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A College-Bound Intensive — Online Classes

Romeo & Juliet

Bringing Shakespeare to life

Romeo & Juliet (1968)A homeschooling mom writes as follows:

You all need to know how good these classes are. My son has taken both the Romeo & Juliet and the Hamlet classes and found them both outstanding. Mr. Speed is an engaging teacher with a talent for conveying his love of the material and inspiring his students to approach studying Shakespeare with a sense of joy rather than dread or trepidation. He not only makes Shakespeare's works sing with life and relevance, but teaches his students skills they will need throughout their learning lives, such as annotating, close reading, and careful examination of context.

— Annette Davis, homeschooling mom

The content of this course is university-level, yet these online sessions are designed to enable even quite young students to "get" Shakespeare. Students are able to read and understand Shakespeare's verse, and equally important, they're able to see what makes him unique among writers: they understand precisely why, more than four hundred years after his death, we're still reading him and studying his works.

These sessions provide an in-depth study of Romeo & Juliet, but they also provide the historical, cultural, and literary background needed to bring the play to life. Students emerge with a clear sense of Shakespeare as a writer — his tastes, his interests, his concerns, and the astonishing abilities that distinguish him from other writers.

In this course, students fall in love with Shakespeare's language, are moved by his poetry, and roar with laughter at his jokes. By the end of the series, they will be able to read Shakespeare's works on their own and understand what they're reading.

When my mom asked me if I wanted to take a Romeo & Juliet class, my first reaction was, "Why on earth would anyone willingly take a Romeo & Juliet class?!" And it was only after watching the 30-minute sample from the class that I grudgingly agreed to take the course.
     Now I'm so so happy I decided to take it. Since the very beginning of the first class, I've absolutely loved it. This class has opened my eyes to the world of Shakespeare... If someone asked me about any sort of literature class, I would recommend this one in a heartbeat. This has been, without a doubt, my favorite class this year, and I can't believe that it's nearing the end. Thanks so much for teaching an amazing class.

— A recent student

My son took Roy Speed's Romeo & Juliet course this past year. I wasn't sure that my student-athlete, STEM-oriented son would survive the class, much less enjoy the course as he did. It was terrific, and I was very pleased by all that was taught and learned. I highly recommend Roy's classes.

— Homeschooling mom

I learned a lot about how to properly analyze a play and make proper annotations. I was taught how to look through the different layers of the characters and the writings—a helpful skill to have when you read any piece of literature. What surprised me the most was that the class made Shakespeare's writings enjoyable, fun to learn, and easy to understand. I really enjoyed the student-to-teacher interaction. It really benefited me that in class I could ask a question right then and there—I didn't have to wait days for for my question to be answered by email. If I did ask questions through email, the teacher was prompt in responding and gave a clear, concise answer.

— A recent student

I highly recommend Roy Speed's series on Shakespeare. These classes (Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth) are all professionally taught on a live platform. Mr. Speed's passion for Shakespeare and depth of knowledge make his classes quite enjoyable (and educational, of course). My daughter truly loves and appreciates Shakespeare's writing, and I credit that to these classes.

— Homeschooling mom

Instructor: Roy Speed. (Learn about Roy here.)

Course details

Who should attend: This is a high school-level course, but parents, please note:

  • The course is suitable as an introduction to Shakespeare.
  • It is appropriate for younger students who are mature and read at a minimum 8th-grade reading level.

Fee: $265. (roughly $16 per hour of instruction)

Space is limited; registration reserves your student's place. Prior to the class start date, your student will be contacted with guidelines and other essential information.

Required text: Students must purchase separately the edition of the play used throughout these sessions: Romeo & Juliet: Oxford School Shakespeare. This edition has been selected for its suitability for teenaged students and its tastefulness when explaining Elizabethan humor and vocabulary and classical allusions.

Recorded sessions. Sessions are recorded and made available to all registered students.

What your student gets

Included with enrollment in the College-Bound Intensives:

  • Close reading of Romeo & JulietLive lessons. Secure access to live lessons that engage students through lecture, close examination of text, audio, video, graphics, and interactive queries.
  • Core skills. This course supports students with two vital skills needed for college-level work: 1) close reading; 2) annotating the text.
  • Access to recorded sessions. If students cannot attend one of the live sessions, they may view the lecture at a time convenient for them.
  • Materials. Downloadable materials that can be printed and used throughout the series.
  • Testing. Two quizzes — a midterm and final — will be available for the parent to administer, to support generating a grade.
  • Grade & course credit. For this course parents may 1) award their student a 0.33 English credit for honors-level coursework, and 2) generate a grade for his or her transcript. A detailed course description is provided for the student's records.

Q&A with parents

A homeschooling mom writes:

I have one concern regarding the Romeo & Juliet class: since it is a love story, will the content be appropriate for a 13/14 year old?


Excellent question. In reply, a number of points:

First, we have chosen the text carefully. Romeo & Juliet has a number of bawdy references and jokes, and the Oxford School edition is tasteful in its handling of such passages. Using this text, our son first studied Romeo & Juliet at age 10, our daughter at age 12.

Second, yes, it's a play about love, and in particular, love at first sight — a theme that teens usually find interesting but one that Shakespeare seems to have mixed feelings about. He presents two different views of love: one represented in Romeo, who is impetuous and romantic — in love with being in love — and faintly ridiculous; the other represented in Juliet, who is more sober, careful, self-aware, and incredibly intelligent for her age. Roy deliberately examines each of these characters and themes in a thoughtful way.

One of the greatest benefits of studying this play as a young adult: Teens can examine these issues before they themselves are having to grapple with them in real life.

More comments from students & parents

My daughter would excitedly discuss this class with us, and Mr. Speed has obviously found a way to bring this play to life and impart to his students his own love of Shakespeare's works. In fact, my daughter and her friend, who also attended the class, went on to read additional plays on their own and met weekly to discuss them. I have to thank Mr. Speed for inspiring this appreciation of Shakespeare. Generating interest and curiosity in students to explore more about a subject is what the best teachers do, and Mr. Speed does just that.

— Karyn B., parent

Roy Speed is very knowledgeable of Shakespeare, and his appreciation for Shakespeare is contagious. When sharing the lines he finds meaningful, beautiful, or humorous, he invites his students to experience Shakespeare in a deeper way. He encourages active participation, first, by modeling thoughtful discussion of the characters, the plot, and Shakespeare's style, and then he expects insightful and thoughtful answers to the questions he poses to his students.

— Vicki B., parent

Roy Speed is an engaging and knowledgeable instructor. My boys rave about him and the classes and willlingly do their assigned homework!

Lani S., parent

My oldest daughter, homeschooled through 12th grade, is now a college sophomore majoring in engineering, and she has benefited tremendously from Mr. Speed's Shakespeare classes. He has not just enkindled a lifelong love of Shakespeare in her; the analytical skills continue to help her in her college studies. She not only excels in her English courses; she continues to use these skills in her engineering discipline as well — especially regarding technical writing, lab reports, and oral presentations.

— Karen T., parent


Registration is now open!

FALL 2024
Ten sessions of 90 minutes each.
Wednesdays, Sept 4 – Nov 6
3:00 – 4:30 pm EST
To register a student, click here:
Register for the Fall Session
Fee for this intensive: $ 265.
Instructor: Roy Speed
Questions? — Contact the instructor here.


Excerpts from live classes

Romeo & Juliet: The Prologue

Iambic pentameter: What it is

Iambic pentameter: How
Shakespeare uses it dramatically

What students are saying about
Romeo & Juliet

I had absolutely no idea how fantastic an author Shakespeare actually is. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, and every week I looked forward to the next class.


I loved logging into the meeting and being able to interact with everyone! Every week I couldn't wait to discuss the text with the students. It's like a big book discussion as well as an academic class. I also really loved the readings... Mr. Speed is great at acting out the play!!


I enjoyed going through Romeo & Juliet line by line the most in this course. I felt like this technique gave me the best understanding of Shakespeare's writing and was very interesting...


This course was awesome! I really liked the movie assignment and the memorization, which both really added to the class. I will read the play and watch the movie again, and the things I learned in this course will help me appreciate it better.


I loved the way Mr. Speed taught us — he wasn't just lecturing us, as other teachers sometimes do, but he enjoyed every second, he was taken with the text, and he explained everything to us in a way we could understand and appreciate. It was a privilege to listen to him read and explain throughout the course.


Annotating is something I had heard about but never really did. It helped me so much because I could find certain parts quickly, and helped me remember the text as well as the meaning. I am kind of a slow reader in general, so I was very happy that your instruction to read slowly and really digest the material is a good way to read Shakespeare! I will be using annotations and careful reading in future studies.


I think annotations are really valuable, and I wish I had used them before. In the future, all my books will be scribbled on!


Thank you Mr. Speed!! — I loved the class!!!!

Also open for registration:

Shakespeare's Hamlet

This series solves a mystery at the heart of Hamlet, unveiling historical information that unlocks the play's secrets — the story, the characters, Hamlet's actions all suddenly make perfect sense. Parents, please note: Students in this course should already have considerable familiarity with Shakespeare. Our series on Romeo & Juliet is ideal preparation.
View details > >


Shakespeare's Macbeth

This new series comprises seven sessions on Shakespeare's shortest tragedy. Macbeth shows what happens when a man with a conscience commits murder. It is an astute portrait of psychological unraveling, and students in this course will study in great detail not
just the characters' psychology, but the play's remarkable imagery and verse.
View details > >


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College-Bound Intensives

The instructors for our College-Bound Intensives are all subject-matter experts with a passion for their fields. They're selected for their ability to instill in their students real love and intellectual excitement for the subjects they teach.

Wrestling with difficult texts

A chasm separates middle school from high school or college-level work. Faced with advanced texts in science, history, and literature, students can no longer read passively; they must be active readers, digging into the content for nuance and understanding.

Our College-Bound Intensives are programs designed to build skills crucial for college-level work. Through intensive study of great authors, these courses take students to an advanced level of reading comprehension and analysis, enabling them to:

  • tackle sophisticated material across the spectrum of the college curriculum;
  • dissect difficult passages included in standardized tests.

In the process, students expand their vocabulary, strengthen their facility with complex ideas, and deepen their understanding of what makes great writing great.

Great works, important skills

We had a number of reasons for creating the College-Bound Intensives:

  • Few homeschooling parents feel equipped to teach the works of great authors — like Shakespeare — but may feel nonetheless that such works should figure prominently in their own curriculum.
  • Plenty of courses now target the student's performance on tests required for acceptance at college; fewer courses seem to target the student's performance in college — i.e., by providing knowledge and skills critical to a successful college career.


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