Sermons in Stones - Resources For As You Like It (And a Warning)

“And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. I would not change it.” 
 -Duke Ferdinand, As You Like It, Act 2.1
first ever successful lupine in the Kelly garden

So here is what I wrote last week.
I am getting ready to leave for the CMI conference at Gardner-Webb University.  I can't wait to see everyone.  I also can't wait to talk about Shakespeare with attendees and Jerram Barrs.  Here is the abstract:

Shakespeare – The How and Why with Nancy Kelly and Jerram Barrs
In this workshop, Nancy Kelly will examine why Charlotte Mason’s PNEU students were immersed in Shakespeare. The results may surprise you!  She will be sharing her 20 years’ experience with teaching children, high schoolers, and adults – often all at the same time. Personal anecdotes, recommended resources, and audience participation will be part of this session.  Jerram Barrs will participate during the discussion time and participants will hear him read some of the Bard’s poetry with his lovely British accent.
I have admired Jerram and his writings for many years now.  I first heard him speak at a L'abri conference long ago.  He  is an expert on Shakespeare, so I was humbled and excited to be able to present with him.

And now I am back from the CMI conference.  My session with Jerram was pretty amazing. At least is was for me!  He is so very gracious, erudite, and kind.  I talked for the first hour about my findings on Mason and my experiences.  We took a short break and then Jerram shared his knowledge of Shakespeare, including stories from his teaching Shakespeare at Covenant.  It was rich and I am looking forward to hearing it again when the audio is made available.

We recently finished As You Like It.  I recommend the BBC production. I love this play, especially the character Rosalind. We watched clips from the 1936 production with Laurence Olivier.  We did character and setting drawing narrations and talked about pastorals. We examined the Seven Stages of Man speech because we liked it so much.  Which is why what happened next was so disappointing.

I've been teaching and enjoying Shakespeare for about 20 years now.  This past February I had my first truly awful experience at a performance of As You Like It at a nearby university.  My advice when attending a performance is to find out ahead of time from someone involved with the play directly (director, actors, et al) if it is appropriate for young students.  This has worked very well for me and we have enjoyed performances at SMSU, the Guthrie, and other venues.  This checking on the performance ahead of time has also helped me decide to NOT attend certain performances. For this particular performance, however, I only spoke to some students at the box office who had no intimate connection with the play.


Yes, I left with my children.  Yes, it was an over-the-top exaggeration of everything that could even remotely be considered sexual innuendo.  I was sick to my stomach, really. The rest of our group was coming the next day, so we avoided another fiasco and everyone was refunded their ticket purchase.
We contacted the head of the theater department, too.  He claims he had no idea (!) but as it turns out, yes, it was a "bawdy version" of the play.  That would have been nice to know.  Sigh. The few experts that I have since talked to have said that no, it's not a legit thing.  Jerram starts off his chapter on Shakespeare in Echoes of Eden with a similar story, but his talk at the conference reminded us why we should continue to read Shakespeare and not to (insert fitting cliche here.)

new book on Shakespeare - looking forward to reading it!
Next week I am off to eastern Tennessee and the AHEC.  I hope to take in some of the beauty of the area before I speak.  And I will be talking about Shakespeare.



  1. I like that quote!!! So sorry about the play...how disappointing!!! I recently purchased Echoes of Eden for my sister's birthday and she is going to pass it on when she is done. ;-)

  2. I thought the session was pretty amazing, too, Nancy, so you are not alone in that. In fact, a local non-CM homeschooling friend dropped in unexpectedly today and I was gushing about that very session to her - and also loaned her Echoes of Eden - with the firm warning that she is to guard it with her life since Jerram Barrs was so gracious to autograph my copy at CMI.

    1. It was so great to meet you, Dawn! Your infectious smile and enthusiasm for life must bless all those around you everyday. I'm pretty pleased about my autographed copy, too.

  3. Looking forward to hearing you next week in Pigeon Forge. I was so very sad that I could not attend CMI this year so attending this so close to home will be a blessing. The Shakespeare talk is on my list of sessions.

    Robin Pack- Children's Legacy Library

    1. You were missed, Robin! I look forward to seeing you in Pigeon Forge.

  4. Did you mean to have the (insert fitting cliche here) in the paragraph above?

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      Yes, I was being intentional. When writing, one should avoid cliches like the plague. That sentence lends itself to a few different cliches, but in my attempt to drive home the point, I was apparently barking up the wrong tree. (Insert winking smiley face here.)

  5. Your session was excellent! Will be praying for safe travels back down here ( well, nearby) and with that are the prayers
    for good health and smoothness with airports and planes and luggage! SO very good to have you here last weekend!!