The play's the thing (and the Clan writes our own!)

Only on our stage will you find plays involving pirates dueling princess clowns on the decks of bunk bed pirate ships.
By : 
Lydia Hanson
Too Hick to be Square

Because we home school, there are certain experiences my siblings and I have never had.

Prom, for instance, or senior pranks. But probably much more significant is the fact that the Clan doesn’t include band, choir, or organized sports in our home school curriculum.

Sure, we all sing and play piano, and several of my siblings have learned to play other instruments, such as guitar, violin, mandolin, and banjo. 

But my siblings and I are shockingly ignorant about football (I used to think the Super Bowl was a fancy dinner), and none of us actually know the rules to any team sport except officially played in public schools. I mean, we’re pretty good at Monkey in the Middle, but I don’t think that’s typically considered a competitive sport.

Hopefully, these enormous gaps in our education aren’t noticeable to outside observers — we’re good at faking a vague grasp of football and, as always, make up for a lack of technical musical competency with lots of extra volume. But in case you were about to decide home school is for the birds, allow me to point out that we DO have school plays.

Well, sort of.

As part of some of our early writing, grammar, and English language classes, Mom has us write and perform a short skit for the family. To give you an idea of the caliber of these plays, I should point out that the average age of our playwrights is 9 or 10.

I should probably also mention that these 9-year-olds also direct and act in their own plays, usually with the assistance of several younger siblings who were press-ganged into participating.

Our theater program is extremely hands on!

Although you won’t see much Shakespeare or Andrew Lloyd Weber on our stage (actually, you won’t see any), the variety of plays is pretty incredible. We’ve had plays about astronomers, pirates, magicians, American explorers, road-trippers, more pirates, and so on. 

There are plots and intrigues. There are puns and turns of phrase. There is off-stage narration and elaborate costuming. Sometimes there are all of these things at once. 

But regardless of what is showing on the Clan’s center stage, you can always guarantee it will be well attended (a.k.a. obligatory). 

And although for some of my siblings (including myself), creating these plays was nothing shy of torture, others have really gotten a kick out of them and have created others. It’s hard to know when I could go downstairs and find a handful of kids in bathrobes (an all-purpose costume item that can be used for wizards, kings, and sleeping people) practicing lines.

I’ll be the first to admit that our approach to extracurricular activities is a little on the unconventional side, but you should know by now that unconventional is the Clan’s version of normal. If that means having a complicated fight scene rehearsed in ultra slow motion on the front steps from time to time, then so be it.