During the 2008-2009 school year, the boys and I participated in what was our best homeschool co-op ever. They studied the Middle Ages for history with kids around their own grade level (elementary versus middle/high school.) The older group learned a bit about Shakespeare when reading Julius Ceasar early that fall.
That group loved the experience so much, that they opted to put on a production of Hamlet in the spring on top of the other co-op studies. My boys were not the most enthusiastic participants at first, but by the time the play was performed they really loved it. Even D was quoting from the play, having soaked up so much just watching the older kids practice and perform.
Knowing that they had a good experience with Shakespeare in the past, I was excited to have the opportunity to review The Sixty-Minute Shakespeare by Cat Foster. After discussing the options with the older boys, we selected Macbeth to review.
The book is thin (which I expected), but wonderfully compiled. The story is abridged from the original, but does not lose the flavor at all. Having seen some bad editing in the past, that is a feat not always easy to do. I know that the mom coordinating that production of Hamlet in Maryland might have appreciated this resource as she spent a long time trimming to make it all work without losing anything essential in the process.
I also found the short section prior to the actual play discussing how to stage it very helpful. Another nice feature is the footnotes throughout the text to give meaning to terms that might seem rather strange or foreign. if you explore around the website for Sixty-Minute Shakespeare, you’ll also find great resources to help you flesh our your studies with these titles.
The boys are not clambering to stage a production right now. But, I am definitely keeping this in mind for a future co-op possibility. Shakespeare is definitely something best studied with peers if you want the story to come alive through a reading or staging. With a homeschool retreat next week featuring an enthusiastic homeschooled teen leading a few sessions on Shakespeare (including stage fighting), they just might have their appetite wet again.
Sixty-Minute Shakespeare retails for $ 8.99 per title or $45.89 for the series of six titles (a 15% savings) and is published by Five Star Publications, Inc. The other titles available are Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and Much Ado About Nothing. You can find Five Star Publications on both Facebook and Twitter, too.
Guess what? One of my readers can win a copy of Macbeth by Sixty-Minute Shakespeare. Just click the link to visit the entry page. (ends on 9/20/11)
Disclaimer ~ This is a MamaBuzz Media review. The product was provided by Five Star Publications for this review. No other compensation was provided and opinions are our own.