Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Surprise of the Century: Kids Actually LIKE the Stuff

If there is one word that could strike utter boredom into my heart as a student, it had to be the big, bad, very-very-dreadful...

~ Poetry ~

Oh my. I'm already yawning.

Anyone else out there who felt the same as a student? Poetry was something one had to do for the good of one's academic soul, but it was tedious, tiresome, and something to be hurried through so that one could get back to the good stuff.

Not to say that I didn't occasionally run across a bit of poetry that thrilled me to the core. It did happen - occasionally. But mostly it was something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

When our Sonlight curriculum arrived last year, it included daily poetry readings from two volumes of children's poetry. *Sigh*. But we did it, and much to my surprise, our son seemed to enjoy it. (Weird.)

This year, though we did not keep going with Sonlight, I figured that I'd better keep going with daily poetry readings. Because it's good for us and we're going to suffer through it even though it's a big waste of time! 

We used one of the same volumes that accompanied the Sonlight course, "The Llama Who Had No Pajama," and since we were not following a pre-set schedule, we just wandered at random through the book. Imagine my amazement when I found, to my surprise, that our 6yo loved poetry. Not just "liked," not just "patiently endured with a good attitude," but passionately adored the stuff!

In fact, later in the year I actually had to set limits on the amount of poetry we read so that we didn't spend all day on it. "Okay, here we go - remember, only ten pages! No more!" (Seriously - we read ten pages of poetry every day. No joke.) He adores it.

And, to my surprise - I adore it too! I am every day realizing that poetry can be fun, and it is an incredibly valuable learning tool. (Not that I didn't know all of that in a theoretical sense, but I am now seeing it lived out before my eyes.) And because we re-read poems all the time, both of us are also learning a vast amount of poetry - and are incorporating it into our everyday conversations, both as-is and embellished! Wow!

And so... I am a convert. A poetry convert. Memories of my own experiences with school-time poetry still make me yawn compulsively, but I am coming to realize that poetry doesn't have to be torture - it can be a joy. And I intend to make it a joy in our homeschool time.

I also have big plans for the future! I have heard it recommended to have a "poet of the quarter," and we may take that approach in later years. For now, we are just making use of the excellent volumes of children's poetry that came with Sonlight, as well as others that we already have.

Have I ever mentioned that home education is an adventure? I never could have guessed how much learning and growing would be involved - for me! And I love it.

What surprises have you found in your home education journey?

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