That's pretty much what we've been up to this weekend.
Two parents and three kids on antibiotics, but I was well enough today to take Gus to our lit discussion (on Beowulf this afternoon). Ria and John listened in via Skype. (Made for a very interesting discussion! They listened in and typed their responses which were read aloud by two girls who were taking care of the lap top. It was often hard to tell whose opinions were whose - which was quite funny!)
One of the nice things about being sick (and it's way too cold to go out and do much anyway) is that we had the leisure to spend a LOT of yesterday reading aloud various translations of Beowulf, watching some pertinent parts of a literature series we own from the Teaching Company and the Story of English series from the library.
Ria and Gus had listened to the Seamus Heany translation on audio (we picked this up at a rummage sale somewhere along the way). Then, yesterday, I read aloud the Bethlehem Books edition. AFTER that, I realized that I hadn't read anywhere near the whole thing and didn't have anything else in the house. Fortunately, I discovered a very decent translation online, which was quite enjoyable as a read-aloud.
We delved a bit into the connection between Tolkien and Beowulf and dug up some rather interesting-looking links (not a lot of time to read through them yet, though).
Overall, I think it was a great start and I hope that many of the students will be inclined to read the story again. Certainly the connection with Tolkien helped a lot. Next on my list to read is Tolkien's essay "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" which we unsuccessfully looked for on the web last night. It does turn out that one of my students had a Beowulf book (the Heany translation as a matter of fact - which we only own on audio) that has this intriguing essay in the back. She lent it to me and I can't wait to dive in.
I really like this way of studying lit together. With Beowulf (and Sir Gawain too), we all (three or four or five families) read the books on our own, did some research as we were able and brought our ideas and findings together for the discussion.