O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Art of Poetry- Schoolhouse Review


Throughout time, many great works of literature have been written. A classical education is dependent on studying the classics. There are many genres of classics. Poetry is just one of those genres and it has been passed down for generations from all great societies and continues to be produced today. For many, poetry study can be daunting. Fortunately, Classical Academic Press  has published the Art of Poetry by Christine Perrin to assist in teaching poetry appreciation. It is primarily geared towards middle and high school students or 6 grade- adult.

There are several components to this curriculum available:PhotobucketThe student edition costs $24.95 and is written to the student. It contains an anthology of poetry throughout time. Each chapter contains  explanations of the elements of poetry, guiding questions to help the student study the poem, activities and vocabulary from the chapter.  A sample chapter is available here.

PhotobucketThe teacher edition is a reprint of the student text followed by several pages of explanations to the guiding questions from each poem, quizzes on the poetry, and an answer key. It is available for $29.95. A sample chapter is available here.

PhotobucketThe art of poetry DVD set is available for $89.95. As of April 1, 2013 it will be available for $69.95. The complete video lecture set is 15 hours in length. The lesson begins with a brief introduction to the topic which is largely taken from the text. Then it moves into a discussion with a group of eighth grade students. At the end of a chapter, Ms. Perrin walks the students through the activities section of the book. There is a sample of the video at the above link.

Photobucket Also available is the Art of Poetry Bundle. It costs $124.95 and contains the Student and Teacher editions as well as the DVD set. As of April 1, 2013 it will be $99.95.

This program can be used in many ways. A suggested schedule is available here. The Art of Poetry could be used as a year long poetry course, an intense unit study, a poetry appreciation course, or even as a co-op enrichment course. The suggested schedule, which is also found in the manuals, gives more details about how to use it in each scenario.
In my family I have elementary school students so I primarily used this for myself. Going through high school and college I sat in many literature classes where the teacher had come to a conclusion about the meaning of a particular literary work and then wanted the class to prove her point. I got a rather negative taste for analysis of literature. I felt like it wasn’t my place to decide what the author thought since I couldn’t ask the author. I loved that in the introduction of the teacher’s manual Ms. Perrin addressed this very topic. She noted that there are three aspects to consider when encountering a work. These aspects are “1) the author and her intentions, 2) the text and its living tissue, and 3) the reader and his relationship to the text.” Unlike my English teachers in school, the Art of Poetry teaches the reader to analyze not only the words, elements, shape, structure, and possible meaning from the author but also to reflect on how it effects the reader. This gives a more whole picture of the poem and also allows the student to gain more from it.
I primarily used the teacher manual for my studies. All of the answers and keys are separated from the text so I was able to read the lesson, go through reflection questions, and if I wanted to read the author’s discussion on the poem. As I come across poems that I think are valuable for my children, I share them out loud and we talk about them. Even elementary students can look at basic elements like personification and imagery. I appreciate the thoroughness of this curriculum.  I like that it starts with basics like recognizing imagery and moves towards more complex concepts like shape. Eventually, as I think this text is best suited for 8th grade and up, I will use this with Tiger and later the girls in their literature studies. 
Be sure to check out what other members of the Review Crew thought about the Art of Poetry. The crew also got to review Discovery of Deduction, so check out those reviews too.

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