Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: The Art of Poetry


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Three words that always get me excited are Classical Academic Press.  I have used and loved their Bible and Logic programs and drooled over their language programs. I love them. I was super excited to see that they had something new on the horizon, poetry!!! And guess what came to my door? Their new Art of Poetry Program.

About The Art of Poetry


The program consists of a student text, teacher's edition, and DVD lessons, available as a bundle or separately. They also offer free MP3 files and weekly schedules. There's even an Art of Poetry Blog written by the author.

The study covers the following units: The Elements of Poetry, including images, metaphor, symbols, etc. The Formal History of Poetry, including movement, verse forms, shaping forms, open verse and more. It also includes a section on applying poetry in your life and biographies of the poets in the book.

The teacher's edition includes a complete copy of the student text as well as detailed explanations of the poems, an answer key to the Anthology exercises, a poetry time line, quizzes with answer keys, and suggestions for teaching poetry. Hallelujah!!!!!!!

The study was written as an introduction to poetry for those of us who might have trouble understanding and enjoying poetry. Hi my name is Stefanie and I'm pretty good at comprehending Shel Silverstein and not much else.  Sign me up!!!!!

Our Experience


I am not a poetry buff. I don't really remember studying or reading a lot of poetry in school beyond the "funny poems." I don't even pretend to understand the "deep stuff." It's like a foreign language to me.

Mackenzie has read a lot of poetry. She reads at least one book of poems each year. However, in the seven years we've been homeschooling, all we do is read them. There is no real study or discussing them usually. This program is certainly something that can only benefit us.
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We received the complete Art of Poetry bundle. Since I am completely inept when it comes to this topic, I scoured the How to Use This Book, scheduling,  and Instructions to the Teacher sections. One of the first things that I read was "Do not let this book overwhelm you." That didn't make me feel better. I was overwhelmed by the size alone.

For the purpose of the review, I decided to use the One-Year Suggested Schedule which covers one lesson in about 2 weeks. This schedule would definitely be too much for us long term, due to my inexperience with this topic. There are also suggested schedules for Half-Year, Four-Year, and Elective/Co-op plans. Something for everyone.

The book also suggested culling the lessons for younger students and to ignore the more difficult material. We stuck to the most basic of activities.

We spent the first week reading the lesson on imagery and the poems that reinforce the lesson. We discussed some of the poems, talked about the vocabulary and did some of the suggested activities that were appropriate for a sixth grader. Our favorites were free write images from one of the four seasons, describe an image that is important to you, or figure out which sense is most important to you. There were several others but they were definitely for older students.

This was a rough week for me. It was an eye opener to see just how lacking my education was in this area. I relied heavily on the teachers notes to provide any insight. There is no way that I would've come up with any of this stuff on my own. I'm not even sure how the author came up with it, I'm that clueless.

Mackenzie faired a little better with being able to find images within the poem. It really showed me how beneficial reading poetry from a young age really is. If she were a little older, she'd probably do better with this program without me. =o)

During the second week of the lesson we got to view the DVD portion. Here is where the heavens opened up and the angels started singing. Oh my oh my, how I love the DVD. In a nutshell, the author teaches the course to four eighth grade students. It was like I was taking the class myself. And I don't even feel bad that those eighth graders are way smarter than me when it comes to poetry. They came up with stuff that we'd never have come up with on our own.

When we finished watching the lessons, we repeated the activities that we had done the week before. It was so much easier for us the second time around. Amazing!  We pretty much had the same experience with the second lesson on metaphors. We needed the DVD to get us through.

While this didn't turn out exactly as I expected, I found the Art of Poetry to be a very good curriculum. It offers a lot of flexibility, teacher helps, and easy to read texts. If I were going to change anything about the curriculum, it would be the set up of the teacher's edition. The answer keys and notes were separate from the student pages which meant a lot of flipping back and forth as I read poems and attempted to discuss them.

If you are a totally "poem illiterate person," like moi, it might be hard to use this program without the DVDs. I think they are worth every penny.  I also think that sixth is really a little young for this program, unless your student has a real passion and gift for poetry.  I found that the program has so much meat that it would be a wonderful thing to use for high school credit.

And I think that is exactly how I plan on using it in the future. Until then I plan on using it to bone up my own poetry knowledge. :o)

F.Y.I.


Website: http://classicalacademicpress.com/

Age Range: sixth through high school

Pricing:

       $99.95 for the bundle (student text, teacher's edition, DVD set) as of 4/1, currently $124.95
       $24.95 for the student text
       $29.95 for the teacher's edition
       $69.95 for the DVD set as of 4/1, currently $89.95

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1 comment:

Kym Thorpe said...

Sounds pretty similar to our experience with this one. ;-)

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