One of my favorite things we’ve started doing these past two years has been reading and memorizing poetry. We don’t do it all the time and we haven’t memorized many poems (and they’re not long poems), but they have added another “dimension” to our school day. It feels richer, and more beautiful, and my children have taken to poetry with a gusto that has surprised me! If you’re considering adding poetry into your day, whether you homeschool or not, here are some simple ideas.
- Pick a book of poems (A Child’s Garden of Verse by Robert Lewis Stevenson is a favorite!) and read one every day. Discuss it with your child and ask them what it means.
- Memorize a poem – especially when starting, pick a short poem that has meaning to you and your child. On day one, repeat it several times. On the following days that week, say it 1-2x together. Repeat this process until your child can say it easily. Consider writing it in big lettering and putting it on the wall where your child can easily see it and practice at their own leisure. This has proven particularly effective for young children who are already reading :).
- Use a guide like “A Child’s Introduction to Poetry” by Michael Driscoll. We’ve been using this as a part of our school curriculum this year (al la Sonlight), reading one section a week to learn about a new form of poetry. We’ve enhanced this by adding the new style of poetry we just read about to our copywork the following day. The children have also suggested that we try writing our own poems in the style we just learned about. I find copywork is most beneficial when the passages are taken from things the children have context for, or are interested in. It also gives them a chance to practice their handwriting, strengthen their hand for writing longer passages as the length of the passage increases, and makes them look closer at the punctuation and form of good quality prose and verse.
If you have a different way you incorporate poetry into your day, please let me know! I love hearing new ideas 🙂