COVID-19 or Not: Homeschooling And The Role Of Poetry
Editor’s Note: A big pre-Holiday departure for us. So many parents of young children have found themselves unexpectedly homeschooling their kids. Of course, a small number of parents actually chose this course. No matter which of these is true for you, this article is for you – or for your kids, if they are young parents.
Thank you to the article author, who wished to remain anonymous
For people who raise kids through homeschooling, there are plenty of hurdles to overcome — and teaching children poetry can definitely be counted among them! Think about your own time in school, and just how much you probably detested having poetry lessons. Depending on how good of a teacher you had, poetry could be boring on the verge of pain. But that’s one of the reasons why homeschooling is great — you can strive to right the wrongs of the education system.
In a homeschooling environment, there is absolutely no need to study poetry in the boring old way; through constant memorization and dry analysis. At home, you have the ability to choose what type of poetry your children will have the chance to interact with. You can mix the influential poets of all eras with your personal favorites, and let your kids see precisely what you like about poetry so much. You have incredible freedom when it comes to the resources you’ll use.
Many people believe that you need to have some kind of special education and training in order to understand poetry — or teach it to others. But the reality is a lot different. You don’t need to have any kind of specific education in order to appreciate prose, like a story or an awesome book — and the same goes for poetry! Through a small amount of guidance, you will be able to introduce the children in your care to the beautiful world of emotional poetry.
Your primary goal here should be to convey the beauty of the poetry and the message that it carries to your child. Start by reading the entire poem aloud, and then let your child read it. Depending on the era of the poem and the child’s vocabulary, it might not be a bad idea to have an English dictionary, so that you can easily explain any words they’re not familiar with.
When it comes to younger children, you need to be careful not to dissect a poem and analyze it too much. Before they are capable of enjoying the message and the sentiment of a particular poem, there isn’t much sense in subjecting the child to technical studying. The first thing a kid needs to experience with poetry is the feeling of pleasure. And only once they learn to love it, only then should you dive into symbolic analysis.
The study of poetry in homeschooling should extend beyond mere classes. You need to make poetry present in your everyday lives so that your children can learn to enjoy it outside the confines of the proverbial classroom. So, choose some poetry that’s appropriate for everyone in the family, and something everyone likes. The younger kids will appreciate poems about animals, and there are even funny ones that are intended to be read in tandem. In fact, there are even poems that intersect with other subjects, like grammar or math and help you teach your children other stuff while you have fun with poetry.
Teaching poetry in homeschooling is not all about reading other people’s work. If you truly want your kids to be immersed in the wonderful world of poetry — you can work on some pieces of your own together! And this isn’t just great for poetry, but for their language skills in general. That sort of writing will help them express themselves better, and increase their communication skills. They will also have better spelling and a larger vocabulary as time goes on.
Naturally, the specific subjects that your children will write about depends on what you are teaching them, and their own personal interests. Once you start giving them feedback on their work, try to steer clear of negativity, and attempt to be as flexible as possible in giving them constructive criticism. If we are talking about younger kids, let’s face it – their first attempts won’t be so good. Still, you clearly don’t want to discourage them. Instead, try to encourage them to write more, and point out the stuff which they can correct right away.
At the end of the day, your most important resource in homeschooling poetry lessons is enthusiasm. Quite simply, you can’t force a child to love a particular poem, or poetry in general. And arguing with them on it is not going to work either; it will just permanently push them away from poetry. You need to “convert” them subtly.
For better or worse, all throughout the end of adolescence, parents are their children’s biggest role models. Even when going through the rebellious phases in puberty, kids subconsciously look up to their parents. That is why it’s important for you to show them what’s right by doing, not telling. You can’t expect kids to fall in love with poetry if you don’t read it yourself and show appreciation. Once they get used to the sight of you casually reading poetry, they’ll get the idea to read some on their own at some point.
If we’re talking about small children, it’s also all about the atmosphere and association. You need to carefully pick a poem and read it with them in a pleasant mood. That way, they’ll start associating poetry with happy memories and a connection to their parents.
And don’t begin with the poem you like the most; that’s not likely to be a good fit for kids, and it might even bore them. Pick something age-appropriate, and immerse yourself with them — soon enough, they will develop a love for poetry they did not even know they had! Before too long, you’ll see them recommending poems to you instead of the other way around.
We hope this brief guide was of use to you and that you now feel more aware of the role the poetry can play when it comes to homeschooling. Make sure you’re staying safe through these times we are facing. Have a good one, folks!
You may also want to read: Storytelling Quotes from Great Writers [Infographic]
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