Friday Five: Shakespeare, Evernote, Reading Habits, and more

posted in: journal 6

Featuring favorite finds

1) follow-through 2) ‘fore & aft 3) freebie 4) FAQ & 5) favorite fiction

~ follow-through ~
It’s been a very solid week of school. Keeping the work of 4 students (well, 3 1/2 students, really) plus 1 toddler – maybe she’s a preschooler now? – is definitely something that can cause me to feel a bit out of breath by lunch time. But the more we stick with it, the easier it becomes – just like running (I hear).

I’m also determined to finally lose to last of the weight I’m blaming on babies (yes, my youngest is 3 1/2) – and it’s definitely an extra hurdle to jump in the midst of school days to do so while running slightly underfed. That is, without (very much) cream in my coffee or any chocolate – certainly underfed. It’s working. I’ve been losing 1 1/2 pounds for the last 4 weeks, but the energy that it takes to stay the course and the (sugar) energy that it removes from the equation makes it definitely count as a large side project.

Favorite Instagram of the week:

homeschool snapshot

Follow me on Instagram

~ ‘fore & aft ~

round button chicken

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

I decided the coat closet was really where I needed to turn my attention this week. It gets used by everyone and it shows. Entropy hits it almost as badly as it hits the kitchen counter.

##### Before
##### After
Uh, yes. I got as far as taking the before picture. Does that count for anything? Instead of attacking the closet, we went to Costco and I folded the laundry and then we had dinner and that was that. I wasn't dedicated enough to start that project in the evening. Maybe over the weekend...
~ freebie ~
I'm excited! Monday I'm starting a free 6-day Evernote Challenge! I am always getting questions about Evernote, and I know it can be an intimidating program to use, so I thought I'd run a 6-day challenge over email, like the Simplified Email intensive we did in December.
Register now for a free 6-day Evernote Challenge and learn how to effectively and efficiently use Evernote to manage your home and homeschool. This challenge is currently unavailable.
We'll have screencast videos, clear bullet-point action steps, and step-by-step direction in how to get up and running, how to get your information in, and how to use it well. It'll be free to join until April 20, then it'll go down. After it's over I'll rework it and it will be available for purchase like Simplified Email. So join while it's free! And share it with your friends!
~ FAQ ~
Today's question is about Shakespeare, because I was on Pam's Your Morning Basket podcast this week and we were talking all about introducing your kids to Shakespeare.
This was one question I received right away, and I knew it was one that would probably crop up again.
I just listened to Pam's YMB and had a question about Shakespeare. I have a 7 y/o and 5 y/o, both girls. I am following Simply Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online and would like to introduce my girls to Shakespeare (I wasn't until high school and wish I had been earlier), but in a very light way, in our morning time. What play would you recommend starting with? You had mentioned Midsummer's Nights Dream for girls, but would that be okay for their age as well? I noticed your recommendation for Tina Packer's book, and think I will go with that, as I too, am not fond of the Victorian language. Do you recommend this to replace them (Nesbit and/or Lamb) in their entirety?
I think either Midsummer Night's Dream or Taming of the Shrew for any age, but with two girls that age I would lean toward Midsummer Night's Dream. The only tricky thing with that one is that there is not any appropriate-for-children movie version that I am aware of. However, it is one of the most-chosen plays for local production, so watch your local options (high schools, theatre companies, etc.) and jump on a chance to see it actually produced.
I do recommend Tina Packer's retellings as a replacement for Nesbit and Lamb. Just because they are old and public domain doesn't make them the best option - or even a necessary option. You aren't missing any Shakespeare experience by using a different retelling. I love Tina Packer's, Leon Garfield's, and also the picture books of Bruce Coville and Marianna Mayer. In my opinion, they are better literarily and also more accurately capture Shakespeare's spirit, whereas I feel like the Victorian retellings put a Victorian spin and feel on Shakespeare, who was the epitome of the Elizabethan age (which age I prefer over the Victorian, personally). Here's my Shakespeare for Kids strategy. And here's my post specifically on Midsummer Night's Dream.
~ favorite fiction ~
kids reading or bookshelf We had a Hank the Cowdog haul from the library. It's fun to have a stack of books that everyone enjoys picking up and giggling about on the couch. My 6-year-old can read quite well - he was a natural, I take no credit - but it wasn't until we banned midweek computer games for him that he started picking up books voluntarily. The Hank haul was part of the scheme - a huge stack of books he can read and will think are funny. Habit is built by logging hours - sometimes we have to get crafty to help even those who don't struggle to read actually build the habit.

6 Responses

  1. Nesbit might be Victorian but Lamb is decidedly Georgian. Which I point out only to say that every age puts their own spin on Shakespeare. I love Olivier’s Henry V but there is no denying it is a WWII movie. I’m not disagreeing about Garfield and Coville (we love them too), but there is great value in reading the earlier versions as well, if only to help our children compare the difference in what each age highlights or hides.

    Shakespeare in the Park is absolutely our favorite exposure to the plays, with amateur (school or community) productions running a close second. Films follow that (and I’m an Olivier loyalist primarily – no surprise there!).

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      Thank you for the clarification, Karen! It’s true – each age puts its own spin on the stories, and the fact that the stories can handle it shows how timeless they are. I like movies that play with the setting – again, showing the themes are timeless – but I do prefer classic interpretations for introducing them to the kids. I’m not a big Olivier fan, but I do like recorded stage productions.

      I think the trouble comes when we take something like Lamb, struggle with Lamb’s language, struggle with getting our kids to connect to Shakespeare through Lamb, and so give up on Shakespeare because we didn’t understand or like Lamb. I personally don’t think those retellings actually make the stories much more understandable (my kids could never narrate from them – maybe I was a bad reader-alouder, though), which is supposed to be the point of starting with a children’s version. :)

  2. Elizabeth Clare
    | Reply

    I love your updates Mystie! I’ve been ruminating on introducing Shakespeare, probably over the summer sometime. I was interested in getting How to Teach Shakespeare to Your Children (I think that’s what it’s called). I’ve been working on my baby weight seriously too. It really does take a lot of energy to homeschool and I miss falling back on my food as a way to relax. BUT I know I’ve got to do it and I’ve set the course. I am slowly working my way through Candace Cameron’s Reshaping it All and it has been a great motivation for me to work on those nasty eating habits of mine! Cheers!

  3. Mother of 3
    | Reply

    Your before and after picture made me laugh out loud! I am so glad I’m not the only one who decides to tackle a project and not do anything about it at all.

  4. Katie R
    | Reply

    Mystie, are there any of these Shakespeare editions (particularly Tina Packer’s or Garfield’s) that you would not just hand over to an almost-10 or a 6-year old? (Said 6-year old is an advanced reader for her age.) My almost-10-year-old has enjoyed reading & re-reading Usborne’s Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare already.

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      Not only would I, I have allowed free access to Tina Packer’s, Garfield’s, and the Bruce Coville books to all ages. :)

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