The Bard for All Seasons: The Bible and Shakespeare Make a Great Team

Shakespeare can be a controversial topic in academics, even today, especially in the home education arena.  My, my,  how the Bard can drum up emotions in people, good or bad.  Most people have an extreme reaction to the writings of this one man, they love or hate, and not many in between.  Even some of my close friends have confessed to despising the writings of William Shakespeare, or seeing no spiritual value to reading such literature with their children.

Coming from a background in theater arts may have prepared me to see with a different view point in reference to the classical writings of William Shakespeare of Stratford.  The various beneficial aspects that the writings of the Bard of Avon bring to our homeschool,to me, far outweigh the misgivings to a some distasteful comedic moments, violence or disturbing content, which I am perfectly capable of avoiding and/or filtering for my family.  

The plays and writings of William Shakespeare are a "mirror into the hearts and minds of men".  Human nature.  The plays and sonnets that have stood the test of time are a testament to the truth that man is, indeed, sinful, and has a nature that does not change.  Human nature does not alter, even over hundreds of years of time.  What was true in Elizabethan England, is still true today.

In fact, I read Shakespeare and see clearly that his writings point emphatically to the folly of man, therefore; reinforcing our need for God's Word and for Christ as our Savior.  There is far too much to be gained from the study of Shakespeare in the safety of the home, and in my humble opinion, should not be overlooked as a great tool for teaching biblical character to  children.  I submit that Shakespeare is a valuable tool to Christian home educators, especially when partnered with the Bible for teaching.

What the Bard teaches, or reinforces, in our homeschool :

1.  Man is inherently evil at heart.  Man is sinful and in need of a Savior.

"And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." John 12:47 KJV

2.  You can not follow your heart.  You must follow a moral code created not by men.  The writings of Shakespeare clearly communicate our need to follow the Judeao-Christian moral code set forth by God's Word.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9 KJV

3.  Empathy with the mental, physical and emotional plight of others who are still "in the world", as we once were.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23 KJV

4.  Although Shakespeare himself does not guide us directly to scripture or spell out the moral code, his writings clearly speak to the clear and unchangeable consequences of the actions of men.  People who make poor decisions and evil characters come to ruin and despair.  Hamlet. Macbeth. Iago. Take your pick of bad dudes in Shakespeare, and you will more than likely see that ended even badly for them all.
Hamlet examines deep and darker themes.
This play would be best left untouched until
High School.
5.  Shakespeare brings themes and deep moral issues that we can discuss with our children and help them to rightly relate the real world and its morals, or lack-thereof, to God's Word.  It's called Apologetics.  Use Shakespeare as a springboard for faith-building object lessons.

"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;" 2 Peter 1:5 KJV

6.  Let's not forget the literary benefit to our homeschool.  Shakespeare was the definitive writer of the English language.  He coined phrases, added words to our dictionary (and a few hilarious insults).  The study of Shakespeare helps students to broaden their vocabulary, understand plots, genres and story lines, and think deeper about meanings in literature.

Is Shakespeare for you and your family?  That is every family's decision.  Careful consideration should be placed on the age of child you are instructing (we started at age 8 in our home), play selections, versions to be read and what you would avoid.  Once you have a base-line for study and are ready to start Shakespeare in your homeschool here are some great resources to pursue:
I will be sharing more about how we study Shakespeare in our home soon and have an exciting announcement in that general direction coming soon!

The show must go on . . . 

The Joyful Socks Mom 

Where we are at? 

Here are some more homeschool resources we recommend: 
Statement of Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The blog owner receives a smallportion of sales generated from these links, which helps to support this blog. The blog writer does not receive compensation for thoughts or opinions expressed on this blog. Thank you for your kind consideration.  


  1. Shakespeare is just something we have come to appreciate as we have worked our way through his plays...mostly in high school. I agree that many of his works are best left to mature readers when they can read the original works and get a feel for how bad the bad guys are and how they always get it in the end.

    We only have one play on our plan for the year, Richard III. I haven't read it before so Mr. B and I are going to tackle it together. We are going to read context material before we start so we can get the most out of it.

    Well done post! Enjoyed stopping by and reading it. :)

    1. Excellent thoughts and points. We have selected 3 plays to work on this year. I think once my kids are older and we are reading from the original plays then covering 1 play would be the best, like you suggest. Thanks for stopping in and adding your thoughts. Blessings!

  2. Love Shakespeare :) I didn't get it in school, but when I grew up and watched the plays I had a much greater appreciation of Shakespeare. I heard someone say once that Shakespeare was meant to be watched, not read. I have to agree. It is something I waited until the teenage years to really introduce to my girls though.


Thank you for blessing our blog with your joyful comments.