We’re beginning to wrap up our Subject-by-Subject series. Next week we will finish up with a focus on teaching math the Charlotte Mason way. Today, let’s talk about poetry.
Most homeschool moms I talk to get a funny look on their faces when I mention poetry. That’s because their own schooling experience with poetry consisted of dissecting a poem to bits at the teacher’s insistence. Such over-analysis and examination steals all the joy from the beautiful words. Charlotte Mason’s approach is vastly different.
Good poetry reaches the heart in a way few other words can. It’s amazing how deeply a well-crafted phrase from a thoughtful poem can shape our lives! As Charlotte said, “Poetry is a criticism of life; so it is, both a criticism and an inspiration; and most of us carry in our minds tags of verse which shape our conduct more than we know” (Vol. 4, Book 2, p. 10).
We are doing our children a great service when we nourish their minds and equip their hearts with good poetry. Here’s how.
Read poetry aloud. Often. Enjoy how the words fit together and create pictures and feelings within you and your children. There. That’s it.
Oh, certainly, you can do other things with poetry, but that’s the foundation. That’s where it starts. Schedule poetry once a week to begin with. Select a poem and read it aloud to share with the others. Be sure to read beautiful words in a beautiful way.
“But how do I select a poem?” Choose one that you like, one that nourishes your mind and heart or just makes you smile. The key is to surround your poetry times with a mind-set of enjoyment in words well chosen.
Charlotte would often do a poet study (similar to music study or picture study) by selecting one poet to focus on for several weeks. Read poems by that one poet, and soon your children will get a good feel for his style.
As your children grow comfortable in the world of poetry, have them read the poem aloud sometimes. Help them practice beforehand, if needed, for poetry is one of the hardest genre to read aloud well. You can also assign a favorite poem for the children to memorize and recite. Again, coach them in reciting well.
But above all, read poems often and enjoy them. You can do that!
If you’re ready for the next step, these resources will help you.
- Favorite Poems Old and New, edited by Helen Ferris, is a wonderful anthology (collection) of good poems. It will give you plenty to choose from.
- This article on poetry outlines a few more details, including an easy way to do Shakespeare.
- If you want all the details on which poets Charlotte recommended and used in her classrooms, how and when she had her students write poetry, and samples of their work, check out Hearing and Reading, Telling and Writing: A Charlotte Mason Language Arts Handbook.
Charlotte Mason Seminar in Three Weeks!
In just three short weeks SCM will be in Fort Mill, South Carolina, for a full day of instruction and encouragement. On Saturday, October 6, Sonya will be presenting the All-Day Charlotte Mason Seminar in an informal, relaxed environment where questions are welcome and laughter flows freely. You will have an opportunity to connect with other likeminded homeschool moms and shop at the SCM book display all day.
Registration deadline is coming fast! Be sure to register by Monday, October 1, to reserve your spot and your notebook for this popular seminar.
This is part of the series: Subject by Subject
How to teach each school subject in a Charlotte Mason way.
- A Generous Curriculum: Subject By Subject,
- Three Basic CM Principles: Subject by Subject, Part 2
- Teaching History: Subject by Subject, Part 3
- Teaching Geography: Subject by Subject, Part 4
- Teaching Spelling: Subject by Subject, Part 5
- Teaching Bible: Subject by Subject, Part 6
- Teaching Handicrafts: Subject by Subject, Part 7
- Teaching Science: Subject by Subject, Part 8
- Teaching Foreign Language: Subject by Subject, Part 9
- Teaching Music: Subject by Subject, Part 10
- Teaching Writing: Subject by Subject, Part 11
- Teaching Literature: Subject by Subject, Part 12
- Teaching Grammar: Subject by Subject, Part 13
- Teaching Beginning Reading: Subject by Subject, Part 14
- Teaching Art: Subject by Subject, Part 15
- Teaching Poetry: Subject by Subject, Part 16
- Teaching Math: Subject by Subject, Part 17