What I do with poems that we’re going to learn is this: I put the poem into my word processing program (you can cut-and-paste it directly from this blog post, if you wish) and then I increase the font so that the poem takes up one entire typewritten page. Then I print it out, slide the printed sheet of paper into a plastic page protector and hang it in a highly visible place in the house where the kids will see it regularly (i.e.: on the refrigerator, the classroom wall, or even in the bathroom.). Several times each day, we’ll stop by the displayed poem and read it aloud together.
But back to the first day of school. I’ve learned over the years not to jump back into school with both feet, but rather to start with select subjects and add the rest next week (or the week after). This year I decided to begin with math, history, probably science, and reading for the little boys/writing for the big kids.
We’re also continuing our Poetry Memorization, so that was our first order of business this morning. After that I worked on history with the middle four kids (that would be grades 1, 3, 6, & 7). We like to supplement Story of the World with the blackline maps from Knowledge Quest and while I debated whether or not to buy the ‘new’ version (we already owned the ‘old’ version) I’m glad I did. They’re much more user friendly, especially for teaching multiple grade levels. Today we worked on a world map, and while Bouncy and Silly Boys labeled continents and major oceans, Boy Genius and Twirly Girl labeled those plus many seas and mountain ranges. Good thing we finally got wall maps for this house because I had never heard of a few of those seas.
The last couple of years I was doing three rounds of Poetry per day: During our Morning Time with all the kids we were reading American poets, one poem per day, with a different person each day reading the poem. Then I’d meet with my four younger ones who are all doing Ambleside together, and we’d read a selection from the assigned poet. In the afternoon I’d meet with the older three — we were reading through Shakespeare’s sonnets.
This year I’ve had to cut back, so we’re only doing one poem, during our Morning Time. We’re reading Edgar Allan Poe right now because we’ve finished AO’s assigned poet, even though we haven’t finished the rest of the scheduled readings. All we do is read the poem, then sit quietly for a minute or so to let it have time to soak and to give anyone the opportunity to say anything they want to about it. I’m very very weak on knowing how to talk about Poetry, so that’s one reason why I signed up for Dr Taylor’s class this year. I do so LOVE Poetry, but my ability to SAY anything about it is pretty much limited to “It was nice, and I liked it.” :-p For memory, we’re all doing that together, and I use the same method I use for Scripture memory — I read it aloud and the kids listen, joining in when they’re able. Sometimes I’ll ask if anyone wants to recite, and at least half the time someone does. We’ve learnt two so far by this method — Poe’s “Eldorado,” and Yeats’ “Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.” The latter only took a week of regular reading. The former took longer because it was over the summer when we weren’t meeting regularly. Before I started doing it this way I would have each child working on one, alone with me. I think three of my kids memorized one or two things over the course of four years. I’m just not able to be consistent enough with it on a one-on-one basis for it work that way for us. About 1/3 of our Scripture passages are Psalms. So far we’ve done Psalms 1, 23, 24, 29, and 100. We’re currently working on Psalm 8.
You will memorize and recite a poem to the class on May 9th. You will select a poem from the document entitled ‘Poetry‘ that appears in the ‘digital locker’ of the parent section of Teacher Ease. Sign up with a poem as soon as possible and begin memorizing it.
This poem must be a poem that you have not already memorized and recited for school. Every student needs to select a different poem to recite, so you may want to have several choices in mind when you sign up in case your choice is already taken. Once a student signs up for a poem, no one else may recite that poem for this assignment.
4) It makes other things more enjoyable. I remember standing in front of a beautiful tapestry and realizing that the poem ‘Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven’ by Yeatswas augmenting my ability to appreciate the art. I could see the words of the poem woven into the fabric, ‘enwrought with golden and silver light.’ I could imagine the artist laying the work at my feet, and it reminded me to tread softly because I was treading on dreams.
Watch Sir Ken Robinson read that poem here. Children can learn through Poetry a deeper appreciation for the beauty around them as they internalize the beauty of the poetic lines and apply it to what they see. There’s a reason that the boys in Dead Poet’s Society got hooked on Poetry and resurrected the club to celebrate it: it made their school experience overall more enjoyable (well, at least until the one boy committed suicide, but that was in no way the Poetry‘s fault, you must agree).
This program is great to use with kids of all ages’at the same time. It is so much more than merely memorizing Poetry ‘ although that is pretty much what it all is. However, our family is using it to help our children become better WRITERS.