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Review of The Art of Poetry, Grades 6 to Highschool, by Classical Academic Press

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 7:55 AM

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This is at last bone of my bones

And flesh of my flesh.

This one will be called Woman,

Because from man this one was taken.

I cannot think of any more delightful language to fill the mind of all of my sons with from an early age than those uttered first so long ago.

Poetry has always been important to me during my homeschooling journey. Expressing emotion through artfully contrived words though, I feel, can be a lost art in homeschooling because of the sheer number of subjects that creep up into our day. For the last 4 weeks or so we have savored every lesson as we used The Art of Poetry  by Classical Academic Press. The Art of Poetry bundle includes a Student Text, Teacher's Edition and DVD set.


Beautiful words have a way of painting a conversation with so few of them. I have always admired such clear thought that can be dwindled down to a few lines of poetry. I am pleased more when I have the privilege of reviewing products like The Art of Poetry that can capture not just the common elements like rhythm and meter, but that can lead you step by step to understanding and skillfully teaching poetry.


I have added a snippet above of the table contents for you to peek at. By breaking each element of poetry down into a chapter, you and your children have more than enough time to relish each word, line and punctuation. Poetry unlike reading prose calls for an unhurried pace so that all the parts are analyzed for beauty and hidden meaning.

Using figurative language and metaphors is not something we always use in everyday writing. At first, studying poetry can feel strained until you realize that writers have to write with their hearts and not just their minds. So The Art of Poetry  begins by helping you to understand the importance of paying close attention to reading, then covers the elements of poetry and gives you a history and timeline of poetry.

A very useful feature and one we enjoyed was the short biographies of poets that is in the back of the book.  Helping your children to appreciate that poets are real people and their lives, their environment and opinions influences their emotions enriches our understanding of each word.  Whether a poem is silly, happy or sad, our children see that other poets may have experienced some of the things that we do.

If you want to take a closer look at the table of contents, click here for a free pdf of the table of contents with the Teacher's Edition.

When we received The Art of Poetry, both the Student Text and Teacher Editions were bound beautifully. You know my obsession by now though. I need books that lay flat on my table. So I coil bound both the Teacher's Edition and Student Text and began our lessons. I heeded the suggestion given right away and that is to begin by reading Chapter 8:Putting it All Together.  Using this with both Mr. Awesome who is high school level and Tiny who is elementary level, helped me to get an overall pulse of their understanding of poetry up to this point.


After each poem there is a set of questions in the Student Text for you to consider. The Teacher's Edition is a must have in this bundle because of the sheer volume of teaching tips and answers to the questions. It is more than an answer sheet. More on that in a minute because I certainly want to give you more details on it.


At the end of the chapter there are activities that vary anywhere from reading a poem of your child's choosing, to hands-on activities to writing a poem. There were more than enough activities to choose from at the end of each chapter so that I could mix and match for both levels.  Also vocabulary words and their definitions are provided throughout the Student Text.

It did not take long for Mr. Awesome and Tiny to understand that poems are about laughter, enjoyment and they can also bring tears. They are about unveiling emotion that we only thought oral conversation could do.


We did several of the activities suggested in each lesson plan. As suggested in one of the activities, I found free emotion facial cards online so that Tiny could pick the emotion he was feeling as Mr. Awesome read the poem.

 

I also received Disk 1 from the DVD set as part of my review package. The quality, sound and clarity of the lessons was superb.  A video sample is on their website for you to view.


 I think one of the parts Mr. Awesome enjoyed the best about this program was watching the DVD as Christine Perrin teaches four students.  Mr. Awesome gave up his normal DVD laptop player and confiscated my computer with the bigger screen. Because he is high school level, he does get to use the Teacher's Edition too if he needs it but just followed along in the Student Text as he watched her conduct the class. He felt a connection with the other kids there realizing they didn't have all the exact words to express their feelings about each poem.

I have not forgotten to tell you about the comprehensive Teacher's Edition. Just in case the homeschool world decides to start nominating candidates for the top of the line teacher's editions and gives them a 5 star award, I will already have The Art of Poetry Teacher's Edition nominated.

Previously I mentioned the timeline in the Teacher's Edition, but I have to admit that some swooning was involved when I saw it. In our unit studies and everyday learning, I am always looking for ways to connect language arts to a history timeline. In the Teacher's Edition, there is a timeline that has time periods with the following four sections, except for the postmodern period: forms and genres, writers, literary value and historical context. It is a nice visual aid to enriching your language arts.

 You know one of my pet peeves about teacher's edition that I blogged about last year was that a lot of them are nothing more than answer sheets. Helping many new home educators and ones that are struggling, I hold Teacher's Edition to a standard of excellence. Dramatic as it sounds, I happen to believe they can successfully help you homeschool or be a deal breaker.

Teacher's Edition should equip any teacher, not just the ones who have a background or degree in that area, to explain clearly what is being taught. A teacher can't do this if she is only given an answer sheet. Background information to edify the educator is a must too.

The Art of Poetry Teacher's Edition contains gray bordered pages immediately following the lesson that gives detailed explications and background information where needed. That means this section clarifies and breaks down the process of teaching into the most minute pieces. We need that when we don't know what we are doing or like me, if you want to pick up the curriculum and teach with minimum preparation time.

Here is what this Teacher's Edition includes. I took this from the website so it is finely tuned.

  • Detailed and fascinating explications of thirty-nine poems from the student text
  • A complete answer key to accompany Anthology exercises
  • A poetry time line showing the different periods of poetry, including the period's forms and genres, writers, literary value, and some historical context
  • A quiz for each chapter, a cumulative book quiz, and answers keys for all quizzes
  • An introduction for the teacher with tips and suggestions for teaching poetry
  • The entire The Art of Poetry student text

I have to add one more point though that is particularly valuable to me in using many, many teacher's editions and that is how the student text page and teacher's edition page numbers align. Though the table of contents lists the Teacher's Edition last entry on page 271, there are well over that amount of pages in the Teacher's Editions. However, because they retained the same page number alignment, you can easily tell your student which page you are on because you start on the same one. A small thing not so small in keeping me organized and saving time flipping through student texts and teacher's editions that have different page numbers.

Effort counts in poetry.  Turning thoughts into creative words is not an easy task, but any reader of poetry appreciates thoughts that are composed in an artistic way. Both Mr. Awesome and Tiny enjoyed the activities of not only writing their own poetry but sharing it with each other as well as their drawings illustrating figurative language. Closing our eyes and mentally reflecting on the sight, sound, feel, taste and aroma of each poem we read as we were guided along by The Art of Poetry this month has been some of our most pleasurable lessons so far this year.

I cannot hide my praise for this product. I purchased the whole DVD set because I was so pleased with this curriculum. Classical Academic Press sets the bar of excellence for language arts that I am use to in my many years of homeschooling and The Art of Poetry equals that standard. Thank You Classical Academic Press and Christine Perrin for not only a practical guide but an excellent program to serve the homeschooling community.

Product NameThe Art of Poetry :

The Art of Poetry Bundle. Includes The Art of Poetry student text, The Art of Poetry Teacher's Edition, and The Art of Poetry DVD Set.

Website: Classical Academic Press.

Bundle List Price: $124.95 Bundle

Price Separately:  [$24.95 - Student Text], [$29.95 - Teacher's Edition] and [$89.95 - DVD Set].

Grades/Ages to use it for:  Grades 6 and Up. Middle School to High School.

Type of Product:  Physical Books bound

E-Book Format: Student Text available in Amazon Kindle and Apple iBook

Free things you'll love: Free Resources such The Art of Poetry Audio Files and The Art of Poetry suggested schedule. Check it out and see if it is for you.

Customer Service: My books and DVD arrived in secure shipping packages in excellent condition and was received at the time it was promised.

Notice of Price Change effective April 1st: The price will be $99.95 for the Bundle and the DVD set will be $69.95.

 The Art of Poetry

 Hugs and love ya,

 

All product information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

 




Categories: TOS {The Old Schoolhouse} Curriculum Review , Review of Homeschool Products, Language Arts (Middle & High School)