Saturday, November 2, 2013

An Aspiring week 9: Clearing the hurdle of Poetry in the Homeschool

As you read this blog and learn more about my homeschool style you'll notice that I just love to utilize curriculums with an audio component. Well, Instiute for Excellence in Writing's Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization (LDTPM) is such a curriculum.    Thus, it is the core of our poetry studies. 

What is it?
LDTPM is a collection of poems broken into 4 levels with suggestions for a 5th more advanced level. Here is the explanation from IEW:
"Introduce your children to the beauty of literature through the doorway of poetry. Enrich vocabulary while infusing reliably correct and sophisticated English language patterns into students' minds. How? By listening to and memorizing these classic poems, which are read with flair and finesse!" IEW website 
Why not just pick out some poems?

For years, I have wanted to study poetry for several years. However, I was always stymied at poetry selection. I was paralyzed by the thought of picking the wrong poems. If I had made it over "the wrong poem hurdle" then I would have reached "the getting the right level poems hurdle", "the making sure we had enough poems hurdle" and finally "the do I have time to get all this mess together hurdle". As you can see I was not having much success on my own, accomplishing this goal. 

IEW's LDTPM has helped me to hurdle the barriers of implementing a successful poetry program in our homeschool.

We have three goals with poetry study. First, we want to create a taste for poetry in the lives of our children. Second, we want to "introduce....sophisticated English language patterns" into the minds of our children. Finally, we want them to exercise their memories. 

How does this look in your home?

"There is much more value in memorizing passages of literature- both prose and poetry...An early and high degree of mastery of the language is more valuable than an early mastery of the presidents. " page 281 Teaching the Trivium

  1. I give each child a copy of their poems for their individual poetry memory time.
  2. First, each child recites or tries to recite their poem. If they recite it perfectly, I check it off using our I.E.W. LDTPM Check off sheet. 
  3. Then we review some of the poems we have already memorized. I mark each poem with a M,Tu,W or Th (representing the days of the week) thus, we only review the Monday poems on Monday, and Tuesday poems on Tuesday etc...
  4. I occasionally (2-3 times per year) introduce some terms, such as rhyme scheme, to the children. We will spend JUST a few minutes on this and I will periodically ask them to tell me the rhyme scheme of a poem. 
  5. Then I give the children between 0 - 5 minutes to work independently on memorizing their poems.  

All of this takes about 15 minutes to complete which works out to 5 minutes per child. 

When is this accomplished?

We complete our aforementioned poetry memorization program during our family gathering time which is first thing in the morning.

Now as for my precious audio, I keep this in the car and we have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the poems while driving. In fact we had quite a spirited discussion about the poem "Charge of the Light Brigade" and we ended up looking it up on Wiki and ordering the movie on Netflix.

Finally, another part of our strategy is setting up a learning household thus we do not watch TV, play video games or have other such amusements. When our children are searching for something to they normally play inside or out, paint, play the piano/clarinet or read.

As far as my poetry centers  they seem to be going well because as I type my 8 year old is sitting next to me reading "The Witness" by Browning. In just a minute I'm sure she'll say "Mama, listen..." 
Product Details
Homeschool Happenings

Monday was a very difficult day mostly dealing with my oldest daughter who was having issues. She has autism and was having a bad day. I really spent  a lot of time  being concerned about her and her future. I truly have no idea what her life holds and if she will be able to function well as an adult. 

Institute for Excellence in Writing
I have wanted the children complete their IEW assignments on a more consistent basis. When I pay that much money for a program by golly we are going to do it! However, recently my attention has been divided. Finally, by Wednesday I was able to focus on getting IEW accomplished and to provide the children with a bit of needed direction so they could complete their IEW papers.
Preschoolers doing centers during Family Gathering

Working on the final project in our Astronomy Study

The girls have begun working on their final project, building  solar system, from The Universe book.I really considered buying all the pieces individually for each planet and piecing it together but I in the end I broke down and bought a Smooth foam kit from Amazon.I have been very pleased my purchase.
God's Design for Science Heaven & Earth The Universe Final Project

Watching Kiddos
Thursday was a topsy-turvey upside down day! Each month I watch my friend's (see the lady below in the yellow sweater, ain't she cute!)  kids for 4-5 hours and she watches my kids for 4-5 hours. We can take care of doctor's appointments, grocery shop or sit at a coffee shop humming Yankee doodle dandy. Are you feeling me?  I have 4-5 hours to do what I want to do, scheduled into every month<Can I get an Amen!?>! So her midgets were here and as usually they all had a grand time exploring the property, jumping, swinging etc... In fact, they had so much fun that I was able to get 4-5 loads of laundry washed, folded and put that's babysitting at it's finest!
This week in co-op, balloon rockets was our science experiment and needless to say this was a big hit with the kiddos. They loved watching the balloons racing across the room. Additionally, this particular co-op there are a lot of sweet memories made during the fellowship as our children's sweet little hearts are knitting together and they are becoming better friends.

May God Continue to Richly Bless your homeschools!

Linked to
:Homeschool Mother's Journal Link Up 


  1. And so we DID both write on poetry this week! Ha! How fun...definitely a rewarding endeavor.
    And I just so loved hearing about your kid-swap thing that you do with your girlfriend! I have talked about doing this very thing with a fellow homeschooling friend of mine but we have yet to DO it. I think I need to bring it up again! blessings, Joanna

  2. We loved LDTPM...wish we could still use it because I love hearing the boys recite poetry and I'm not much good at it. I really am enjoying reading about your homeschool days!

    1. Wow! Thanks Barb, I've enjoyed following your blog for years and articles at various sources. Thanks for the compliment.

  3. I so enjoy reading your blog! I always leave here encouraged, and just wanted to let you know! I love your homeschooling ideas and trust God to continue to bless you as you share your heart for Him! Love, Cheryl

    1. Thanks Cheryl, your devotional blog is a huge encouragement to me too! :D

  4. That sounds like a great curriculum! We have been learning the poetry as we get to it in Primary Language Lessons. I really enjoy learning it along with the kids. Thanks for sharing!

    1. We enjoyed PLL, it's a nice gentle approach to Language. :) I also memorize poetry with the kids. We have a presentation night so I have presented a couple of poems too...such fun.


Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

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