeated throughout the years, and a few are not studied at all due to controversy and bawdiness. Please feel free to mix and match, or omit as necessary.

There are lots of ways to introduce and enjoy Shakespeare, and each family will need to find their own way.

Begin by reading a narrative version of the play from Lamb’s Tales(note).  Then consider making popsicle stick puppets of all the characters. (Note from Jennifer:  My children used to each draw zany stick figures with character appropriate costumes.)  Label each character in easily readable letters. Then as you read the play aloud, hold up the character who is speaking.  Go slow and try to make sense of what is happening.  English translations can help, if you get stuck.

Next try watching a performance online.  Pause and discuss as necessary. We have also sometimes used closed captioning to help my readers follow the text more easily.

And then if possible, see a version of the play performed live.  Shakespeare’s plays were and still are meant to be seen on the stage!

If you are very daring, mount your own family or community production!

Remember Shakespeare isn’t begun until your oldest is in Form II, and only do the first play, perhaps stretching it out as long as it takes for you to work through. As your children age, add in the second play, and when they begin high school, you can add on the third one, if you like.

We will add resources for each play as we begin to study them.

2017/2018

2018/2019

  • Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Henry V
  • Hamlet

2019/2020

  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Comedy of Errors
  • Coriolanus

2020/2021

  • Tempest
  • Winter’s Tale
  • Macbeth

2021/2022

  • Cymbeline
  • Henry VIII
  • Julius Caesar

2022/2023

  • As You Like It
  • King Lear
  • Othello

2023/2024

  • Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Taming of the Shrew
  • Richard II

2024/2025

  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Twelfth Night
  • Richard III

2025/2026

  • Tempest
  • Henry V
  • Macbeth

Note:

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb (GT BP AMZ)
If Lamb’s interpretations don’t appeal to you, other options to consider are:

Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield (previously sold as Volume I and II)
Individual books by Bruce Coville (The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, and Twelfth Night )
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit (GT BP AMZ)
Usborne Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare (OOP)
Shakespeare for Children and other audio productions by Jim Weiss at Greathall Productions (AMZ)

OTHER SHAKESPEARE RESOURCES

BBC Animated Series

The Tempest
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
As You Like It
Hamlet
Julius Caesar
King Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
Othello
The Winter’s Tale
Macbeth
The Taming of the Shrew
Twelfth Night

No Fear Shakespeare puts Shakespeare’s language side-by-side with a facing-page translation into modern English—the kind of English people actually speak today.

Check your local library for any resources that might appeal to you or your children.