If you enjoy poetry and are looking for a creative way to incorporate poetry study in your homeschool the Art of Poetry by Classic Academic Press just might fit the bill. The Art of Poetry curriculum bundle includes a Teacher's Edition, Student Text, and the poetry DVD set for $124.95.
You can purchase each item separately for $29.95 (Teacher's Edition), $24.95 (Student Text), and $89.95 (DVD set). The curriculum can be used for middle and high schoolers. I used it with a 6th grade student who doesn't have an appreciation for poetry. She feels that readers' analysis of the author's intentions are too deep and thinks the subject matter of most poems are gloomy. I'm sure this has a lot to do with her maturity level and her readiness for going deeper. The author makes a good point of poetry helping one to think analytically and metaphorically which is essential to writing literary analysis so at some point my daughter will have to develop this skill.
One can use the student text without the DVDs and Teacher's Edition but the sample DVD we used of Chapters 1 and 2 came in handy to help bring perspective to poems that we would otherwise not have. Each chapter focuses on an element of poetry like Image and Metaphor which is then explored in the various poems of that chapter. At the end of each poem is a series of questions to help readers understand the poem. The answers to these questions are in the Teacher's Edition. The Teacher's Edition also includes quizzes for each chapter which helps the student put into practice the skills learned in each chapter. Poem vocabulary and suggested activities end each chapter. The activities include creative suggestions for further investigating the element of poetry that was explored in the chapter. For example, the first chapter explores images. One activity includes finding four images that describe the past school year or make a collage of images that describe you or a relationship that is important to you. There are plenty of activities to choose from for each chapter including writing your own poetry.
I love that the website and the student text includes a suggested schedule to use the curriculum. You can use the curriculum as a unit study, spread it out over a year, or do several chapters to spread it out over several years. If your student is like my student and isn't ready for deep analysis, you can just read a poem a day just to familiarize yourself with different poets and their styles. This is the approach I like best. You can discuss aspects of the poem if something jumps out at you and is relevant to your student. This way the material isn't too heavy for the reluctant student. Even better are the audio files available at the Art of Poetry website under "free resources." I don't have to rely on myself to read the poems "correctly" stressing syllables and lines that should be emphasized. We enjoyed the audio files.
Even though my student didn't enjoy the poetry, I liked this curriculum. I like the flexibility of it best. It allows one to ease into the subject matter slowly saving meatier concepts for when the student is older. In my opinion it is a little pricey for a poetry study which I expect to be part of a larger language arts curriculum. However, you could start slowly by purchasing the student text only and using the audio files at the website. Then add in the more advanced analysis for an older student and include the teacher's edition for the discussion questions and quizzes. The DVDs help to round out everything adding the expertise of the facilitator to give insight and foster further in depth discussion.
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