Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Look how brave you are!
Often people avoid poetry because they learned to be intimidated by it. The truth is, poetry is no more different than the lyrics of music. When it comes to introducing your family to poetry it isn't time to get hung up on rules. Even without any knowledge of poetry your children will greatly benefit from listening to you read poetry aloud to them. "How is that?" you say. Well let's jump right into it.
1. Just like reading classic books, poetry will expose your children to a rich VOCABULARY. Rather than reading over a random list of "vocabulary words" and struggling to commit their meaning to memory, why not learn the words you naturally come across in literature. As you expose your children, no matter their age, to awesome lit. you will find that your children will start to use the words they are hearing. Let's take a look at this poem
by Thomas Hardy found in my book
At a Lunar Eclipse
By Thomas Hardy
Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea, Now steals along upon the Moon’s meek shine In even monochrome and curving line Of imperturbable serenity.
How shall I link such sun-cast symmetry With the torn troubled form I know as thine, That profile, placid as a brow divine, With continents of moil and misery?
In this poem alone there are four words that I have put in bold. These are words that you will hear your children say "What does that mean? and you get to tell them. In my book, I put the definitions of "smarty pants words" right under the poem. But it doesn't take long to pull out your phone or a dictionary and look up the words meaning. Not only will you have a captive audience sense they asked what it meant, but they will learn this new word in its context. It's not a random meaningless word picked off a list that someone decided your child is "supposed" to know.
2. There is something neat that happens when reading poetry. The mind has to think in a different way. Sometimes a poem means exactly what it says, but more often than not you have to put on your thinking cap and decipher the poems meaning. Now, I'm not talking about identifying what scholars have identified as the meaning. I am talking about your child letting their wheels turn in their heads and drawing their own conclusion. This is critical thinking at its best. Growing up, your English teacher may had discounted your interpretation of a poem in class. You may have been led to think that there could only be one meaning. Don't put your children in that box. Let them explore the words in their own way and praise them for being deep thinkers. Then you can share what you feel the poems means. And if your really dying to know you can go check out what the scholars say.
3. I say this about books and I will say the same thing about poetry. We can learn from everyone, and when we read literally works from the past we are sitting down with that person. Every poet has had their own set of life experiences and when they write they are sharing their knowledge with you. You can sit at the table with someone from the great depression, walk a whimsical path through an enchanted forest, or ride with a cowboy on the prairie. So, use that moment as an opportunity to learn from the past. Meet poets from all over the world in the
Tea With A Poet membership where you can not only learn from the poet but also explore topics like music math, history science, art, biology and more.
4. Most people will say they enjoy poetry that rhymes. Children are no exception to the rule. Sure Dr. Seuss is great, but why not take it up a notch and learn rhyme while reading Robert Louis Stevenson or A.A. Milne. What better place to learn about rhyme. Reading poetry that rhymes will train your child's ear to hear and identify rhyming words. Your children will learn that not all rhyming words have to end with the same letters. One fun way to explore your newly found poetry chops would be to enter the International Homeschooling Poetry Contest held every April. Check it out HERE
5. What makes poetry unique is that the majority of poetry is written in short manageable pieces that even young children will sit through. Because of this it's a fabulous source literature that can be used for memorization. Memorization helps to sharpen the mind and exercises parts of the brain that can become stagnant in our world of tech. We don't have the need to memorize phone numbers. We don't have to put facts to memory as often anymore because we can just look it up on our phone. Short two to four lined poems are perfect for the tiny littles in our life. At the same time, lengthier poems will stretch your child's ability to retain information and strengthens connections in the brain.
You get to give poetry a chance. With A Year of Poetry Tea Time you will have over 300 poems to explore and all organized by month to make it easy to find poems to fit your monthly lessons. Not sure where to start? The join the Tea With A Poet membership and enjoy the freedom and confidence knowing your children are getting a well rounded and diverse education.