A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson
Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson …
First, I explain why I’m focusing subject by subject. Also, I include Charlotte Mason quotes because I find her original lectures on education to be SO inspiring and helpful.
Next, please keep reading to see the break down of implementing lessons, the schedule, and resources I’m using that fit our family. Finally, I share the wealth of quality Charlotte Mason resources I have found helpful, from those mothers who have gone before me.
PREPARING THE FEAST
“Our aim in education is to give a full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests.” (Mason, vol. 3)
There are MANY subjects included in a Charlotte Mason education because she believed in spreading a wide feast. Sometimes, it feels a bit daunting for a new homeschooling mama.
Therefore, I’m attempting to learn, digest, and absorb how I’m going to be teaching each subject. I have decided to compose a blog post on each subject for Form 1B (roughly first grade). This will help me prepare to teach my oldest son in the Fall.
“The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.” (Mason, vol. 1)
A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson
Poetry can be intimidating, because its almost like a foreign language. We don’t often hear poetry included in our daily culture. Also, more than likely, we did not grow up hearing or being exposed to it. Charlotte Mason says that children: “must grow up upon the best.” (Mason, vol. 2)
She goes onto say:
“There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal of worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told. Let Blake’s ‘songs of innocence’ represent their standard in poetry; De Foe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature – that is, the fit and beautiful expressions of inspiring ideas and pictures of life.” (Mason, vol. 2)
Poems are wide and varied, just as stories are. Some poems are written about seasons, nature, help answer questions, or are merely enjoyed because they are delightful. Therefore, there is poetry for everyone.
Miss Mason urges:
“…it is the part of parents to bring the minds of their children under the influence of the highest, purest poetic thought we have.” (Mason, vol. 5)
A variety of poems from a good anthology like A Child’s Book of Poems may be a great way to begin if you are unsure of which books to pick. Since I’m unfamiliar with poetry, I’m choosing many books that are highly recommend to begin with. Eventually, it would be great to highlight maybe a poet per term.
WHAT WE ARE USING
- A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and Tasha Tudor
- A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa
- Now We are Six by A.A. Milne
- When We were Very Young by A.A. Milne
A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson is recommended many times as a introduction into Poetry. Also, since Tasha Tudor is the illustrator, I’m delighted to share this book with my children. Two other must-have books by Tasha Tudor are: A Time to Keep (a beautiful introduction to holidays and the calendar) and 1 is One (a gentle introduction to numbers great for preschoolers). Once you see her illustrations, you notice how beautiful and special they are.
A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa is another well recommended first book of poems. The illustrations are also lovely, and I believe this will add to the appeal to my young boys.
Finally, the two books by A.A. Milne were also recommended: Now We are Six and When We were Very Young. Since poetry can be shared at anytime (not just during formal education), I have begun reading a couple of poems per day to my children. To my amazement, my boys beg for more! This shows just how appropriate these poetry selections seem to be for the young child.
Below, I share samples of some poetry I feel would be appropriate for beginners. Included are poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and William Blake, who are mentioned by Charlotte Mason as good poetry standards.
EXAMPLES OF GENTLE POEMS TO INTRODUCE TO YOUR CHILDREN:
MISS MUFFET by Mother Goose Little Miss Muffet Sat on a tuffet, Eating of curds and whey; There came a big spider, And sat down beside her, And frightened Miss Muffet away.
FOREIGN LANDS by Robert Louis Stevenson Up into the cherry tree Who should climb but little me? I held the trunk with both my hands And looked abroad on foreign lands. I saw the next door garden lie, Adorned with flowers, before my eye, And many pleasant places more That I had never seen before. I saw the dimpling river pass And be the sky's blue looking glass; The dusty roads go up and down With people that tramping into town. If I could find a higher tree Farther and farther I should see, To where the grown-up rivers slips Into the sea among the ships, To where the roads on either hand Lead onward into fairy land, Where all the children dine at five, And all the playthings come alive.
LAUGHING SONG by William Blake When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, And the dimpling stream runs laughing by; When the air does laugh with our merry wit, And the green hill laughs with the noise of it; When the meadows laugh with lively green, And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene; When Mary and Susan and Emily With their sweet round mouths sing ‘Ha ha he!’ When the painted birds laugh in the shade, Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread: Come live, and be merry, and join with me, To sing the sweet chorus of ‘Ha ha he!’
Charlotte Mason describes the Poetry Lesson as occurring daily. Also, each lesson lasts about five to ten minutes.
“Poetry, too, supplies with tools for the modeling of our lives, and the use of these we must get at for ourselves.” (Mason, vol. 4)
Also, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, author of For the Children’s Sake, says: “All children should have an excellent diet of mind-food to be nurtured on, so that their true education can begin.” She includes poetry as one of the essentials to nourish a child’s mind.
Perhaps my most favorite quote about why to include poetry in the educational feast:
“All our aspirations for the young are likely to be defeated unless we hand on to them a certain moral stability, a belief in beauty, truth, and goodness for their own sake; whereas if we give them these – … poetry will surely be included – we have at least the assurance that we have done our best to equip them adequately for the certain difficulties of this uncertain world.” (Parent’s Review Article)
Poems should be enjoyed regularly from a very young age.
- First, read a few poems aloud to your children.
- No narration required, just enjoy the feast!
Notes about poetry
As the children grow, poems are often added to a Nature Journal to support their Nature findings.
Poems can eventually be written down as copywork (writing).
Finally, I have come across some outstanding resources in learning about a Charlotte Mason education. I’m so happy to share them with you! Some of these are sources I return to daily because I’m preparing to teach my children. Additionally, I list specific resources for a Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson.
GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES
- A Charlotte Mason Soiree Educator Courses (free and amazing!)
- A Charlotte Mason Soiree Facebook Support/Discussion Group
- Charlotte Mason’s Home Education Volume 1
- Volume 2 Charlotte Mason’s Parents and Children
- Charlotte Mason’s School Education Volume 3
- A Delectable Education Scheduling Cards
- Another Delectable Education Curriculum Templates
CHARLOTTE MASON POETRY LESSON RESOURCES
- A Delectable Education Podcast on Poetry
- A Parent’s Review Article on Teaching Poetry
- Another great Parent’s Review Article on Teaching Poetry to Children
- Exploring Nature Curriculum with Children – A Nature Topic for each week, including a poem, based on a Charlotte Mason education. (HINT: If you click on this link, make sure you click “Preview” to check out the curriculum)
Also, check out these previous blog posts in the series:
- A Charlotte Mason French Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Math Lesson
- A Charlotte A Mason Picture Study Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Geography Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason History Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Literature Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Writing Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Bible Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Summer
- 29 Charlotte Mason Inspired Preschool Books
Thank you so much for checking in! Finally, please stay tuned for the next ‘A Charlotte Mason Subject Lesson’ post.
All of the quotes mentioned in this blog post, come from Home Education by Charlotte Mason. The Living Press published my favorite version of her books. Finally, I TRULY recommend any parent read Charlotte Mason’s books! They are truly treasured words I believe I will be reading and re-reading for many years to come.