I am trying to add a bit more poetry into our homeschool. Ivy in Bloom is a perfect resource in reaching that goal.
Ivy in Bloom by Vanita Oelschlager is a clever, out-of-the-box story that infuses famous lines written by well known poets of the past with a modern children’s story written in poetic verse.
At the surface, the book appears to be a poetic story of little Ivy Van Alsberg’s deep desire for spring.
Sick of the gloom, she begins to describe the chilly March day and imagine the changes on their way when April arrives.
Within her descriptions are familiar lines borrowed from poems of the past.
Here’s an example:
In the story there is a line which reads . . .
“She wore her yellow sun-bonnet
She wore her greenest gown;”
This is a segment of a poem by A.A Milne, but the story continues without quoting anymore of that poem. The full poem is in the back of Ivy in Bloom along with other poems whose lines were borrowed. Poets referenced include:
If you are using this in conjunction with your homeschool, don’t miss the extras provided here including a word search, word scramble, coloring pages and more.
The author and illustrator went out of their way to provide a truly usable tool for exciting children about the value, legacy and unfading message of poetry.
I give this book five stars and wish I could give more. It’s brilliant!
Order your copy of Ivy in Bloom on Amazon or Barnes&Noble.
I received a free copy of Ivy in Bloom from Vanita Books via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Recently I found a beautifully illustrated copy of Kate Greenaway's Marigold Garden. My copy was printed by Fredrick Warne & CO LTD. which makes it even more special to me.
If you didn't know, Fredrick Warne &CO was the same publishing house who took on Beatrix Potter and gave her her first big break.
I was already familiar with Kate Greenaway's artistic style. I'd seen several of her illustrations and fallen in love with her soft muted color pallet and the gentle childhood expressions she put on the faces she painted. These expressions she created always seemed to float between innocence, peaceful resolve and slight boredom. I couldn't tell if the child was as pure as the driven snow, content beyond words or bored out of its mind. Still, these quiet images soothed me.
If this artist is new to you, I know you will enjoy reading and viewing free examples of her beautiful artwork and poetry here.
I knew that I liked Kate Greenaway's style and that she was an English artist and illustrator who lived in the Victorian period, but I didn't know much more about her. You can read a brief bio here. That was all I knew about her.
I didn't know was that Kate Greenaway was a pivotal influence on needlework. I learned later that many of the red work sunbonnet sue patterns that are common on children's quilts are actually inspired by her.
Even though I don't sew, this new information sent me on a massive hunt for Kate Greenaway red work patterns. It's never to late to learn a new skill right?
I found a cross stitch pattern, iron on transfers, and a cheap copy of a hard cover book of patterns.
But I still didn't know how to sew, or stitch or embroider or . . . .
Then I found this amazing site that has a primer with pdf lessons in stitches and free samplers.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but that is when the light bulb clicked on. This would make a wonderful life skill to teach my daughter!
And . . .
I could even tie it into our current living book. In Hetty Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field, young Phoebe is learning to do stitch work as a hobby, she was also made to work a more challenging sampler as punishment for her misbehavior.
This new life skill would tie my daughter to the character and bond them together through personal experience. I would be giving her a richer connection to the book and pulling her into the story.
Another great embroidery site primer can be found here.
This great site is also bubbling over with information on red work.
Would you rather start small?
This site has beautiful free samplers for beginners- advanced. After reviewing the pdf primer lessons together with your child and developing confidence in your stitches, maybe consider allowing your child to choose their pattern themselves. This creative choice might inspire them.
Also, if you're really brave, you can follow in the footsteps of Victorian young ladies who made their own patterns. Here is a site that will teach their method for making perforated patterns.
As you begin learning this skill, remember to take some relaxing time snuggled up on a couch together reading Kate's poetry. As the pages turn, allow the warm images and the quiet beauty of childhood to invite you back in time.
"Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen." -Leonardo da Vinci
Do you struggle to teach poetry? Here are some resources that I thought I'd share:
1. Printable poetry would be good to place on the refrigerator or on display somewhere that children can see and read it.
2. I also found more printable poetry broken down into topic categories like Animals, Colors, Earth Science, Family, etc. I really like what this site offers. Their list of bird poetry is long and wonderful. I'll be visiting this site a lot during our bird studies. Many of the poems would make excellent copywork.
3. If you're looking for an idea of what to read to your child you can check out this great list of classic children's poetry to read online.
4. The Poetry Foundation offers tons of information and educational resources to promote the art of poetry. Currently they feature a really cute video of Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman reading her works and chatting to kids about poetry and rhyme.
5. Lit2Go has a great collection of poems and stories. The poetry often has activity sheets to go with the poetry. Here is a link to a simple little poem that we recently enjoyed.
As part of my research and study I also read Parents' Review Articles titled An Address on the Teaching of Poetry and The Teaching of Poetry to Children.
In An Address on the Teaching Poetry by Rev. H.C Beeching it is explained that poetry has the ability to tap our memory, enhance our ability to describe with beauty and clarity, and sharpen our scientific observation skills. The article discusses the emotional impact of poetry and it's ability to waken our mind and train it for deeper feeling. The author advises parents to use quality poetry that is "delightful" to read and also to choose poetry that considers the age of the reader. The article presents that good poetry should leave children with joy, expanded and trained emotional understanding, and the skill of applying the imagination through words.
The Teaching of Poetry to Children by Mrs. J.G. Simpson stated that a love for poetry begins in childhood. It stresses the importance of making poetryworth reading and learning, not wasting the child's ability to memorize by giving the meaningless poetry that doesn't engage the imagination and instead raises the bar of what they can enjoy. The article insists that a child can be trained to love beautiful poetry that we might think is beyond their understanding. It urges parents to choose great examples of poetry rather than silly senseless rhymes that lack meaning. It goes on to say that one of the best tools for teaching our children to love poetry is by letting them see our own love for poetry. The article is loaded full of great links that aredefinitely worth checking out.
My children and I are now enjoying poetry from A Child's Garden of Verse and working on being better acquainted with the art of poetry. Dover makes a coloring book version that I want to purchase to incorporate with our poetry readings.
My children were so excited when we began our poetry lesson. They really didn't view it as a lesson (or "school" at all). In fact when their friends came over later that day, they announced that all they had to do for school was math and writing. When I mentioned poetry they said "yeah, but that was cool". Ah ha! The joy of poetry.
I love poetry. I always have. Yet,somehow, sharing poetry with my children is not as simple as I thought it would be.
My best experience teaching poetry to my children was when we studied Lullabye by Eve Merriam. You can read this poem here.
We read the poem and then made purple playdough. If you need recipes for playdough you can see my post with tons of recipes here. You might try using grape flavored kool-aide if your child doesn't have allergies.
We also made purple the "color of the day". We read Harold and the Purple Crayon and cooked egg plant for dinner.
We did these activities on July 19th, which was Eve Merriam's Birthday. It was also a good time to be outside and hunt for purple objects in nature.
I understand that poetry study is a subject included in most Charlotte Mason home schools. To be honest, my home school is floundering on this topic. So far, we have completed two semesters attempting the Ambelside poetry list. My kids just seem bored. The poetry is odd language to them and the words are sometimes mispronounced to make a rhyme. They just don't seem to understand it.
It's hard not to include fun, child-friendly poetry that I read and loved as a child, poetry that would surely be considered twaddle by some. One of my favorite modern children's poet is Sara Holbrook. I especially love her poem titled The Storm That Was. I would not consider her poetry to be twaddle. I find it genuine and insightful. I think she gives tremendous respect to childhood feelings and presents them in an honest and often humorous light.
Frankly,I don't really understand the term twaddle. As a writer myself I struggle with the concept that some books are viewed as garbage. That thought makes me very sad. Of course, I wouldn't read (or benefit from) every book out there today, but I believe there are gems from our decade that can achieve beautiful learning and evoke great poetic images for our children. I hate to skim over them just because they aren't "classic".
So here is your part to jump in. I'm throwing these questions out to my readers. What is your favorite poet? Can you think of a poetry lesson that was extremely meaningful, productive, or just plain fun? Do you include modern poetry in your lessons? How do you define the worth of poetry? Do you cringe at the word "twaddle" too?
If you're up to the challenge, please consider blogging about your experiences or feelings from my list of questions above. If you take my challenge, be sure add a comment below with a link to your related post.
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