Homeschool Language Arts

Inspire Your Child With Poetry

For me having an auditory learner really makes poetry study easy. Whether poetry is your thing or not, here are suggestions for How to Inspire Your Child With Poetry.

Inspire your child with poetry by reading together.

Children must hear poetry read. So don’t just hand them a book unless they are already interested or have already been exposed to poetry. I mean don’t expect them to be inspired by just saying “read this”.

Short Cut: If you can’t add one more thing to your curriculum look for poetry CD’s at your local library and put them on during trips and car rides. You’ll be surprised how much a whimsical and fun poetry reading will inspire your kids.

Find a good poetry book and incorporate it into your language arts curriculum.

One book I can recommend is A Child’s Introduction to Poetry by Michael Driscoll. You can read my full review on The Curriculum Choice . We had a fabulous time listening to this book. Since it comes with a CD we can hear how each poem should be read and because the book also gives instruction with each poetry form, we can also learn about the poems and then write some ourselves. The overall tone of the book really appeals to children and even in presenting the most serious of poems it does a fabulous job relaying them to a child’s heart.

Inspire your child with poetry by writing together.

Break down the structure and pattern of a poem type you enjoy.

 To make my point, I will use the example of the Limerick because of it’s simple pattern and humorous nature.

For a limerick the pattern is very simple. There are 5 lines. The first and second lines rhyme, the third and fourth lines rhyme, and the fifth line rhymes with the first and second.

Due to the fact that poems should be fun and intriguing, I think it’s the perfect type of poem to introduce kids to first. Poems should be catchy and capture a child’s playful spirit. Kids should find pleasure is reading poems and delight in their potential to recite them. Learning from an example which you select, your kids will be able to create their own words and phrases that have patterns and rhymes

Encourage your child to write their own poem.

My son and I had an enjoyable class where he wrote the following limerick: 

They’ve Gone Bananas by J. Harrington
There was a fat monkey from the forest,
Who dreamed of a monkey singing chorus;
They hopped up and down
As they sang with a frown,
Please go get bananas for us.  ~J. Harrington

Sometimes kids will need guidance, others will want to go with it their own way.

We laughed a lot while he experimented with possible word combinations. I wrote the lines on the board as the poem developed. For example, he started with the first line and then came up with the third and fourth lines. We added the second and then fifth. All the time we improved as we went. Don’t try to force it, just giving it time and allowing verbal brainstorming really helps. Once, you’ve modeled a type of poetry, your child will be able to begin writing them on his own.

It’s up to you to guide the experience positively.

All of writing is a process. So, you can’t expect to get a poem written necessarily in a short session. Maybe it will happen that way. But maybe it’s good to write and return over a period of time. This is also a skill your child can learn.

Only after the lines are completely finalized would I begin analyzing spelling and punctuation.

Analyzing grammar too early in the process may stifle your child’s creativity and enthusiasm. For example, once we knew how our limerick should sound, only then I had my child could write it properly.

Inspire your child with poetry through repetition and exposure.

Add some poetry to your homeschool program every year.

All of learning takes time, so you can’t expect your child to be an expert right off. Continue to add a little poetry through out you child’s education. If you really want them to be inspired, expose them regularly to quality, not twaddle, poetry selections.

Consider using poetry for copy work or memorization. 

I am always looking for good copy work selections. Poetry selections seem like great choices to me.  With poetry pick something engaging for your child, perhaps a line that seems important. Make sure it’s appropriate in length. You can break it down into parts, a  line or two each day.

 “When you select copywork, is there anything particular you look for that makes a good selection?
  • Ability-appropriate length
  • Quality content – is it teaching them something you want them to emulate, remember, or ponder?
  • Applicability – does it go along with something they are learning elsewhere or can relate to their life somehow?

In addition, because poetry usually has rhythm and rhyme they also make excellent selections for memorization!

How to Inspire Your Child With Poetry

Try adding an illustration to a poem or use an illustration to inspire one.

An interesting drawing or poignant photograph can inspire poetry. Likewise, the poem above, a Haiku, begged an illustration. My daughter drew this tree to go with her Haiku, she was in about 8th grade. I love how she emphasizes the One Leaf and how she uses perspective in her drawing. Isn’t it a wonderful take on the meaning too? The Haiku traditionally focuses on imagery with an emphasis on nature. This one certainly accomplishes that.

Do you remember to add poetry selections to your homeschool? Share your method, leave a comment!

About the author

Stephanie Harrington

Stephanie was a military spouse for 20 years and has homeschooled for more than 17 years. She and her husband of 25 years retired from the military and settled in their native state of Iowa where they continue to homeschool their youngest child. Her homeschool style is eclectic with Charlotte Mason and classical influences. She continues to encourage and support homeschoolers through her writings and curriculum development.
When she isn't teaching or writing she enjoys sightseeing, gardening, and cooking.

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