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Friday, March 22, 2013

The Art of Poetry (Classical Academic Press) - TOS Review

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Because we use the Charlotte Mason method of teaching, reading poetry has been a part of my son's education since the beginning of our homeschool journey.  He has memorized several poems, but has never participated in an in-depth study of the subject.  This is why I was interested in reviewing The Art of Poetry by Classical Academic Press.  I wanted to offer my son an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of this subject.  We received the Student Text, Teacher's Edition, and the first disc of the DVD series (which included Chapters 1 and 2).

This program was created by Christine Perrin as an introduction to poetry.  Not only is she a poet herself, but her experience also includes teaching literature and writing.

Through this curriculum students will learn about the elements of poetry which include topics such as imagery, metaphor, and symbols; how poems are to be read; and the history of forms, movements, and genres.

Within the student text you will discover 16 chapters set up in the following manner:
Chapter Topic - Introduces a new subject and is an average of three pages in length.
Learning to Read Closely - Includes a poem related to the topic and a discussion.
Anthology - Encompasses several poems with related questions.
Activities - Several are provided from which to choose from.
Vocabulary - A list of definitions.  
The text ends with suggestions on how the student can grow their interest in poetry, such as creating a poetry group; and a brief biography about each poet.

In order to teach this program you will need a Student Text and the Teacher's Edition.  The Teacher's Edition is an exact copy of the Student Text with the following additions:

Tips and suggestions for teaching poetry

A time line for each poet included in the text book

An interpretation of every poem in the Student Text

Quizzes for each chapter

Answer keys for all questions and quizzes

The Art of Poetry is recommended for middle school and high school students. You may purchase the following individually:

Student Text (View sample pages here.) - $24.95
Teacher's Edition (View sample pages here.) - $29.95
DVD Set (View sample video here.) - $69.95 (Effective April 1, 2013)

The complete bundle may be purchased for $99.95 (a savings of $24.90) (Effective April 1, 2013)

How We Used The Art of Poetry:

The author suggests three timetables that can be used with this program: an intense month-long unit (student would work on a lesson each day); two sections per month (or two weeks for each section) spread out over the school year; or doing several chapters a year over the course of several years.

For the purpose of this review we tried to do one lesson each day, but soon found that it was a bit too much for my 6th grader.  Instead we were able to complete one lesson a week.

A student can work with this program independently; however I chose to assist my son. I began by reading out loud the beginning of the chapter along with the poem found in the Learning to Read Closely section. We then discussed the poem. The following day we read two poems from the Anthology section and answered the questions. (There are also audio files of the poems found on Classical Academic Press' website.) I really appreciated the explications and answers included in the Teacher's Edition. It was interesting to see my son's expression as he learned various things about the poems that he would never have understood on his own. We concluded each lesson by completing one activity.

My Thoughts About the Curriculum:

I enjoyed the curriculum although it was a bit intense for a lower middle school student. I believe students at the higher grade levels would be successful using this text. I plan on continuing to use this with my son, but at a much slower pace.

As the teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed digging into each of the poems. I can see myself doing some of the activities with my son. Maybe this would be a good program to use over the summer.

My son did not enjoy watching the DVD. He felt it was too long (as did I). I may have appreciated it more if there had been fewer students in the video just for the sake of time.  

I would have liked the books to have been spiral bound so that they could lay flat when opened. I also would have appreciated a larger sized font for the questions in order to make them easier to read. I couldn't read them without my glasses.

My son wanted me to share with you his favorite poem by Carl Sandburg:

Under A Telephone Pole

I am a copper wire slung in the air,
Slim against the sun I make not even a clear line of
Night and day I keep singing -- humming and thrumming:
It is love and war and money; it is fighting and the
tears, the work and the want,
Death and laughter of men and women passing through me,
carrier of your speech,
In the rain and the wet dripping, in the dawn and the
shine drying,
A copper wire.  

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