Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

Hamlet: Goofy Skits for Your Merriment

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Hamlet-goofy-skits

My kids performed some goofy skits to summarize Shakespeare’s Hamlet. My daughter played the parts of both Queen Gertrude and Ophelia. My oldest son was the wicked uncle, Claudius. My youngest son was Hamlet, and my second son was all the other male parts. We produced the following video and summary for your merriment:

Hamlet: The Dramatized Summary

Once upon a time in Denmark, a king named Hamlet died mysteriously. His wife Gertrude married his brother Claudius less than two months later. Claudius’ reputation was so bad and his face so ugly, there was widespread suspicion that he murdered the late king for his throne! The prince, also named Hamlet, was shaken by his father’s death and shocked his mother would so quickly re-marry. He was ashamed of the wedding and showed up in all black.

But later the night watchmen told him about a ghost they had seen that looked like the dead king. Intrigued, Hamlet stayed up with them. Sure enough, there was the ghost of his father! In spite of the soldiers’ best efforts to dissuade Hamlet, he went out to speak with the spectre. What would he find out but that the king really had been murdered by Claudius! The ghost begged Hamlet to avenge him, then disappeared into the night.

Over the next few days, Hamlet was so bewildered by what he had seen, everyone thought he had lost his mind. Could love for Ophelia be driving him mad? He thought it was the perfect cover-up for plotting to avenge his father, so he feigned insanity.

One day, some actors were performing a play and worked themselves up to really feel the emotions of their characters. Hamlet was impressed and remembered the case of a murderer who was so moved by the play he was watching, he confessed to the crime. Why wouldn’t this work on his uncle, Claudius? Hamlet wasn’t so sure that what the ghost had told him didn’t come from his own imagination, and this felt like the perfect test.

So he had the actors perform a play in front of Claudius that went exactly as the ghost had described the murder. As they got to the part where the killer poured poison into the victim’s ears, the king felt very ill and had to leave. This made Hamlet sure the ghost’s tale was true, and he followed Claudius out of the room. But when he found the king praying, Hamlet didn’t want his uncle’s last act to be so saintly, so he decided to wait for another opportunity.

Hamlet’s mother wanted to talk to him about how he was acting up lately, and the king felt like it would be a good idea to hide behind a drapery in the room to secretly find out what was really up with Hamlet. Ophelia’s father Polonius volunteered to do the king’s spying for him.

When Hamlet was summoned, he confronted his mother about marrying his uncle so soon after his father died. In the heat of the debate, Polonius, who was secretly listening the whole time, thought Hamlet was attacking his mother in his madness and cried out. Hamlet, thinking the man behind the curtain was Claudius, drew his sword and stabbed him. To his horror, he found he had killed Polonius! His mother exclaimed what a crime he had committed, to which Hamlet replied that to kill the king, then marry his brother was much worse. He compared the late king’s handsomeness with the ugliness of the new one. He scolded his mother for marrying the one most suspected to have killed her husband.

When Claudius found out about Polonius’ death, he thought Hamlet was too dangerous to leave alive. Rather than risk the publicity of sentencing Hamlet to death, he banished Hamlet to England but secretly sent a letter to the courtiers to assassinate him as soon as the ship landed. But Hamlet suspected something like this and crept in at night, found the letter, erased his name, and put in the names of the courtiers.

On the way to England, pirates attacked the ship and Hamlet single-handedly boarded the pirate ship. The ship he came on sailed away, and he was left with the pirates. But they turned out to be well- mannered gentlemanly pirates, so they took him back to Denmark.

But when he got back, he found out the death of Ophelia’s father by his hand drove her to such madness and grief that she had committed suicide. Her brother, Laertes had not heard that Polonius’ death was an accident, so he wanted to kill Hamlet. The king thought this would be perfect, so he arranged for a duel between them with dulled sabers. But he secretly sharpened and poisoned Laertes’ blade.

On the morning of the duel, people placed their bets as to who would win, and the duel began. They fenced skillfully, Hamlet was stabbed with the poisoned blade, and he stabbed Laertes with his own sword, dooming both of them. Meanwhile, the queen accidentally drank from the cup the king had used to poison the blade, and she died. Laertes told Hamlet about the poison, and that he didn’t have long to live. So he stabbed and killed Claudius, and then he died. The end.

Chinese Lantern Festival

Monday, January 15th, 2018

chinese-lantern-festival

My family attended a super cool Chinese lantern festival here in Spokane, Washington. Since the people that put on these shows travel from city to city, you could easily find a Chinese lantern festival in a city near you to attend this year, if you wanted this cultural experience.

colorful-lanterns

Since I’m a multicultural person myself, I enjoyed taking my children to see the artistic designs of paper and cloth lanterns of various vibrant colors, lighting up the night.

peacock-lantern

The two peacocks were probably the most detailed of all the lanterns. They were standing in the midst of red roses.

panda-lanterns

The panda bear display was also spectacular. The bears were hanging in a bamboo forest, which was like a backdrop for the scene.

flower-lanterns

Beautiful orange flowers glowed against the dark night sky. They were enormous!

chinese-boy-lantern

Several Chinese warriors lined one side of the path. Their faces, headdresses, and clothing shone in bright colors. My family walked along a dirt path as we saw this whole Chinese lantern display, which was almost like walking through a city. It also reminded me of driving to see Christmas lights, but way more magnificent.

flower-lantern-canopy

Several arched walkways were lit up thematically. This blue one had flowers and swirls. We felt like we were walking down a tunnel.

lantern-tunnel

This was my favorite display–a lot of beautiful paper Chinese globe lanterns. Looking up, you get lost in the beauty of the paper umbrellas and lanterns. My entire family loved this cultural experience!

High School Government Series

Monday, December 4th, 2017

high-school-government

If you are a parent of a student in high school, at some point your student has to take a class on government. To make the study of high school government more enjoyable, your student will LOVE these goofy videos and hands-on activities!

High School Government Videos:

  1. Types of Government: A fun video re-enacting dictatorship, oligarchy, monarchy, republic, true democracy, and anarchy. Includes my kids dressed up as playing cards.
  2. How a Bill Becomes a Law: My daughter (a bill) is pushed around by her brothers (Congress and the President) through the process of making a bill into a law.
  3. Preamble to the Constitution: A simple reading of the Preamble to the Constitution, with skits of various kinds to humorously bring to life each segment.
  4. Presidential Line of Succession: The President keels over, to be replaced by the Vice-President; who keels over to be replaced by the Speaker of the House; who keels over to be replaced…
  5. What are the Federal Executive Departments? Each of the Federal Executive Departments are dramatized by goofy kids in order to understand each department better.
  6. How the Judicial System Works: A Chicago gangster is counterfeiting money in his basement. Two federal agents break into his house and tell him he in under arrest. The remainder of the short video depicts how the judicial system works.
  7. The Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution are dramatized in this fun video.
  8. Make Your Own State Tourism Brochures: We take a break from all of our skits to show how to make a tourist pamphlet for your state. A couple of my kids have humorous pamphlets.
  9. Typical Campaign Promises: A silly skit by a candidate running for President, promising outlandish things that can never be fulfilled.
  10. How Government Gets Its Money: No matter what you do with your money, the government will want a piece of the action. Watch each scene from federal, state, and local taxes to see how the government holds out his hand for money to be forked over.

A couple of other hands-on activities go well with the study of high school government:

  1. Civitas Government Game: My kids loved this game, re-enacted it, and filmed it from the roof of my house. Make their risk worth it by watching their video, which was created, filmed, and edited entirely by my teen sons.
  2. Government Activity Books for High School: These Dover Publications books include pop-up Presidents, a 3-D White House model, and activity books that include other hands-on craft ideas. There are detailed coloring pages that can be used for notebooking, along with word searches, crossword puzzles, and code breakers.

Hopefully these skits and hands-on activities will make your students enjoy their study of high school government!

Ocean Shadow Box

Monday, September 18th, 2017

ocean-shadow-box

If your kids are learning about underwater sea creatures, why not make an ocean shadow box? It is super easy and will re-enforce the children’s learning about ocean creatures.

The first thing you will want to do is paint the box blue. It helps if a shoe box is a plain white color on the inside. We taped black construction paper around the outside of the box, but you could paint that black if you want.

In other shadow boxes we’ve made, we have spray painted the entire shoe box black, both inside and out. This is a great backdrop for any scene. If you are creating sea creatures from the deep, it is appropriate for your water to be black, especially if you make a flashlight fish out of clay, and place an LED light inside!

painting-shadow-box

Let the paint dry overnight, and then you will want to attach a plastic aquarium plant to the bottom of the box. Use clay to attach the plant to the box. (Make sure your shoe box is on its side when you decide where the ocean floor will be!)

Pour white school glue on the bottom of the scene, gluing around the plastic plant as well as the rest of the ocean floor. Pour sand on top of the glue and shake it off.

play-doh-manta-ray

If you have some small plastic ocean creatures, you can hang them with white thread to the top of the box. I used strong packing tape, but you could also use duct tape.

We added a rock and some walruses to the top of the box, along with some dolphins splashing out of the water. (See the picture at the top of this post.)

play-doh-hammerhead-shark

You can also create ocean creatures out of clay. We make a manta ray, a hammerhead shark, a starfish, a whale, and an anemone. If you study and shape one sea creature per day, you can add to your collection. You can display your creatures on built-in cardboard shelves that you have painted blue or black to match your shadow box, hot gluing the shelf into place.

simple-ocean-shadow-box

You can also make a simple ocean shadow box by spray painting a box black, adding a goldfish in a small fishbowl, and throwing seashells or any other ocean toys into the display.

Related Posts with Thumbnails