Can poetry be simplified? I think it can.
Does the thought of reading poetry to your children make you sweat?
Couplet, Sonnet, Iambic Pentameter, what!
I’m right there with you, but I don’t think you need to have the knowledge of an English Ph.D. to appreciate and learn from poetry. Also, so many poets are perfect for children such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Christina Rosetti.
They write of things that children experience, which adds to the enjoyment. Even now, when I read Bed in Summer by Stevenson, I can remember going to bed as a child and my frustration that the sun was still out!
Poetry can also relay history and science through a more enjoyable format than a textbook and can create a vivid description that leads to greater understanding.
So don’t think of poetry as something extra to add to your day, see it as another medium to use in your homeschool that will add interest and enjoyment.
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Perhaps we should question whether poetry should be so complicated for our 10-year-old, or even for ourselves. Is it possible that in our homeschool we first, and foremost, need to focus on the enjoyment of poetry?
Personally, I don’t believe the purpose of poetry is the over-analyzation of every word and line in a search for a deeper meaning. I guess for some it may be, but I feel that the primary reason for poetry is to elicit emotions with brevity seldom used in our everyday lives.
It is to condense our feelings into their most powerful form, whether that be a description of eternal love or a simple tree. Let’s all approach it with our children with this simple, beautiful attention.
This first book was given to me as a child by my great-aunt who loved to gift books. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children has been in print since 1983. Considering it was compiled by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, I can see why it’s remained popular with families through the decades. With sections including Seasons, Nature, and Nonsense, there are so many enjoyable poems worth sharing.
Another favorite is A Child’s Garden of Verse by Robert Louis Stevenson. This is the perfect beginning poetry book for a young child, with poems such as Rain, My Shadow, and The Moon, kids will love these relevant rhymes. We have found these perfect for beginning memorization.
A Child’s Introduction to Poetry is a great book to give an introduction to the different forms of poetry and includes an audio cd. From limericks to haikus, this book provides a wonderful, brief overview of the various poetical forms as well as a concise introduction to different poets.
If you only want one poetry book on your shelf, Favorite Poems Old and New is the best choice. This marvelous collection will last for years and never get old. From Shakespeare to Tolkien, this anthology never grows old.
Finally, Julie Andrews’ Treasury for all Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year is a beautiful book with lovely illustrations that follow the seasons. It is simple to find an appropriate poem for a holiday or tea time.
Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies is out of print, but available as an audiobook on Audible (or used on Amazon). This is ideal for a quiet time listening and also for hearing a poem read to improve your poetic delivery.
Others to Enjoy
Poetry for Young People (numerous poets)
A Little Help
If you’re still uncomfortable, you can always use this free Poetry Teatime guide by Brave Writer.
In this guide, Julie gives you a simple, step-by-step outline of a successful poetry teatime with your children. However, don’t feel that all of these are necessary. Sometimes ours is as simple as grabbing a cup of tea and sitting in the living room.
I know that if I make something too complicated, it’s more likely not to happen. Every time you enjoy poetry, it doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair.
Keep it Simple
Last, if you would like to make it easy (and who doesn’t), you can always play the Poem of the Day podcast by the Poetry Foundation while in the car or eating lunch.
I hope this helps to lighten your homeschool mom mental load. We often worry we’re not doing all we could or should as homeschool moms, yet something as simple as a daily poem contributes to a lifestyle of learning.
You don’t need an intricate plan, just read a poem.
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