“Dad, I want to read Shakespeare…”

Dad: “What? You don’t shake your beer!”

Son: “No dad, ShakesPEARE. I want to read The Tempest and Hamlet.”

Okay, so that’s not really how the conversation started. It started by my oldest son asking me how much I’d be willing to spend on a book. This might sound like a strange question, but my kids know, no matter how often I say “No” to video games and other things, I am always willing to pay for new books. However, he was expecting me to say no to this one because it was a very nice, rather expensive, leather bound version (The Tempest and Hamlet).

Now, I’m really hoping he decides to binge read some Shakespeare. Not only is it a good idea on its own, I already have the Memoria Press curriculum for “The Canterbury Tales” and “Henry V.” It would be wonderful to not have to force feed him these.

Of course, at this point you are probably expecting me to high five homeschooling for leading into this wonderfully classical moment. Unfortunately, the win goes to Japanese Anime. A show he is watching has mentioned it several times. Not that I find that odd. I trace my own interest in music, particularly classical music directly back to Bugs Bunny and other Saturday morning cartoons. So I get it.

The cost is not actually a deal breaker here I told him. I then showed him my first copy of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. A rather battered set of paperback books. I then showed him the leather bound, slip case versions of the Hobbit and the Trilogy I have, and the 50th Anniversary versions of those, and the soft leather bound version I picked up a couple years ago and the set of soft leather, pocket sized versions in the boxed set. Collectable versions of books we like are also, always acceptable I told him.

So did I buy it? Not yet. I made a deal with him. “I already have Shakespeare in the house. Read from the book I have” I told him. “If you get to the end of those stories and still want the collectible versions, I’ll get them for you.”

So where is the homeschool win? I got to walk over to my bookshelves, pull the book off (all twenty pounds of it) and just hand it to him. I didn’t have to remind him about the book he is reading for English that he hates, his History project or his lab report. Without any caveats what so ever, I simply said here, read, enjoy. THAT’s when education wins in my mind.

Oh, and a shout out to the well provisioned, home library win here. That book is older than he is. In fact, it is older than my marriage. That book has been sitting on my book shelf for thirty years, waiting for just this moment…