history this week: Marco Polo with a Side of Hamlet - SLO Classical Academy
Inquire Visit Donate
San Luis Obispo Classical Academy San Luis Obispo Classical Academy

Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

Semper discentes—always learning together.
Subscribe to Down Home:

blog sponsors

history this week: Marco Polo with a Side of Hamlet

For today’s History This Week series, you will find a few fun and exciting resources related to SLOCA’s current history and literature studies. These are intended to be an EASY way to help supplement all the learning you are already doing at school and at home! Perhaps you could throw on one of these short videos at the end of a history reading, let your child explore these as a reward for completing school work, or watch one of the longer movies together on family movie night. Nothing says feel-good movie night quite like “Hamlet,” right? This week we’re covering Marco Polo, Galileo, and Hamlet (you can also consider this a head start on next year’s Renaissance studies by exploring more Shakespeare)!

Before we dive in, here is some current news from the birthplace of Marco Polo in Venice, Italy. For a city that typically deals with flooding, there is currently a drought in Venice. Instead of gondolas floating elegantly down the canals, many are stuck in the mud!

Tourists mill about Venice canals with more mud than water. Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2023/02/22/dry-venice-canals-italian-drought/11321656002/

Parents, please preview these resources for your students first.

Travels of Marco Polo at the Library of Congress | View photos of an original manuscript

Marco Polo Quizlet | Test your Marco Polo knowledge! 

10 Facts About Beijing

Marco Polo’s “Weird History” | (13 min) informative and hilarious.

In the Footsteps of Marco Polo | (90 min) a PBS special chronicling the journey of two men who set out to follow Marco Polo’s historic route. Some scary moments (not recommended for young kids), but gives you a good feeling for the terrain and the difficulties faced. 

Marco Polo | (7 min) quick and fun cartoon rendition of his life.

The Forbidden City in Beijing (4 min)

Mr. Betts Class – Galileo | (5 min) Set to the tune of “More Than Words,” get a rundown of the trial of Galileo. If you haven’t already entered into the world of Mr. Bett’s Class, you should check out this history teacher’s many songs and memery presenting varied historical people and events. I know we’re all anxiously awaiting a competing series from Dr. Rocha.

Sesame Street and Shakespeare | Patrick Stewart’s Soliloquy

Opportunities to see Shakespeare performed live: 

Central Coast Shakespeare Festival (this summer’s production is Love’s Labor’s Lost)

Jalapeno Hamlet | a video of interest from the CCSF with a familiar SLOCA face

Shakespeare in the Park, San Francisco (this year’s production is Cymbaline)

Shakespeare by the Sea, Los Angeles area (this year’s productions include HAMLET and Twelfth Knight)

Can’t make it to a live Shakespeare performance? There are several movie versions of Hamlet to enjoy:

Hamlet (1948) NR – Available to rent on Amazon. This is the classic Laurence Olivier film that won four Academy Awards.

Hamlet (1990) PG – Available to rent through Netflix, or purchase on Amazon. This is the Mel Gibson version.

Hamlet (1996) PG-13 – Available to rent through Netflix or Amazon. Veteran Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh writes, directs and stars in this four-time Oscar nominated classic Shakespeare saga. Some scenes may not be appropriate for younger children (note the rating), but this is an excellent version for older students to watch.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *