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Tuesday, June 27

Hewitt : Shakespearean Comedies Review

Hewitt Homeschooling Lightning Literature and Composition Pack
Shakespeare Comedies & Sonnets
Thanks to Lego’s ventures into the world of Brick Shakespeare, the boys have been familiar with Shakespearean works for many years now.  This has served us well as we head into the more advanced schooling years!  

Recently, the oldest had the opportunity to try out HewittHomeschooling’s Shakespeare Comedies curriculum.  It is a semester-long program, though with his grade level falling in early high school (rather than the product-recommended 11th – 12th grades), we are stretching it to a full year.  In the Teacher’s Guide, there are lesson plans given for both the semester-long and year-long options.

Lightning Lit Sr. High : Shakespeare Comedies & Sonnets covers four of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies, including As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  It also covers several of his sonnets, interspersed between the plays.  The program has a weekly schedule, rather than a daily one, allowing for some flexibility in the home school.

The beginning of the Student Guide has sections on ‘How and Why to Read Literature and Poetry’ and ‘Paper Writing 101.’  As the mother of a teen who is always asking ‘why’ (they never outgrow that phase, do they?), I appreciated them taking the time to explain that section.  Also, writing is a continuous struggle, and we can never have too much emphasis on the basics of writing a decent essay.  After working through these sections, we read a bit of background on William Shakespeare and hit the plays!  Though it was out of order, our son was so terribly excited to re-read his favorite work, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, that we jumped right into that section of the curriculum.

So what's with the comic book?  In addition to the regular play, we found a few other versions of the same story so that he could better understand what was going on (in addition to the plot summaries) and so that little brother could also participate in the discussions.


The lessons are broken down so that you read the play alongside the plot summaries.  I like this because sometimes it’s easy to get confused by the Elizabethian language, so he could turn to the applicable plot summary and get an accurate, modernized picture of what the scene was about.  There are also comprehension questions, which we discussed together, followed by some writing exercises.  At the very end of the unit on Midsummer, there were reviews of the movie versions of this play – these helped us to pick out a movie version that was appropriate for the whole family to watch as we wrapped up the unit.
The writing exercises explore different themes and literary elements that are included in each play.  For example, for Midsummer, we explored perspective, imagery, and the symbolism of the moon.  This helped him to do in-depth character studies (themes) and get a deeper look into writing skills (literary elements).  He is not a fan of writing, but I feel that this program will help him grow the writing skills that will be expected at the collegiate level.  One thing to note is that the literary lessons build upon each other, so I had to do a bit of catch-up teaching for him, since we started with story number three.

In addition to the two different learning options for lesson plans (semester and year), the Teacher’s Guide also includes answers to the comprehension questions, teaching aids, a grading rubick for writing assignments, and discussion questions.  There are memorization passages (I’m not a stickler for memorization, so we glossed over these) and project suggestions.  Our son is an artist, so he chose to focus most of his efforts on the suggested art projects.

In addition to the Comedies & Sonnets set, there is a Shakespearean Tragedies Lightning Lit set – so you could feasibly do an entire Language Arts credit on Shakespeare.

For more information, you can check out the Table of Contents or view a sample chapter.  To see what others are saying about Hewitt Homeschooling, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
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