Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
As a child, I did not learn to value poetry, penmanship, or art. As an adult, it’s taken me a long time to understand the value of poetry, penmanship, or art. I spent the majority of my life believing these things to be unnecessary extras – only for the artsy families who already enjoyed such things. It was not until I came across a family who did value these “unnecessary extras” that I realized there was something significant in their home that was lacking in ours.
As a mom, my desire is for my children to love truth and beauty. But if we’re to love truth and beauty, how can we do so if we seldom expose our children to truth and beauty? Learning to love lovely things cultivates an appreciation for lovely things. As I’ve considered Philippians 4:8, I realize that in order to “think about these things,” they need to be in our minds in the first place. We cannot bring to remembrance things that we’ve never really pondered to begin with.
Words are powerful. Expressing emotion and invoking imagery through artfully contrived words has been a valuable skill used throughout the ages. Poetry provides deep thoughts to consider (and remember) using rhyme, rhythm, meter, and imagery. Memorizing poetry provides literary devices that take root and later sprout forth in our own speech or writing. By learning poetry, we learn the art of expression (rhetoric). Given the ability to paint beautiful images with just a few words, we can bring life to those who listen (Proverbs 18:21). Over time, though, I’m afraid the study of poetry has become a lost art. We have so many subjects to tend to – so much curriculum to consider. How can we fit one more thing into our school day?
How to easily add poetry to your day.
Memorizing poetry can be as simple as reading aloud a poem once per day every day until it’s memorized. Through consistent repetition, intensity, and duration, we can memorize anything. A simple schedule that provides a way to revisit poems that have already been memorized provides the duration needed to transfer those memorized words from short-term memory to long-term memory. And… using copywork to reinforce poetry memorization – and to instruct children in punctuation and capitalization – actually lessens the workload in our school days overall.
I used to think that the only value for learning cursive was the beauty aspect. After struggling through teaching writing with three boys, however, I discovered the value of teaching cursive handwriting first, before teaching print. I have much more to say about this in the coming weeks, but investigating cursive in detail over the past year has led us to some significant findings. After deciding to let go of the “mastering print first” mentality, I’m thrilled to announce that our third son now enjoys handwriting. Lest this be seen as a small thing, let me share the absolute truth. At the beginning of this school year, this child (like his older brothers) seemed to fall apart at the very act of holding a pencil. But after just four months, his handwriting, flow of thought, and spelling have improved significantly. This entire experience has launched us into the development of a new line of cursive instruction and copywork. If you have a struggling writer or if you haven’t taught your child cursive yet, stay tuned for more about this story along with the tools that made it possible.
Now that he writes cursive, one of the things that makes writing enjoyable for him is copying words we are studying elsewhere. Although he is a fort-building, nature-loving, risk-taking outdoorsman, he also enjoys poetry and Shakespeare and words that paint beautiful pictures. And so, with that…
Announcing the Script -n- Scribe Cursive Program
If you’re asking… “How can I easily fit poetry into our school day? Which poems should I start with? How can I start to cultivate a love for truth, goodness, and beauty?” we offer the first item from our Script -n- Scribe Cursive Program: Poetry Penmanship – Virtue in Poetry.
- Twelve carefully selected poems that reinforce virtuous character
- Scripture references to correlate with each poem
- Copywork pages for all 12 poems
- Mini-poster pages for all 12 poems
- Notebooking pages for older students to write all 12 poems or corresponding scriptures
- Coloring pages sprinkled throughout
- Memorization plan to assist with memorizing the poems
For children new to cursive writing, check out the Script-n-Scribe Introduction to Cursive: Roller Coaster Writer!