Homeschool Students Prepare to Learn in London

This is the second in an occasional series of posts from Abigail Cogar and Eva Barry, two high school students in West Virginia who (with their parents’ help) applied for and received a Micro grant from VELA. Both Abigail and Eva are homeschooled, but homeschooling doesn’t just happen in the home. The students met in a Classical Conversations program, shared their mutual love of Shakespeare, and—thanks to their grant—are now set to visit the Bard’s stomping grounds in London this spring. Abigail and Eva’s second post is below, with links to their recent essays about Shakespeare plays at the bottom. Miss their first post? Read it first!


It’s been a bit since our last update, and much has happened since then. We’ve made the majority of the essential decisions for our trip, narrowed down our destination priorities, and have continued our deep dive into some of Shakespeare’s most puissant works.

During the hiatus between our updates, we’ve been busy establishing the framework for our trip. We’ve gotten our passports (after some difficulties with passport photos, N.B; Do NOT wear anything camo in your passport photos, and prepare your passports early in case of any difficulties!), secured the trip dates, and booked our flights and accommodations. 

From left to right: Abigail Cogar, her mom Jennifer Cogar, and Evangelina Berry. Courtesy of the Cogar family.

Narrowing down which places we most wish to visit during the trip has been difficult. Afterall, staying in only London without Shakespearean priorities, you couldn’t visit all the attractions in a week. Add in all our other traveling plans to the picture and we have realized just how much there is to see and do, and just how little a week really is. We plan to spend time exploring London, Oxford, and Stratford Upon Avon, Shakespeare’s hometown. Topping the list of our most anticipated trip days are the days to be spent learning about Shakespeare in his hometown, and immersing ourselves in his recreated theatre at the Globe.

The latter might just be at the very top of that list. Once reservations became open for the Globe, seats began booking rather quickly, which was a bit stressful while we were still trying to determine exactly how we wanted to enjoy the experience. Thankfully, despite a few communication fumbles, we were able to successfully make our reservations and are greatly looking forward to our Globe day as the highlight of our trip. We’re going to be seeing a performance of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, perhaps our favorite Shakespearean comedy (although Taming of the Shrew holds a special place in our hearts). We also look forward to tea at the Swan, a lovely restaurant adjacent to the rebuilt theatre, which offers special Shakespearean themed teas for Globe visitors.

One reason we are so eager to see Much Ado About Nothing is because it was one of the first Shakespeare plays we studied in depth. We’ve also studied Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Henry V, and are currently analyzing Hamlet. Our curriculum has each play divided into 5 weeks, during which we read, discuss, write an essay on, and present a memorized passage from the current play. If you are interested in perusing a sample of our work, we have attached a few of our essays below. 

As the date of our take off is approaching ever so quickly, we are growing in anticipation more every day, although sometimes we still are still incredulous that we have received this dream opportunity! Once again, we are so grateful to VELA, and can’t wait to share our experiences!

Check out Abigail and Eva’s essays on two Shakespeare plays:

Abigail’s Macbeth Essay: From Fair to Foul // Eva’s Henry V Essay: Henry V – The Heroic Villain