and some things are Shakespeare
Over the past few months he's become passionate about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and since steamrolling through all the seasons, he's now moved on to the spinoff, Angel. My son loves tv, movies, drama, characters, movie stars, filmmaking and all the wonderful ins and out of the business of movie entertainment. He's taken a local filmmaking class with other self-directed learners. And what he's gotten from that has only deepened his love and desire to learn more.
Since he was little he's watched Jeopardy with his dad and myself. Recently, the final Jeopardy answer was up and thinking my husband could get out of driving downtown to buy a pizza for our son, his dad bet him the final question.
The category was Shakespearean Literature...can you guess?
My son nailed it! I almost fell off the couch with both pride and laughter because my son SO busted his father! We all laughed and enjoyed pizza about 25 minutes later.
Later, when I asked my son how on earth he knew the answer he smiled and began taking me through the connections he'd made by watching another show...I am still impressed...and his dad has since learned to order the pizza, regardless!
kim...mom to wesleigh
(who recently disclosed "I really, really like everything about myself, mom!")
Somebody once seemed concerned that my young kids loved to watch Much Ado About Nothing, over and over. They thought the subject matter was highly inappropriate for kids.
I asked Rosie, who was about 8 at the time, what the whole thing was about. She said, "Claudio thinks Hero kissed another guy."
Animaniacs, on Hamlet Very nice line-by-line translation of the Yorick's skull part. Luckily, a regular character was perfect for one of the parts!!
Someone asked on the UnschoolingDiscussion list whether unschoolers use books. Kelli answered:
An example of how we were using a book yesterday. Which I would never have guessed we would be doing. :) We ended up reading Macbeth! My nine year old daughter and I! At her request. How does that happen?
Sweekriti Singh wrote (in January 2015):
What a lovely post sharing a treasure trove of movie references! Thank you!
Friday, March 18, 2005 blogpost by Pam Laricchia:
Shakespeare is Fun!
We were laughing so hard and often yesterday afternoon that my throat was raw! Alyssa (10), Michael (7), and I watched The Reduced Shakespeare Company, billed as "All 37 plays in 97 minutes!" It was hilarious! We watched the first sketch on Romeo and Juliet twice before moving on, and parts of the Hamlet sketch at the end more times than I could keep track.
And it gets me thinking about learning ... again. I can't even recall which Shakespeare plays I read - and soliloquies I memorized - in high school (because surely nobody can understand, let alone enjoy, Shakespeare before the age of 14). But truly, Shakespeare's plays are meant to be watched, not read. They are plays, not novels! And by the way, if you don't enjoy his plays, don't watch them. Your life will NOT be meaningless!
Real learning is about connections made and remembered - not facts and soliloquies memorized (and soon forgotten). Here are some Shakespeare connections Alyssa's made - without ever being told to read Shakespeare.
I remember last year when the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie trailer came out and we heard the accompanying song, how she and I looked up some of the witches' scenes in Macbeth. "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble." and "Something wicked this way comes." were directly quoted in the lyrics! And we found the reference to them as "The Weird Sisters", which immediately sparked in Alyssa's memory the name of the band playing at the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (book 4). We quickly looked it up to confirm. Very cool connections that were made excitedly and likely won't be forgotten!
We watched The Reduced Shakespeare Company with anticipation for the Macbeth sketch. And sure enough, there was a reference to the witches! Along with a reference at the beginning of the sketch to the alleged curse of saying Macbeth out loud ... which sparked more connections to a Simpsons episode set in England with Ian McKellan guest starring and performing in Macbeth. The Simpsons keep saying Macbeth and he was thoroughly cursed!
And Alyssa briefly mentioned she was waiting for the Hamlet, Price of Denmark sketch, to see how it compared to The Simpsons telling of the story - the "play within a play". And she was not disappointed. The Hamlet sketch is priceless! She was waiting to see if they all really did die at the end ... and they did.
Harry Potter ... The Simpsons ... Shakespeare. And these are just some of the more obvious connections she made; I'm sure she also learned some new things that she'll make connections to in the future. And Michael enjoyed a wonderful, hilarious introduction into the world of Shakespeare. We also told Joseph (who heard us roaring with laughter and dropped by but was busy with other stuff) that the sense of humour is right up his alley and that we think he'll really enjoy it. I would venture a guess that he will watch it soon as well.
So much fun, so many learning connections as a joyful byproduct, and no mention of Shakespeare being boring or impossible to understand. A great afternoon in my book!
Update: Sure enough, the next night we sat and watched it with Rocco and Joseph - and they both thought it was great as well!
The Reduced Shakespeare Company's show is all on YouTube now, in several parts. Here's the first one (and you can click through to YouTube to get to subsequent sections):
Sarah Clark, September 2015
In other news, she has seen six Shakespeare plays this year (it was her stated year’s goal, unprompted, to see as much Shakespeare as possible this year), raves randomly about Chaucer, and emails me poems. This kid didn’t read until she was almost nine, and has spent most of the last three months watching YouTube on her phone almost non-stop.
I have had periods of thinking that Jenna would be highly unlikely to choose to do anything in the next few years that outsiders would perceive as having educational value. She has always been interested in history, but otherwise I have spent a fair bit of time “translating” into educationalese for grandparents etc. Who could have predicted that all of that intensive YouTube and Netflix would turn out to have taken a little detour into reading and discussing A Level grade English Literature materials, via Minecraft role play fan groups and Buffy references?! (For the record, I’m genuinely as delighted in her love of Kawaiichan and quoting Giles [from Buffy] and photo manipulation as I am of the Chaucer and Shakespeare – but it’s certainly easier to point out the latter as evidence that Something Is Happening.)
Another additional comment: Yesterday, I mentioned that I have a huge hardback Complete Works of Shakespeare. She said, “Oh I know! I found it months ago! I have read most of it, well all of the sonnets and lots of the plays – but I sort of skim-read the histories… I’m not SO keen on those.”
– Sarah Clark
Plus the bonus writing, "Stopping Shakespeare Before he Starts"