~ The Bard
~ Romeo and Juliet
~ Henry VIII
~ A Midsummer's Nights Dream
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players . . .
Then I hit college and my British Lit professor was a HUGE Shakespeare fan. In her classes, we delved into the many sonnets accredited to Shakespeare and enjoyed his plays in completely new ways. She was thrilled to share her passion with us and as a result deepened my appreciation for the Bard. I read the works of Shakespeare then because they were enjoyable.
Last year my children and I studied Rome to the Reformation and Shakespeare's work was briefly introduced to them. It was interesting for us to read and study together. And it fueled my desire to study even more. I've always wanted for us to do an in-depth study of Shakespeare, but I've had a hard time finding just the right curriculum to use. I knew that I wanted to study the lighter works first -- before we jumped into the heavier tragedies. I was excited to be given the opportunity to use Hewitt Homeschooling's Lightning Literature & Composition for Shakespeare: Comedies and Sonnets written by Elizabeth Kamath.
Lightning Literature & Composition Shakespeare courses take a close look at four Shakespearean plays and eight sonnets. Students studying the Comedies and Sonnets pack read Twelfth Night, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice. These are such great selections to begin a study and develop a love of the Bard. Because these are high school selections, I hoped that my high school Junior would enjoy the work. After "listening in" last year and briefly learning about Shakespeare in her British Literature class, she was excited to read more.
The 174-page Student's Guide begins with a superb introduction that explains why students need to read great literature and how it helps them to become better writers. Written directly to the student, Lightning Lit & Comp is easy to understand and empowers the student from the very first page. My Junior enjoys writing but typically prefers to do it her way. With Lightning Lit she has accepted the challenge to read, form individual opinions and creatively share them with others. She has also learned to appreciate sonnets and has even tried to pen a few on her own. ~Sonnets are included in the Student's Guide.~ As they study through the plays and sonnets, students look closely at literary themes, characters, symbolism and content. (Check out the first chapter in the Sample Pages. This will give you a great feel for the curriculum.)
The 49-page Teacher's Guide explains what is expected of the students and teaches you how to grade the papers your child is writing. What I especially like is the flexible scheduling options included. Hewitt Homeschooling recommends that each Lightning Literature guide take one semester (18 weeks) to complete but they also offer a suggested schedule if you would like to use the guide over the course of the entire school year (36 weeks). Answers to the student's comprehension questions are included in the Teacher's Guide as well as project suggestions for Art, History and Geography, Music, Bible and Religion, and Science, Health and Nature. My Junior is an artist so naturally the Art Projects are her favorite. And because I have such fond memories of the passages I memorized from Shakespeare in high school, I like that specific Memorization Passages are presented for each book. That definitely brings back good memories and I appreciate the importance of having my children commit them to memory.
Shakespeare: Comedies and Sonnets is a high school level class, but I find it is never too early for my children to practice memorization skills. I am having my 6th and 8th graders memorize passages along with my Junior. It has added a bit of fun for us all in our abbreviated school schedule this summer.
Lightning Literature & Composition offers two different curriculum packs based on the works of William Shakespeare. You can study either Tragedies or Comedies and Sonnets (or both!). The Comedies and Sonnets pack that we have been using can be purchased as a complete set which includes the Teacher's Guide, the Student's Guide and the four books that you will need to read during the course for only $52.12. If you already have the books at home on your bookshelf or downloaded to your Kindle, you can purchase both the Teacher's Guide and the Student's Guide separately. The Teacher's Guide is $2.95 and the Student's Guide is $29.95. I am certain that we will choose to study Shakespeare: Tragedies and Sonnets upon completion of the Comedies. The pricing is very similar for it so that makes Hewitt Homeschooling an affordable option for High School Credits.
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