Thursday, May 8, 2008

Charlotte Mason and Nature Poetry

I just read the article The Teaching of Poetry to Children By Mrs. J. G. Simpson on Ambleside Online about the importance of helping our children to appreciate good poetry even at a young age. What makes good poetry according to Mrs. Simpson? "Poems which put a pleasant thought into your mind or a pleasant picture before your eyes." There is a lot of poetry out there written for children that doesn't necessarily put a pleasant thought or picture in one's mind after reading it. Some may wonder if their children may be unable to appreciate "good" poetry because it is not necessarily the easiest to understand. If we think about poetry as "word paintings," however, it may help us to realize that children can come to understand and appreciate great poetry, just like great art, by continuous exposure and our own enthusiasm.

With that in mind, here are a few nature themed poems that you might want to share with your children:
So, how can you include these poems in your homeschool? Here is a quote from Charlotte Mason recommending that children copy down favorite verses from their favorite poems. This is something that could easily be done in your nature journal.

"Children should Transcribe favourite Passages.––A certain sense of possession and delight may be added to this exercise if children are allowed to choose for transcription their favourite verse in one poem and another. This is better than to write a favourite poem, an exercise which stales on the little people before it is finished. But a book of their own, made up of their own chosen verses, should give them pleasure."
CM Volume 1 Page 238

Children are also very capable of memorizing verses of poetry. Perhaps your child's favorite verse, which he copied into his nature journal, could be something that he could work on memorizing. Mrs. Simpson brings out that great joy can be found in recalling a line of poetry as you observe something while on a nature walk.
So, what do you think? Do you include poetry in your nature journals? Do you and your children have a favorite poet or poem? Feel free to share it in the comments.


Holly@aiminghigh said...

My daughter (age 6) and I read a poem a day from A Child's Garden of Verses, a compilation of Robert Louis Stevenson's poems. Next thing I knew, she had memorized The Swing all by herself just because she liked it! You should hear her! She does it with up and down voice influctions (sp?) just like as if she is really going up and down on a swing. I may be biased, but I think it is fabulous!
Many Blessings,

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

You know how much I like to read and listen to poetry. :)

I think it is the perfect addition to your nature journal.

Thanks for sharing your ideas and the quote from CM.

Mom-Harmony Art Mom

Joy @ Joy in the Journey said...

We haven't incorporated poetry into our nature journals just yet (we just started nature journaling), but I hope to include great poems one day soon.
As we were looking at a book of fine art the other day we came across the painting of the Owl and the Pussycat by Peter Blake, and the kids were really excited. They love that poem, so that was a neat connection.
Thank you for your post!

Cindy said...

I SO need to introduce more poetry in our home. Thanks for the reminders and the ideas!

Jenn4him said...

Yes, this is a very good reminder, indeed.

JamieLee said...

I read that quote from Charlotte Mason before we started this school year, so that is how we've done copywork this year... we read a poem and she picks her favorite verse to copy. It's a great way to become familiar with poems and she often ends up memorizing at least that stanza just from copying.

Thanks for sharing.

Melissal89 said...

We absolutely love poetry here. And have learned many lessons and have had great moments reading it. Thanks for the reminder to use it in our nature journals.


Jessica said...

I've always loved reading and writing poetry and although I read it to the children often we haven't started using it in copywork yet. I plan on using poetry extensively the next year.
I love the 3 poems that you picked out and I'm going to print them off to read to my kids tomorrow during our outdoor snack time:)

By the way, I love your blog and read all of your entries.