Archive for the ‘Shakespeare’ Category

November 2018: Blog Roundup

Brave Writer November 2018 Roundup

Welcome to the latest blog roundup! See how other homeschooling families practice the Brave Writer Lifestyle, including Shakespeare which is the theme for November!

Why We’re Going Back to Brave Writer – Erika (Miles of Highway)

“Last year we began the year with a focus on literature, copywork and dictation for the basis of our language arts. [But] at some point in our year I became insecure and wondered if we were truly doing enough. [My son] began to moan about language arts like he never had before when our focus was on literature, copywork, and dictation. […] Here are my top reasons for going back to Brave Writer this year with full confidence that this is what is right for us…” Read more

Five Basic Tools You Need to Start Freewriting And Encourage a Reluctant Writer – Dachelle (Hide the Chocolate)

“I had to come up with something new to get their creative juices flowing and to keep the meltdowns at a minimum. It was about that time that I was introduced to Brave Writer. This relaxed homeschooling lifestyle appealed to the beleaguered homeschool mom in me, and the writing philosophy was so different that I thought that it just might work.” Read more

Shakespeare in Spring: The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Shakespeare in Elementary and Middle School – Dachelle (Hide the Chocolate)

“[A] fabulous resource is Brave Writer’s Shakespeare Family Workshop. Because it’s a family workshop, all of your children (and even mom and dad) can participate in the class. The teacher was very knowledgeable and the class was easy to follow. It is teacher-led with hands-on activities in a five-week workshop (perfect for Shakespeare in Spring!). My kids especially loved building a replica of The Globe theater.” Read more

Reading Shakespeare’s Plays with My Kids – Mary (Not Before 7)

“The words and the language of Shakespeare’s plays can be intimidating for kids, and let’s face it, most adults as well. Do not let that stop you from tackling this subject with your younger students. They can learn to appreciate, enjoy, and perhaps even fall in love with the world of Shakespeare.” Read more

Shakespeare for Kids: Introducing the Bard to My Babies – Mary (Not Before 7)

“To support our efforts and my plan at home, we signed up for a Brave Writer Shakespeare class. This class is offered to the whole family for one price. We all participate in the assignments under one registration. So far the class has been a lot of fun and very informative. The material supports and encourages my efforts at home.” Read more


Brave Writer Lifestyle Monthly Tips and Resources

Receive Brave Writer Lifestyle tips in your inbox for each theme below
PLUS a free hand-lettered PDF download by Julie! 

Shakespeare Resources

Brave Writer Shakespeare Resources

This month our Brave Writer Lifestyle focus is Shakespeare! Check out our website page for ways to include the Bard in your homeschool.

And guess what? Registration for our Shakespeare Family Workshop class opens soon on December 3, so break out your fancy quills and mark your calendars.

The Shakespeare Family Workshop is aimed at a younger audience. This hands-on five-week workshop is great for all kinds of learners.

The class will include:

  • craft projects,
  • group learning/research,
  • online resources, discussion,
  • creative writing
  • video recommendations

The family workshop provides a multi-sensory approach to the study of Shakespeare and his works. A few informal writing assignments will be provided for families to do together or separately.

In this course, we’ll learn about:

  • The Elizabethan Theatre scene
  • Shakespeare’s life and times
  • The Bard’s poems and plays
  • Will’s unique writing style and place in English literature

In addition, we’ll also explore one of Shakespeare’s famed sonnets and a few of Shakespeare’s more well-known soliloquies and scenes from several plays.

While you wait for registration to open, here are some Shakespeare resources you can use with your family right now:

Movie Wednesday post for Romeo and Juliet

This Movie Wednesday selection includes a summary of the 2013 film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, background information on the play and this particular adaptation including alterations made to the text, along with five discussion questions for starting Big Juicy Conversations, as well as additional resources.

Pouch of Boomerangs: Shakespeare’s Scribe

This Boomerang is a part of A Pouch of Boomerangs—a set of ten digital literature guides which are designed for 6th-7th grades. The Pouch is similar to The Boomerang but written for the middle school set. Purchase them individually or bundled together.


Brave Writer Online Classes

Brave Writer Lifestyle: Shakespeare

Brave Writer Lifestyle Shakespeare

This month’s Brave Writer Lifestyle focus is: Shakespeare!

The bard is responsible for more than 2000 words in the English Language—like “eyeball” and “bedazzled” (and you thought that was created for rhinestones and sequins!).

This month, gently introduce your kids to the wonderful world of dear old Will by checking out our tips online!

Monthly Brave Writer Lifestyle Email

Sign up for our monthly email to receive hand-lettered tips
for how to implement the lifestyle.

My hand-lettered tips this month introduce your family to 26 words Shakespeare brought to the English language! You might enjoy a similar copywork practice with additional words you find online.


2018 Themes

When you sign up you’ll receive any back downloads that you missed!

January: Read Aloud
February: TV & Film
March: Big, Juicy Conversations
April: Poetry Teatime
May: Art Appreciation
June: Nature Journaling
July: One on One Time
August: Language Games
September: Copywork
October: Freewriting
November: Shakespeare
December: Celebrate!


Share, share, share!

We’d love it if you shared your Brave Writer Lifestyle adventures on Instagram, the BraveSchoolers Facebook Group, in the Homeschool Alliance, or wherever you hang out online.

#2018BWL

Movie Wednesday: Romeo and Juliet

Movie Wednesday Romeo and Juliet

by Amy Frantz, Brave Writer alum

Long ago in the city of Verona, two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, find it impossible to reconcile their differences causing one too many brawls to break out in the streets. But one night, Romeo Montague and his friends sneak into a masked ball held by the Capulets. There Romeo meets Juliet Capulet and without knowing each other’s true identities the two find themselves pulled to one another, only to learn too late that they are from rival families. The star-crossed lovers resolve to marry in secret, but when Romeo is confronted by Juliet’s cousin in the streets of Verona, blades are drawn and the lovers’ fates are set on a cruel course.


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Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


“Two households, both alike in dignity,” is one of the most famous opening lines of a play. Most likely written sometime in the early 1590s, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet spins a tragic tale of love and hate, and deals with themes still desperately relevant to this day such as the nature of inherited prejudice, absentee parenting, and teen suicide. Perhaps that is why it is one of Shakespeare’s most frequently performed and adapted plays.

Romeo and Juliet is credited with coining the phrase “star-crossed lovers.” The expression has become the name of a recognized trope in storytelling and remains popular. It’s a common misconception that the phrase means “two lovers fated to be together.” The actual meaning of the phrase is a pair of lovers “thwarted by the stars.” In other words, the lovers are destined to meet but fate conspires to keep the lovers from remaining together. This trope often ends tragically, as it does in Romeo and Juliet.

In 2013, Romeo and Juliet was adapted to screen (yet again). Starring Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld as the titular lovers, the film features Renaissance inspired wardrobe, a breathtaking score, and was filmed in Italy (locations included Verona, Mantua, and Rome).

The film has drawn criticism for “altering Shakespeare’s text” to be more accessible to a modern audience. However, this critique may be based in a misunderstanding of the texts of Shakespeare.

The versions of Shakespeare’s plays that are nowadays agreed upon and performed were created by editing together from “source texts” which do not always agree with one another. The various Folios and Quartos used to compile the modern versions of the plays often don’t quite line up with each other; there are noticeable variations within them. The plays we know today were created by editors “averaging out” these differences. What we recognize as “what Shakespeare wrote” is actually the result of editing choices made long after his passing, so altering that text isn’t necessarily “changing the words of Shakespeare” so much as editing his editors.

With that in mind, the 2013 film gives the viewer a unique opportunity to experience Romeo and Juliet through real locations and pseudo-period aesthetics but with text somewhat re-imagined for a modern teen audience. So, get ready to be swept up in this classic tale of love and hate, vengeance and redemption, and maybe grab a box of tissues, too.

A note to parents: Romeo and Juliet (2013) is rated PG-13 for violence and thematic elements. We recommend looking up the film on sites like Common Sense Media before deciding if it is right for your family

Discussion Questions

  • A famous example of the star-crossed lovers trope, which pulls heavily from Romeo and Juliet, is the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala from the Star Wars Saga. Can you think of any other examples in books, film, or television? Which ones and how do you feel about them?
  • In the 2013 version of Romeo and Juliet, a scene between Juliet and her cousin Tybalt was added. This scene does not feature in the original play; Juliet and Tybalt never interact in the play. How do you think adding a scene between them changes things?
  • Juliet’s parents, although they initially seem kind to her, turn viciously against her the moment she asserts her own will causing her to become desperate and ultimately leading to her death. Romeo’s parents are never seen really interacting with him or, indeed, parenting him at all; he is left without mature parental support. How do you think these negative examples of parenting impact each of the title characters and their choices?
  • A crucial plot point in the latter half of the story is a letter to Romeo going astray. How might the story have changed if Juliet and Romeo had had access to better means of communication, such as our modern cell phones?
  • Although Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy and our young lovers take their own lives during its climactic scenes, the two rival families are reconciled by these very events and the feud between them is laid to rest along with their children. The parents, who started all this hatred, live but their children, who are victims of that hatred, die in order to end it. What do you think Shakespeare may have been trying to say with this outcome?

Additional Resources

Star-Crossed Lovers – TV Tropes

William Shakespeare – Encyclopedia Britannica

Shakespeare’s Accent – What Shakespeare’s language originally sounded like

Shakespeare Family Workshop – Brave Writer class

Movie Discussion Club

Shakespeare Family Workshop

Shakespeare Family Workshop

Brave Writer mom Kara (and her girls Neve, 10, and Nora, 8) participated in our Shakespeare Family Workshop online class and this is what she had to say about it:

This has been such a wonderful five weeks! We can’t believe how fast it has gone! We started out with absolutely no clue to what Shakespeare is all about. My one daughter said she thought it was about romance and kissing. The other said she thought it was for grown ups and all sad. I only had seen A Midsummer’s Night Dream at a local college and thought it was hard to understand.

Now it’s hard to tell all the ways we think of Shakespeare now. We know that he wrote three main genre’s of plays. We learned so much from each type and how they brought different emotions to the fore. We also learned how he wrote many sonnets and what a sonnet even is.

We thoroughly enjoyed learning about the time period! We learned so much about the 1600’s and the Elizabethan era. I think that was one of our favorite parts, going back in time. We really started to pick up on and start to understand the meaning of their language. It made us think how much the plays were influenced by who was ruling at the time too. We liked learning about the history of England and all their rulers. I really enjoyed Shakespeare’s histories more than I thought I would have. All of us loved watching the Much Ado About Nothing movie after studying it all week.

The girls favorite side activity was definitely making the homemade berry ink. They still want to make more and write like they used to. It made everything come alive for them.

Berry Ink - Shakespeare Family Workshop
Berry Ink: 1/2 cup berries (push them through a strainer for pulp-free juice).
Add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well.

Nora said she really enjoyed learning how Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter and 14 lines in his sonnets. She also really liked seeing Richard III bones, it was real! Never liked how he used antithesis and now is picking up on that in a lot of other writing. She also liked learning how there were many copies of the plays such as the messy one’s all the way down to the First Folio. I liked seeing how the soliloquies let you see the character’s inner most thoughts. Like I said we could go on all night!

The only challenging part was that it did take a long time to read and really get into each week. I don’t know if I would call it challenging, but it did take time and effort for sure. We put off other history and language arts like you had recommended or I don’t think we would have gotten the full benefit of the class. It was well worth it though!

I asked the girls for any improvements and Nora said she would like the class to go on for another week!! When we went to the library today she got a book on Twelfth Night all on her own! I don’t think she’s ready to let go of Shakespeare anytime soon! I think we may need to go to a live performance soon!

We enjoyed every week of this class! We learned more than we could have imagined! I liked how the class could be adapted to all ages! I loved seeing my girls understand and enjoy Shakespeare!! Thank you so much!!!

Kara, Neve, and Nora

Shakespeare Family Workshop