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Poetry in Homeschool

Updated on June 29, 2015

Verse for Children

April is National Poetry Month. Does your homeschool language arts curriculum include the study of poetry? Whether you're striving to incorporate more poetry into your curriculum or whether you are looking for a poetry unit study, this web page should offer some resources.

Charlotte Mason suggested that children often hear poetry read aloud. Occasionally they should memorize and recite poems. And she also recommended using poetry for copywork and dictation.

Just like her ideas on artist study and composer study, she felt it best to focus on the poetry of a single writer for an extended time (6-12 weeks). To supplement, she allowed the addition of a biography about that poet.

How to Study (and Teach) Poetry

There are many ways to tackle the study of poetry. I believe that the Charlotte Mason way is probably best -- incorporating it into your regular curriculum by reading poems (at the very least) weekly. I have chosen to read at least one poem each day. That helps us to make poetry reading an enjoyable habit that we are not likely to forget.

Charlotte Mason recommended studying the same poet for an entire term (6-12 weeks). You might select Robert Louis Stevenson or Christina Rossetti for a traditional style. See more poets recommended by Charlotte Mason at Simply Charlotte Mason.

Or maybe you'd rather have a humorous poet such as Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky to motivate a younger or reluctant learner.

Perhaps you admire Miss Mason's ideas but find the study of one poet all term a bit dry. My suggestion is to buy an anthology of poetry that offers a wide variety. With the anthology, you could study by themes/topics, by forms (ballad, sonnet, limerick, etc.), or just at random.

Whatever you choose, make sure to include a POETRY slot in your schedule sheet or preferred record keeping device. If you have a blank there, you will be more apt to fill it in by reading poetry.

How often do you enjoy poetry in your homeschool?

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Random House Book of Poetry for Children

This is my number one choice of a poetry anthology, especially if you are just starting out with elementary students. The engaging poems are sure to create a love for poetry! When you pull out this volume, the children will cry, "Yeah! Poetry time!"

For a more detailed review, see my post at The Curriculum Choice

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children

This is the volume we are using for poetry study! I highly recommend it for preschool through elementary students (especially if you are just beginning to add in poetry studies).

The selection is varied and has adorable illustrations throughout. Most of the poems are short and all of them were especially chosen with children in mind.

You will find the poems very engaging! If you read just one poem four days a week, this book can last you about two school years!

 

Choosing a Poetry Anthology

Of course, there are many options for poetry anthologies. Most any one you choose would serve you well throughout an entire school year or possibly longer.

Things to consider when choosing a poetry anthology

1. What kinds of poems are included? Modern, classic, or a mix?

2. What is the level of the poems? Difficult or easy?

3. What is the tone of the poems? Lighthearted or serious?

If you'd like recommendations from another homeschool mom, visit The Homeschool Classroom's article Reading Poetry with Children.

Another good source for poems is the Poetry Foundation. There are pages for different age groups from early childhood to young adults.

Or if you're looking for poetry for high schoolers, try the Poetry 180 project. This was created by Billy Collins a Former Poet Laureate of the United States. The idea is one poem per day for each of the 180 days of the school year. This selection is decidedly modern and multi-cultural.

Classic Poems to Read Aloud (Classic Collections)
Classic Poems to Read Aloud (Classic Collections)

Recommended for grades 4-8, this anthology has a mix of poetry from varied time periods and authors. Personally, I would recommend this anthology for grades 6 and up.

 

The Nitty Gritty of a Poetry Lesson

This is how I actually do poetry study with my daughter.

First, I read the poem outloud to her twice. The first time I may stumble over something. But the second time, I can read it with confidence and better phrasing.

Second, I ask my daughter, "What did you understand?" This is the narration stage when she retells what she heard. At this point, I can find out what she did and did not comprehend. What she shares here lays the foundation for my next steps.

If she didn't seem to understand a certain part, I will read that again and help her with any new vocabulary or figures of speech.

If she really liked a certain turn of phrase or idea, I will read that again as well just to let her enjoy it again.

If she totally omitted part of the poem in her narration, I will read that section again to help her focus.

Of course, I have my own reactions to a poem, and I will share those with my daughter as well. I especially like to emphasize beautiful phrases that describe something extremely well.

If you feel inadequate to discuss a poem, this Responding to Poetry form is a good place to start. But as you gain experience, you will learn the questions to ask.

Then once we both feel that we have connected with the poem, I read it one last time outloud.

Often, but not always, I will ask her to read it outloud at the very end.

These "lessons" are very short -- just 2-4 minutes long. You certainly don't want to dissect the poem to death, especially with elementary students. The goal is to create a love of the sound of poetic language and to encourage that same poetic skill with words.

For middle school or high school aged students, you may find this Poetry Evaluation chart helpful for taking notes about a specific poem. There is room for them to note symbolism, imagery, rhyme, their own feelings, etc.

And be sure to visit Barb's thoughts on teaching poetry to high school boys if your children are getting older. She also has an entire lens on the topic -- Poetry Lesson Plans and Ideas. These are a wealth of high school poetry studies, already laid out for you to use.

Charlotte Mason's Own Words About Poetry

"He should have practice, too, in reading aloud, for the most part, in the books he is using for his term's work. These should include a good deal of poetry, to accustom him to the delicate shades of meaning, and especially to make him aware that words are beautiful in themselves, that they are a source of pleasure, and are worthy of our honour; and that a beautiful word deserves to be beautifully said, with a certain roundness of tone and precision of utterance."

Ideas for Poetry Study

  • Introduce your children to poetry at a young age -- even in preschool.
  • Begin your homeschool day with a poem.
  • Create a personal anthology of favorite poems in a poetry notebook.
  • Organize a poetry contest in your homeschool co-op or through your blog.
  • Record audio files (or cassettes) of reading poems aloud. Share them with others.
  • Organize a student poetry reading or recitation at the local library, at your co-op, or just at the dinner table.
  • Hold a poetry exchange day with poems wrapped as gifts.
  • Listen to free audio recordings of poetry.
  • Use poems for copywork.
  • Use poems for dictation.
  • Print out copies of poetry and illustrate all around the text. Add the page to a poetry notebook.
  • Use poems for typing or word processing practice.
  • Host a Poetry Day.

Memorizing Poetry

Poetry makes for great memorizing material! The rhythms and rhymes make it a tad easier than memorizing prose.

Do you recognize this famous scowling poet? Yes, it's Edgar Allen Poe.

Funny Poetry for Children

If your children are reluctant to study poetry, starting with humorous poems can be a great way to change their attitudes.

Poetry Study Guestbook

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    • groovyoldlady profile image

      groovyoldlady 9 years ago

      O po-et-ry, I long for thee, to be with me, as I pee.

      As you can see, I am a true lover of verse.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Awesome job once again Jimmie.

      Thank you for this rich resource.

      In gratitude,

      Linda

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      I like this lens a lot! Very cool!

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 8 years ago from USA

      Yay for homeschooling where we can play with words! Fabulous! I favorited this page and lensrolled you to my Homeschooling High School Squidoo page. Thanks!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 8 years ago

      If I were homeschooling this lens would be a god-send, great work!

    • Simeyc1 profile image

      Simeyc1 8 years ago

      Very interesting and detailed Lens! thanks!

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 8 years ago

      Excellent lens, as usual! Welcome to The Homeschooling Group - you're a featured lens!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Wonderful lens about Poetry in Homeschool. I still remember most of the poems that I learned in school. Lensrolling to my lens about a book of Southern Poetry called Reflections Of A Mississippi Magnolia

    • profile image

      professoratworldstar 7 years ago

      What a fantastic lense! Thanks so much! I am a poetry fan and so is my son, I'm rather proud to say (His favorite poet is William Blake). I started a blog for him awhile ago, where I collect all his "online curriculum" (links and things I've gathered for him to explore online) and this includes poetry, of course! So thank you for giving me lots of ideas! Great squidoo-ing!

      Tatiana

      www.worldstaracademy.com

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 7 years ago

      This lens has been featured on the Homeschool Club on Facebook for April!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 7 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      ¨¨¨°º©©º° This lens has been blessed! °º©©º°¨¨¨

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I really enjoyed this lens and will come back to digest it in more detail.

      You might be interested in the children's poetry magazine that I publish (a print, rather than online magazine). We homeschool our own kids and the magazine features poems from a number of homeschooled kids in each issue... though I don't actually make a big deal about that...kids are kids! The website is www.thescrumbler.com.

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 6 years ago

      I need to add poetry to my language arts study in our homeschool. Some great ideas here especially for a reluctant Middle School boy. Have you ever used "The Word Artist" by Susan Kemmerer? Another great resource for writing poetry! Thumbs up!

    • profile image

      mysterious2528 6 years ago

      I love the pictures of poetry on this page. My poetry lens is still growing, but I hope to make it as nice as this one.

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 6 years ago

      How come I haven't been here before? Lovely lens on poetry and I will be linking to it in my high school poetry lens that is in the works. Thanks Jimmie. ***Blessed by an Angel***

    • cesargealogo lm profile image

      cesargealogo lm 6 years ago

      The resources you have presented here on how to make poetry a part of life is terrific. I have written a hundreds of poem yet, your page amaze me. There are really lot of things to be learn in the poetry world and your lens could be of help specially for people who are inclined into poetry. Wonderful!

      Regards,

      http://www.cesargealogo.com

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      Lovely lens! Blessing it and featuring it on my poetry angel lens!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 6 years ago from Royalton

      Poetry brings a unit study alive with vibrant immagry, exciting new vocabulary and delightful ideas that might not have otherwise come to mind. Thank you for all these wonderful resources for learning poetry in a homeschool setting.

      Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • deldobuss profile image

      deldobuss 6 years ago

      We love poetry- but we read it mostly for enjoyment purposes only. My girls have enjoyed the Poetry for Young People series. Each book contains selected prose from a major poet and lovely illustrations to go along.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      Nice! Lensrolling to my "I Am A Poet" lens and "Ezra Pound Poems."

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      oh yes i do believe in teaching children poetry to give them an additional outlet to express themselves! cheers

    • DianaHarper LM profile image

      DianaHarper LM 6 years ago

      I enjoyed this lens. Maybe I will take Sidney Sheldon on our 16 hour road trip : )

    • DianaHarper LM profile image

      DianaHarper LM 6 years ago

      Wait - I meant Shel Silverstein.

    • efriedman profile image

      efriedman 5 years ago

      Good to think that poetry is being included in a curriculum. I liked the poetry notebook idea.

    • oktalBlizzard profile image

      oktalBlizzard 5 years ago

      This is wonderful!

      Poetry is healthy.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 5 years ago

      A great poetry resource for homeschooling families and others. Incorporating poetry every day is a wonderful practice. Blessed.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      Excellently done. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 5 years ago from Royalton

      One of the things that I love about the Charlotte Mason method are the beautiful illustrations and when accompanied by poetry, what a beautiful education.

      Just had to stop back again to bless this lens. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Have you all checked out The Grammar of Poetry? New video course designed for homeschoolers, high-production value course. For 6-9th grade. It's based off the best selling book by Matt Whitling. Check it out at http://www.thegrammarofpoetry.com

    • CottageHomestead profile image

      CottageHomestead 4 years ago

      I love Shel Silverstein poems!!! Great lens!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 4 years ago

      I could barely get through your lens because I kept clicking through to all your other lenses. Great resources, thank you so much from a fellow homeschool mom!

    • joseph-sottile-16 profile image

      joseph-sottile-16 3 years ago

      Shel Silverstein is the best children's poet of all time!

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