Shakespeare has never been fleshed out in our educational model the way Ambleside is designed. They schedule Shakespeare in a synopsis format in the early years and then in Year 4 it is to be studied in the original. For us, it seemed like unless we were actually watching a production of Shakespeare’s Thomas just wasn’t interested enough to try to remember the characters and plot shifts. But yesterday the lightbulb went on for him. I came across my copy of Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb and I had a few minutes to spare so I plopped down on the couch and told Thomas I wanted to read him a story. I mentioned that this was a sort of narration of the play Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare.
(Narration is the primary way AO kids sink what they have read or studied deep into their brains and, often, hearts.)
And I read it from start to finish. And his eyes were big with interest. And now he is really excited to be able to read and act out the original. Yes!
Earlier in the week as I pulled books from boxes, my finger fell on Charlotte’s Web. I got a tear in my eye as I told Travis that this is the year I get to read Charlotte’s Web to Sadie. Oh, how fondly I remember the hours of reading that beautiful piece of literature with Thomas. As in all things AO, we read it slowly, usually only one chapter per week. He would beg me to read more. I would long to postpone our other endeavors to sit and read more. But instead, we would put it lovingly back on the shelf and discuss and ponder the characters and their plights and our eyes sparkled with the joy that only a great book brings to hearts young and old.
Sadie saw the well-read copy of Charlotte’s Web on her shelf of school books and said, “Mama, I saw Charlotte’s Web.”
“And it was on my school shelf.”
“Does that mean I get to read it now?”
She hurriedly ran to get the book and asked if we could read it right now.
I put down what I was doing and read her the first chapter, in which Fern rescues Wilbur from the fate of a pig born too small. Before I started, I told her we would be reading only one chapter a week, but that she could narrate it to me after we finished. She proclaimed she would narrate it to me, and to Papa!
And she did. And it was a beautiful, complete narration, in which I only helped her remember Avery’s name.
I love educating my children. It allows for the sprinkling of sparkly gems into everyday life.