Sharing a Few Ideas with My Unschooling High Schooler

including lots of free Shakespeare and other resources.

“How about we have a chat after lunch?” I ask 16 year old Charlotte. “You can tell me what you’ve been doing recently. Maybe I can help with some new resources.” 
So after the lunch dishes have been cleared away, we meet in the family room. I have my computer on my lap. Charlotte has her notebook.
“How’s maths going?” I begin.
Charlotte screws up her nose and sighs. “You should see the amount of work in the algebra section.”
Charlotte has chosen to do an online maths course. She definitely wants to learn maths. She wants to teach herself rather than have me teach her. But she’s drowning in example after example.
“Let me think about it,” I say. “There must be a better way.” I make a mental note: Find more interesting maths resources for Charlotte.
“Have you been enjoying your drawing?” Charlotte smiles. She’s interested in digital art. Recently she started using a graphics pad. She’s drawing characters for one of Imogen’s novels. I remind her about all the digital art tutorial videos on Youtube. We talk about a software program I found for digital artists. Could that be an appropriate Christmas present?
“What else have you been doing recently?”
Charlotte tells me about some of the books she’s reading and podcasts she’s listening to… history, literature. Science is all sorted out. She smiles. Is there a more enjoyable way to learn about physics than watching Mythbusters?
We talk about writing. Charlotte is going to write a novel for NaNoWriMo during November. I ask her if she’s going to write some blog posts but she tells me she doesn’t have any ideas. I suggest she share her artwork and write about the characters they represent. She likes this idea.

“If you have a look at the writing books on Amazon, we could buy a new one,” I suggest.

“I’d like to do some more Shakespeare,” Charlotte tells me.
I remember a BBC TV series Terri told me about on my Facebook page when we were all chatting about movies and mini-series: The Hollow Crown. After a little searching I discover the series can be watched online. I won’t include a link because last time I did that I inadvertently directed someone to a page full of inappropriate ads. They didn’t show up on my computer because my son Callum has installed some kind of ad blocker for me. However the links are easy to find. There’s also a Hollow Crown DVD for sale. And there’s some info about the series on a BBC webpage.
I also remember a Shakespeare series called Acting Shakespeare: “Ian McKellen, alone on stage, with no props or scenery, performs monologues from Shakespeare and discusses some of his plays.” There’s an Acting Shakespeare DVD

I then find a third Shakespeare series: Shakespeare Uncovered. And a BBC webpage about this series. It’s just as well we are all passionate Shakespeare fans.

We’ve already watched Playing Shakespeare. If you’d like to see it too, episodes are available on Youtube. Isn’t Youtube wonderful?

“Could we watch another period drama?”
A few clicks of my mouse and I’ve arrived at the Classical Film Library on Youtube. “Great Expectations, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, The Moonstone…”
“The Moonstone? I wonder how they filmed that.” I think Charlotte will be watching that Wilkie Collins’ adaptation very soon.
While we’re on Youtube we look for some videos about the kings and queens of England. If Charlotte is going to watch The Hollow Crown then some background information about British monarchs might come in handy. We remember a David Starkey DVD we have on our shelf called Monarchy. Episodes are also available on Youtube. There’s also a book and a webpage.
I have a few more suggestions for Charlotte: “How about you research some new recipes? I know you like cooking. You could start making a few Christmas presents. I bet you could draw a wonderful picture to use as a Christmas card. Or you could make a slideshow of photos.
“You could try something new like coding. The other girls and I have been enjoying the lessons on Codecademy…”
Charlotte finishes jotting down a few notes. I have an email message open. I pop all the resource links into the email. I‘m going to send them to Charlotte once we finish talking: electronic strewing. “When you get back to your bedroom, your links will be waiting for you!”
The world is an interesting place. Charlotte has lots of ideas about what she wants to do. But it doesn’t hurt for her to stop every now and then and brainstorm a few new resources with me.

I’ve saved all Charlotte’s links on my computer…. for myself. I think I’ll watch The Hollow Crown too and The Moonstone and Acting Shakespeare… I’m going to be very busy.
I am about to shout, “Anyone want to watch The Moonstone?” but then Imogen says, “Did you hear some old episodes of Dr Who have been discovered?” Charlotte’s eyes light up.
“Anyone want to watch Dr Who?” I ask. Dr Who? Well, that’s educational too, isn’t it?

Disclaimer: I haven’t watched all the DVDs mentioned in this post. I hope they are appropriate but you might want to check them out for yourselves.

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    • Hwee
    • October 29, 2013

    Thank you for all the Shakespeare links! They are fab! Thank you also for sharing your interaction with your high schooler. I'm learning a lot here in terms of letting children lead the way to their own education, which I hope will eventually happen in my household in a few years' time. 🙂

    1. Reply


      I haven't watched the Shakespeare programs (except for Playing Shakespeare) so I hope they're okay. I guess they're at least worth a look. They do sound interesting!

      I have to thank you for the idea of looking for history videos on Youtube. There are loads! It looks like we'll be learning about the kings and queens of England too. We've watched a few of the Shakespeare history plays already… Henry V, Henry VI Part 1, 2 and 3, and Henry VIII. But we haven't seen the plays featured in the Hollow Crown. Some earlier kings, I think but I'd have to check that!

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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