Monday, March 25, 2013

The Art of Poetry: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Dust of Snow~Robert Frost

The way a crow
shook down on me
the dust of snow
from a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
a change of mood
and saved a part 
of a day I rued.

Poetry has a way of taking ordinary words and making something extraordinary out of them. They create a visual image in the mind of the reader that goes way beyond the black and white of the words on paper. Classical Academic Press has created educational materials that have brought back the art of classical education. Not long ago we received the curriculum The Art of Poetry to review.


Here is a description from their website-
If you have ever felt mystified by, or unable to enjoy the significance of poetry, this book will lead you step by step to understanding and love of this branch of literature, guided by a gifted poet and teacher. The Art of Poetry is an excellent middle school or high school curriculum; it will teach the practice of reading a poem slowly and carefully, introduce students to the elements of poetry (such as imagery and metaphor) and the many forms that can make a poem, from sonnet to open verse. In the belief that practice is the best way to learn, this book is rich with explications, exercises, and activities. A biography of each poet is also included, and we are providing audio files of many of the poems.
 Classical education is based on a three-part way of training the mind called the trivium. The first part of the education is when the child absorbs facts, the next stage is when the child learns to think through arguments. The last part of classical education is when children learn to express themselves. When we first started homeschooling this is the type of plan I really wanted to use. As a homeschool mom though, I learned that you have to teach the way your own children learn best, and I discovered that classical education would not be on our path to learning. Yet, I do have a few friends that teach in this manner and I have to sit back with a bit of awe as I think it is a beautiful way to learn. So I must say I was very excited to get to try out some of this type of curriculum. 

My 11 year old daughter and I sat down and went through several of the poems. With each poem there are included discussion questions and various activities to do. I really like how it gets the student involved in the whole thought process behind the poems. I think that I enjoyed it more than my daughter though as I do not think she is quite ready for this type of curriculum. I can very well see her being ready for something like this in the next year or two though. What I really like about this curriculum is the fact that you can move through it at your own pace. Which means that I might take the slow approach in the fall and ease into this with my daughter as it can be done over multiple years. 

Another neat thing about this curriculum is that it has a DVD of Mrs. Perrin going through some lessons with her teenage students discussing the poetry and elements. I can see this could help an older student work through the material more independently.

Here are the prices from Classical Academic Press-

The Art of Poetry book-$24.95  
It is also available on Amazon in a kindle version for $22.95 or $22.99 for an Apple iBook.

The Art of Poetry Teacher's Edition- $29.95

The Art of Poetry Bundle-$99.95 

For the quality of this indepth curriculum I think that it is well worth the price. The Schoolhouse review crew also did some reviews on another Classical Academic Press- The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic. Click on the link below to see what others on the crew think about both products! 

Click to read Crew Reviews

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