Poetry and homeschooling

As we approach the end of what is a school year for most kids, I’m reflecting on practices we have used this past year.  One we added last fall was Bravewriter Poetry Teatime – we call it Poetry Tuesday at our house, and there’s no hot tea in Texas in the summer (we make it iced or have some other cold drink).

Poetry Tues
In Texas, Poetry Teatime on Tuesday often comes with iced things in jars….

I’ve only scratched the surface on Bravewriter and bought one of their Arrows. I wasn’t really impressed, but then I heard about the site on a great interview with the founder on the Savvy Homeschool Moms podcast.  It’s a 2 part interview, and I highly recommend it to secular homeschoolers. (Here are all of their episodes – it’s rare for me to find established secular podcast resources.)

After the episode, I contacted Julie at Bravewriter to tell her about the guide not working for us and what we were doing for writing. I appreciated that she told me to keep doing what we are currently working on (blogs, reviews, creative writing) instead of trying to sell me something else.

For us, Poetry Tuesday prep starts on Monday morning morning with a list of other Monday housekeeping items we do.  We have some time set aside when everyone participating selects or writes (or a combination) 3 poems to share with the group on Tuesday at 3pm.  L and I always bake something together while K is at math on Tuesdays, and when she gets home we all sit down to business.

I don’t know why they love this so much, but it’s a weekly routine the kids never want to skip.  They get incredibly excited when the time comes – we try not to move it and schedule around our 3pm meeting.  I take advantage of the time to give them a mini-lesson on interesting poet bios, rhyme and meter patterns, etc.  We’ve done Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Jack Prelutsky, Emily Dickinson, Shel Silverstein, Walter Dean Myers, Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, and T.S. Elliot to name just a few.  This is a keeper for next year, I highly suggest reading up on the process on the Bravewriter site and making it your own for your homeschool!

Lots and lots of resources online, but one of the most comprehensive I’ve found if you’re just trying to get an overview on a variety of poetry is Gradesaver.com.  The menu bar on the left side has just about everythign you could need for beginners.  Here are a few pages I looked at that have extensive information about these poets and their work, just for example.

Walt Whitman

Emily Dickinson

Langston Hughes

Maya Angelou

The site also contains even more information on novels, essays and quizzes.

August 2016 update: Poetry Tuesday is still going strong.  Summer we do cold drinks, winter is for hot tea, and it’s an easy tradition to keep alive on the road.  You can bring small poetry notebooks to copy poems you find or write your own, and luckily just about every town in the world has baked goods and tea!


3 thoughts on “Poetry and homeschooling”

    1. Hi! Yes, we still do it weekly, even when traveling. My younger daughter (7) is the main driving force, she can’t miss a Poetry teatime. I need to invest in some cuter tea equipment!

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