Uggg – Poetry!!! Isn’t that what many people think when they consider studying poetry? Do you remember analyzing poetry in high school, doing a line by line massacre of the poem, breaking it into little bits until the beauty and meaning were completely lost – all in the name of “understanding” the poem? That is my memory of poetry in high school. I have very little memory of poetry before that. However, I loved poetry!! (except during class)
Adding poetry to your homeschool can be easy and doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You don’t have to spend hours breaking down poem line by line. You can just read some poetry. Add some to your child’s reading list. Read a little to your child each week.
Start at an early age and you will be surprised at how accepting your child may become of poetry. We just make it a part of our week. We always have a book of poems that we are reading. We are always memorizing poetry.
Here are some poetry books to consider reading for your elementary aged children:
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
- Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire by Jane O’Connor
- The Llama Who Had No Pajamas by Mary Ann Hoberman
- A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
Here are some poetry books to consider having your middle school and/or or high school children read:
- A Child’s Anthology of Poetry by Elizabeth Hauge Sword
- A Treasury of Poetry for Young People by Francis Brod Bagert
- The Portable Poe by Phillip Van Doren Stern
- Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris
You don’t have to quiz your children on the poems. You don’t have to analyze them. Just read them to each other, to yourself, maybe talk about what they mean to you. You can talk about the different types of poetry if you want to but you don’t have to. You can simply include it in your week in any manner that works for your family. You could even have your children write their own poetry as a writing assignment once in a while. Again, you don’t have to be a hard grader, just see what they come up with. You might be pleasantly surprised!!
In addition to reading poetry regularly in our homeschool, we are almost always working on memorizing a poem. Memorizing is a great way to increase your child’s brain power and broaden their horizons. (Not to mention grandma and grandpa will be impressed when they can spout out a few poem when they visit!)
We have a board in our homeschool room that usually has our Bible verse of the week and our current poem we are memorizing written on it (among many other things). We don’t have a set time limit to memorize the poem. We work on it throughout the week, practicing it, and once its memorized, we copy the poem into our poetry book (binder) and then try a new one. Once in a while we’ll review old poems to see if we still recall them. It’s nothing high pressure, just something we do throughout the year in addition to reading poetry and memorizing Bible verses (and all our Classical Conversations facts we memorize).
You really can choose any type of poetry you see fit to work on memorizing. It can be as long or as short as you feel. We occasionally replace our poetry memorizing with a Psalms or longer Bible verse memorization but otherwise, it is just any poem that interests my daughter or me.
Here are a few suggestions for children to memorize:
- “Hope” by Emily Dickinson
- “Mr. Nobody” Anonymous
- “The Goops” by Gelett Burgess
- “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley
- “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll
- “Leda and the Swam” by William Butler Yeats
- “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats
Do you include poetry in your homeschool? How do you use it?