Tag Archives: poetry

November Online Book Club Wrap-up

I read the short writings from Beth Moore in November as part of the online book club’s theme of “thankful.” I chose these two books of musings for a couple of reasons – one, I had them but had not read them; two, focusing on the gift of love from God – Jesus Christ – is cause for thankfulness to me. I found that I really enjoyed most of both of these books.

Both of the books are similar in form and format. I have them both in ebook form on my Kindle. They are both mostly poetry with some anecdotes or other background writings included. They are fairly short. They can direct your mind to consider God’s love and gift in a new or different way.

If poetry is not your thing, you probably won’t get as much enjoyment out of these two books. If, however, you find poetry interesting and bringing a fresh perspective to thoughts, concepts, and ideas, these books will be right up your alley.

I found that the writings that took a fresh, human perspective on things – though not necessarily following the biblical accounts of history – really brought some new ideas to mind. The writing on Mary and newborn Jesus really brought home just how terrifying and difficult that time must have been for Mary. The interaction between Mary and Elizabeth made me consider the trying situation they were both in and the comfort they would have been for each other.

Poetry is used to emphasize ideas and one of my favorites follows. It is from Further Still, pp 131-132.

The Poet

You are the Poet, I am the poem.
You gather my lines from sunshine and storm

Glimpses of faith, steadfast and still
To harrowing falls and stubborn self-will

Dance down Jerusalem streets
To despair beneath the weeping tree

Sometimes pleasure – sometimes pain
Sometimes they blend ’til they seem the same

Each passage of life a poignant phrase
Challenging sense in a senseless maze

Alas, and at the end of time
Rhythm will come and words will rhyme.

Paper yellowed, wrestled, and worn
Still You are my Poet … and I am Your poem.

There were several favorites in Things Pondered. These include Seasons (p 108) and My Every One (p 135-136). Heroes was a stunning look at “heroes” of the Bible but the focus was on who was their hero. Time and again I found myself considering how wonderful each of the poems were.

As I find I have to do with writing from those who are Christian and part of a denomination, I need to warn of a place to be wary. There is a part where what denominations refer to as “the sinner’s prayer” is discussed. While much of the writing about this is in line with God’s word, the Bible includes much more in the plan of salvation than just saying a prayer in your heart. Please read and study the Bible with someone who understands that the plan of salvation is not found in a single, independent verse of the Bible. It is covered in many place and includes hearing the word of God, believing that word and that Jesus is the son of God, repenting of your sins (and this includes changing your ways), confessing your belief out loud to others, and being baptized for the remission of your sins. This is how you come into contact with the blood of Jesus, which is the only thing that can save your from your sins and the consequences of that sin. I would be happy to chat with you about this if you would like to. Please contact me.

These books are both very good. They are not study tools for the Bible, which sort of surprised me since I got them at a time when Beth Moore was sharing all of her Bible studies. But, they can bring a different perspective, causing you to pull out your Bible and read what God actually says in the historical account that fueled the poetry and stories written down by Beth Moore. I did enjoy these and there is much to be gleaned from them if you “pick out the meat and ignore the bones.”

Don’t forget to visit the others who are participating in the online book club. You can find them at the following blogs:

Hopkins Homeschool
Life on Chickadee Lane
School Days
At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
Let’s Get Real
Homeschool Coffee Break
Tots and Me
Bossy Homeschool Mom

Lori, At Home.

Romantic to Victorian Age Poetry Set ~ a Crew review

Poetry set from Memoria Press

My middle daughter really enjoys poetry. Finding her often reading or writing poetry, this review seemed a natural extension of her interest. Memoria Press has sent us the study set for Poetry Book Three: The Romantic to the Victorian Age Set.

Miss L has been working with this set, which included the poetry anthology, the Student Book, and the Teacher’s Guide. In addition, we have needed a notebook for which we are using a simple composition notebook. Each of these pieces are indeed necessary for the study as designed by David M. Wright.

poetry study anthology

The poetry anthology is The British Tradition: Book Three – The Romantic to the Victorian Age (1785-1901 A.D.). It is a comfortable softback book that is about 9×7 inches. It is broken up into two sections – the Romantic Era and the Victorian Era. Each section begins with an introduction to the era and its poets. The Romantic Era covers eight poets, including Robert Burns, John Keats, Thomas Grey, William Wordsworth to name a few. Many of the poems are well recognized, such as Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Ode on a Grecian Urn. The Victorian Era includes poets such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, and Emily Bronte. The poetry includes well known selections such The Charge of the Light Brigade, Sonnet 43 (by Elizabeth Barrett Browning), and The Land of Counterpane. The anthology is solely a book of poetry, plus the introductions. It is beautiful with black and white illustrations on almost every page. This book alone would be a lovely poetry book to add to any collection.

Poetry anthology for Memoria Press Poetry Set


The anthology works in conjunction with the student book Poetry Book Three: The Romantic to the Victorian Age Student Guide, Second Edition. This book is not consumable and guides the student through each poem with questions, discussions, vocabulary, and background information. The poems mostly follow the same pattern of four stages – Pre-Grammar/Preparation, Grammar/Presentation, Logic/Dialectic, and Rhetoric/Expression.poetry study student book

  • In the Pre-Grammar/Preparation stage, one or two questions are given draw out prior knowledge and help them understand the poem.
  • The Grammar/Presentation stage presents Reading Notes and Words to be Defined. The Reading Notes generally has words that are a bit different that our common usage or facts and background that will help the student understand the poem. The Words to be Defined section is just that – words and their definitions. There are also Comprehension Questions in this section that include things like rhyme scheme, meter, the use of imagery, and other ideas.
  • The Logic/Dialectic stage Socratic Discussion Questions to force the student to dig deep into their abilities to think and reason, struggling with abstract thoughts.
  • The Rhetoric/Expression stage has the student summarizing the poem and focusing on the Central One Idea.

Student Book for Memoria Press Poetry Set


Not every stage was included in every poem. Especially with some of the shorter poems, the Logic and Rhetoric stages were not included.

Lastly in the Student Book, at the back, you will find a master list of the Words to be Defined, information on how to memorize a poem, and a rhetoric essay template.

poetry study teachers guide
The Student Book works hand in hand with the Teacher’s Guide. The Teacher’s Guide has the same questions and information as the Student Book. Each page has an exact copy of the Student Book with a border of the answers to each of the questions or discussion points. The back of the book also includes reproducible tests for each poet along with an answer key. The Teacher’s Guide is very handy and I would not recommend trying this program without it.

Teachers Guide for Memoria Press Poetry Set

How We Used This

We have been using the program every day. Each day, Miss L works on one or two parts of the Student Book with the current poem.

On the first day of a poem, Miss L would work through the Pre-Grammar stage, writing the answers to the guiding questions in her notebook. She would then read through the Reading Notes. Next, she wrote the Words to be Defined in her notebook along with the definitions of each. She then read the poem.

Student notebook work Memoria Press Poetry Set

On the second day, she would read the poem again and then write the answers to the Comprehension Questions in her notebook. She almost always needed some help here because there is no instruction in the book for meter or rhyme. We had to look up an online resource to help us figure out what the meters are or what the answers in the Teacher’s Guide meant for the meter.


The third day, Miss L and I would tackle the Socratic Discussion Questions. She had her Student Book and I had the Teacher’s Guide. We only had one copy of the poem, though, so it kept getting passed back and forth as we discussed ideas and words directly from the poem.

The fourth day, Miss L and I would sit together and work on the Rhetoric stage. She would write her summary in her notebook and I would give her the rest of the information. We found the Central One Idea very difficult and unclear. So, I generally just fed her the information and she would copy it down into her notebook.

As I stated, not every poem has all of the stages so sometimes, she would only spend two days on a poem.

Thoughts On The Program

The program is labeled as grade 8+. I have an advanced 7th grader working through the program and she has needed a good bit of help. She loves poetry but this program has challenged her. A lot. I definitely consider this a high school level program.

I would like to see more instructional information included. As I stated earlier, we needed to find some additional resources to help us do the basics with the program. I had no idea what “trochaic tetrameter with catalexis, with a few lines in iambic tetrameter” meant. The word scancion was unfamiliar to me but was used in almost every lesson. (It means the rhythm of a line of verse, in case you don’t know either.) The description for the program did not indicate that the poetry series needs to be completed in order; in fact, the descriptions for all of the books in the series are extremely similar. However,  these things have me questioning whether that is indeed true, as this is called Book Three.

Overall, I think this is a fabulous program when adapted for your student and her needs. We did adapt some of this, not requiring some of the writing and eliminating the Central One Idea by the time the review period had come to a conclusion. I believe we have both learned a lot about formal poetry.

We are going to further adapt this as we continue on with it. Miss L has chosen to continue with this program but our modifications will fit her a bit more personally. She will now focus on each poem for two days. The first two days of what I described above will be the study for each poem. We are dropping the Logic and Rhetoric stages for now. Perhaps we will revisit those when she is in 10th or 11th grade. For now, we are going to focus on the poems, their language, and their imagery. Miss L will really enjoy that.

We are also looking forward to studying Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning, as we will take a trip to the Browning Library here in town during those poet studies.

Want even more Memoria Press? You could also read our previous review of First Form Latin from Memoria Press or one on their Traditional Logic program. We have also used their 6th grade Literature Set and their Greek Myths program.

Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about other families using products from Memoria Press. In addition to different poetry sets, families have been reviewing phonics and Latin program. Click the banner below to head over to the Crew blog.



Working It Out (Everyday Education) ~ a TOS review


Most of the reviews that I share with you involve curriculum or other products for the giggly girls. While Working it Out: Poetry Analysis with George Herbert is definitely a study that can involve the whole family or even high school students on their own, I have been using it for my own Bible study, reading, and devotional. Everyday Education, LLC has introduced me to a fantastic Christian poet that I didn’t even know existed. It has been lovely.

kindle-with-book-coverWorking It Out is a poetry study written by Joseph Womack that focuses on the poetry of George Herbert. Herbert was a 17th century poet. He is a favorite poet of many well-known authors including C.S. Lewis. Coming from what was considered a distinguished family, being a scholar at Cambridge and a member of the English Parliament, and finally a priest in the Anglican Church, Herbert spent much time in poetry pondering and “working out” his salvation. He dealt with spiritual conflicts, many which waged in his own soul, according to his own writings. This is likely where Joseph Womack took the title of this poetry analysis course from.

The poetry of Herbert has been a very interesting read, though not easy in the least. I spent much time reading and rereading each poem before I even began to dig into the meanings and movement of thought within each one. Working It Out brings together many of Herbert’s poetry with the direction in analysis from Joseph Womack. Womack works through each of the poems in the same way.

  • Poem
  • Big Picture
  • Parts of the Picture
  • Parts of the Picture Come Together

image-of-poem-on-digital-pageAfter the analysis of the poem, there are two more sections that are a bit more focused on the devotional aspect of the poetry.

  • Reflection questions
  • Scriptures for Further Reflection

In order to gain as much as possible from each poem, I worked through them as suggested, focusing carefully on the analysis provided by Womack. I would often find myself wandering back through the poem as I read the analysis and saying “Wow. That is wonderful.”

The Poem sections is just that – the poem. The Big Picture is a short overview of what the poem is about. The Parts of the Picture is a stanza-by-stanza breakdown of what the poem is discussing, including the literary elements, devices, and techniques used. This is also where the parts that I seem to be most confused about are discussed and defined. The Parts of the Picture Come Together takes the breakdown and puts it back together, producing a more meaningful understanding of the movement of thought through the poem.

Reflection Questions and Scriptures for Further Reflection often brought a very deep and meaningful conclusion to the poem for me. More than once, this is where I had that “a-ha” moment of understanding. More than once, I had to immediately stop and email someone because that poem coupled with those scriptures felt like just what God was wanting me or someone who was hurting to hear right then.written-poetry

I have been working through approximately 2 poems per week, spending about 30 minutes per session on the poems. I say approximately 2 poems per week because some poems don’t require as much thought from me and others have required quite a bit more. If you work through this as a course and as suggested, there is plenty of material to cover a year’s worth of time. There are 51 poems in this book and it is suggested to work through one per week.

In the introduction, Janice Campbell (Everyday Education, LLC) gives a number of suggestions to make the study even more meaningful. I have taken these suggestions to heart and have definitely gotten more out of the poems that I have written out long-hand or read aloud.

Working It Out is available as either a printed book or in digital format as a PDF. It is over 200 pages and features 51 poems with analysis. You can find a sample of this poetry study at Everyday Education.


miss-l-readingThis has been a terrific blessing to me. And to Miss L. She may be 10 but she loves to read and write poetry. We have shared some of the poems in Working It Out and talked about their beauty and meaning. She did not delve into the analysis with me but more than once, she enjoyed reading some of the poetry and understood innately the beauty of Herbert’s words.

At Home.






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Be sure to read additional reviews of Working It Out, as well as Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting and Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everyday Education, by the Homeschool Review Crew. Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

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Creativity Encouraged


We love to encourage the girls to be creative. Whether it is through crafts, arts, or other means, creativity strengthens the brain and allows personal expression and out of the box thinking. These are extremely important in healthy development and critical thinking ability.

Because we believe so strongly in encouraging creativity, I was thrilled when we received an unexpected review product in the mail – Thinking Tree Journals! I had hoped to receive one but nope. We were given six to review. I am going to talk about three of them today and the others will be in an additional post next week.

These journals are just a few of the many products created by Sarah Janisse Brown and her family through their company Thinking Tree Publishing. This homeschooling family has created these journals that can be easily adapted to fit whatever need your family has. Today, I’ll be discussing the Poetry Writing Journal, the Creative Writing Journal, and the Big Sister and Little Sister Coloring Book.


Poetry Writing Journal

The official title of this one is Poetry Writing Journal- Color, Draw & Doodle: Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling. It is a soft back journal with laminated paper covers that are very study. It is approximately 9 x 12, so just bigger than a piece of notebook paper. It has white pages with black print. Each two-page spread has a page with an image to color or draw and a page with lines for writing poetry to go along with the image. There are 38 two-page spreads so quite a bit of opportunity for poetry creation and coloring/drawing.


Upon arrival at the house, this one was grabbed up by Miss L. She is 10 and absolutely adores poetry. Creating poetry is one of her very favorite things to do. She immediately sat down and wrote a poem based off of one of the images in the book. She has not colored it the image yet but the poem is just a joy to read. She has since created some others but here is her first one in the book.


Creative Writing Journal

This journal is similar in physical aspects to the poetry journal. It is just bigger than a notebook page and has a soft cover. It includes over 40 two-page spreads for writing stories. One page is an image or a place to draw and doodle images and the other is a lined page for writing a story to accompany the image. The images can be colored and so make a nice combination of image and story. This encourages creativity by giving a prompt that is still somewhat specific but yet very open to interpretation.


Miss E, age 12, grabbed this book upon opening the box of journals and immediately chose an image to spin her story off of. Her story was a joy to read and definitely reflects her personality. She wrote it and enjoyed sharing the story with the family. There are many more images to prompt stories or other writings from and I can’t wait to see what all will come of this style of writing prompts.


Big Sister and Little Sister – a Coloring Book for Two

This is one I really expected to be snapped up. The girls were really excited about it when they saw it but it has only been used once or twice since it arrived. Perhaps with all the excitement about the other journals, this one has been kind of buried. Yet, I think it will be lots of fun for the girls to enjoy together since Miss E and Miss J enjoy listening to audio books together.


This coloring books is also approximately 9×12 and is a soft cover journal. The book has plenty of two-page spreads to keep the sisters coloring together for a while, even if they did one every single day. There are over 30 sets of coloring pages with dulpicate images on both sides of the spread. Some are labeled as big sister and little sister, while others are not. Some of them are printed on both the front and back of pages but there are a number of the image sets that are printed on one side of the page only so that the sisters can color with markers if they choose to without ruining another picture that was colored. I love that thoughtfulness of detail!

My thoughts:

I truly am thankful to have these journals. They came just a couple of days before At Home Dad has shoulder surgery so they provided an easy way to continue schooling when we needed to be busy and away from home a bit more. They could easily be taken to grandma’s house during those first few days of recovery and grandma could encourage school without having to push math or science.

Creative engagement of the brain strengthens it in so many ways and it definitely encourages stretching of thinking and ideas. Allowing the girls to think differently and to express it in a variety of ways is so helpful to them and their development. Thinking differently is a definite advantage and I believe that these Thinking Tree journals are another tool that encourages the giggly girls to think in whatever way they desire. Stronger thinkers are stronger people. Thank you, Thinking Tree, for allowing us to experience some of your wonderful tools for training strong thinkers.

The next Thinking Tree post will include Travel Dreams Journal, Spelling Time, and Mom’s Fun-Schooling Handbook.

At Home.


IEW Poetry Memorization ~ a TOS review

Poetry memorization set

Not sure what to really expect from Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization or my girls’ responses to memorizing poetry, this one was a gamble to begin. It has been a gamble that has really paid off! All three girls are really enjoying this program from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) and I am seeing a tremendous amount of growth in their language and confidence.

exploring the variety of piecesIt seems everywhere we go, the girls are enjoying sharing these poems that they are memorizing with just about anyone who will listen. With such an easy to implement program that provides so much growth, I can only say I wish I knew about this earlier. I should have suspected they would love it the minute it arrived at the house. The girls grabbed the book and took turns flipping through it to read poems out loud that caught their attention. I think they spent about an hour taking turns sharing poems from the book.

We received the set for Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization that included the teacher’s manual and a set of 5 CDs, one for each of the levels of poetry learning. Also included in the set with the teacher’s manual is a bonus DVD of a presentation titled “Nurturing Competent Communicators.” As a reviewer, I also received a printed version of the Student Book. The printed student book is sold separately from the set with the teacher’s manual and CDs.

sharing poetry when we first got the book

The Poetry Memorization program is simply that – poetry memorization. Well, add in some speeches and other important excerpts for the later levels, but much of it is poetry. The program is based on much research and observation that poetry gives us examples of sophisticated language patterns and rhythms. By encouraging the memorization of these language patterns, we are increasing our student’s vocabulary and placing these sophisticated patterns in the mind. This is stretching the student’s mind and allowing for growth to occur. Bluntly put, this stretching of the mind by memorization makes the student smarter.
Poetry Memorization is a series of poems with five levels. The first four levels are all poetry. The fifth level is excerpts from speeches, including Elizabeth I, Abraham Lincoln, and Winston Churchill, and lines from some important written works such as the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution.

learning poetryThe first level is mostly fun, exciting, or silly poems. There are some that are just a few lines; others are several stanzas. The girls have loved doing these poems. Poems such as “Ooey Gooey” and “Celery” have brought fun to it while poems such as “The Vulture” and “The Yak” have actually brought discussions about the animals, times in the past, and finding places on maps. The girls are currently working on poems 9 (Miss J) and 10 (Miss E and Miss L).

The Teacher’s Manual includes all of the poems and tracking pages you need. However, we have found that the girls all enjoy having their own little poetry book. There is a page in the front of the teacher’s manual that has some download instructions on it and the purchase of the set with the teacher’s manual and the CDs gives the purchaser an e-book of the poems with an image on the page to color. We used this e-book to print off copies of all of the level one poems for the girls and put them into their own folder. Each child now has her own poetry book that she grabs when she is ready to work on a poem. **Note that these came from the download and are not copies of the student book or teacher’s manual. Both of those state that they cannot be copied.**

tracking and maintenanceAn important aspect of the memorization of poetry is to maintain those poems or excerpts once you move on to the next one. This practice is an important part of the program and I love that there are tracking pages to help you not only know where you are working now but what you need to practice so you don’t forget it. At the beginning, where we are, we practice all previous pieces each time. As you get into levels 2 and up, there is a schedule to help you continue to practice without having to take the time to review every single piece every single day.

This has been fun for us because it is a part of our schoolwork that we can do anywhere we might happen to be. We can do it in the car while driving to dance or the library. We can do it outside while enjoying a walk or just sitting. We can recite poetry while working on dinner or folding laundry. It was an easy program to add to our day because it doesn’t have to be more time sitting at a table or with a book in front of us. Having the CDs of the poems allows for the teacher to actually have a bit of time where someone else can direct the repetition, if needed.

If you would like to see a video of Miss J and Miss L reciting  pieces, please visit our YouTube channel. Miss J is reciting After the Party. Miss L is reciting My Shadow.

Jumping back to the information about memorizing actually making a student smarter: I cannot state it nearly as well as Andrew Pudewa. He does an amazing job and you will get to hear him talk about it when you purchase this set. How? Included in the teacher’s manual is a page with instructions on how to download seven bonuses. These bonuses are MP3s and include:

  • Nurturing Competent Communicators
  • Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
  • Ten Thousand Time and Then Begins Understanding
  • On Listening
  • On Speaking
  • On Reading, and
  • On Writing.

I can only say “OH MY!” These resources have stretched me farther than I ever imagined in learning about how children learn. Mr. Pudewa has an amazing ability to reach the teacher with information stated in a way that makes sense and is full of insight that I wish I had known a long time ago.

I have watched the Nurturing Competent Communicators on DVD. I sat with my Poetry Memorization teacher’s guide and highlighted parts that corresponded with the information in the front of it and wrote notes all over the pages for things that didn’t correspond but were really interesting, informative, or just plain “um . . . wow!” Just a couple of things that I have notes on:

  • You cannot judge comprehension by attentiveness.
  • You can’t get something out of a child’s brain that isn’t in there to begin with.
  • Reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns are required for a student to be successful.
  • These reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns are harder and harder to find in our society. (He has some great information about the exposures we are allowing our children to have.)
  • Listening and speaking predicate reading and writing.
  • Listening and speaking are harder to evaluate and assess while reading and writing are easier to assess.
  • Hearing happens whether you like it or not; listening has the connotation of an active and intentional choice.

I have also made it all the way through On Listening and On Speaking. There is some really good overlap (read that: necessary and needed repetition of the information shared) between these two and I imagine that repetition will continue in the next two of the series: On Reading and On Writing. I found myself wishing I’d had access to these resources years ago, while I was teaching in the public schools. These MP3s give several hours worth of listening and learning so I still have quite a ways to go. I definitely plan to continue listening to these and will rewatch the DVD, as well. IEW has given us such a treat by sharing these audio files and the DVD with us.looking at the Poetry Memorization book

This has convinced me that we need to included poetry memorization, for both their minds and their confidence. I will be doing a lot more memorization with the girls, especially since I see them thriving with it.

At Home.


We have also had the pleasure of reviewing IEW’s Phonetic Zoo. Read that review here.

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Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

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The Weaving poem shared by Corrie ten Boom

The Weaving, as popularized by Corrie ten Boom.

I first heard this lovely poem in a documentary about Corrie’s life. I don’t know if she wrote it or just shared it often. Most of what I have found claim she is the author but there is indication that she just shared it but didn’t know who wrote it.

She would show folks the underside of a weaving, which was messy with all sorts of knots and crossed threads. You could not tell what it was or even see a hint of the true beauty of the piece. But when she turned it over, there was a lovely crown, beautifully woven out of all those messy threads from the underside. We often only see the underside but God is the master weaver and will make something beautiful out of our lives if we allow him to.

The Weaving

The Weaving

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.




At Home.


Get more ideas from the Homeschool Review Crew in the 2nd edition of the Homeschool Collection.



As Veteran’s Day approaches, I thought I would share a few ideas that we incorporated last year.

In Flander’s Field poem flander's fields

I found this poem in a little printable and printed off a copy for each of the girls. They read it and then we talked about each stanza of the poem. After that, I had them answer these questions and mark their poems.

poem 2

We also pulled out a map and found the location of Flander’s Fields.

Do a search as well and see if you can find historical pictures of Flander’s Fields. Or even current pictures to compare. (We use KidRex, a search engine for kids powered by Google.)

Flanders Fields Music is a very nice website. It contains a whole set of lessons for the poem, a song, a video, lots of authentic pictures, and more.

Poppies at the Tower of London

Last year commemorated 100 years since the beginning of WWI. England spent a great portion of the year installing a memorial at the Tower of London titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”. We saw a link about it early on in the installation and watched it grow through checking back at that link. It is quite an amazing installation with 888,246 red ceramic poppies, one for each British or Colonial serviceman killed in the War. There are probably some other links for images of the memorial but here is a link to the Tower of London and to Wikipedia. The Tower of London has some interesting videos, as well.

Poppy Art

The girls were asked to create a piece of artwork to illustrate something we discussed or an emotion they felt. These are what they created.

P1120428 P1120429 P1120432

Acrostic & Coloring Page

Using the letters for the word POPPIES, the girls wrote about things they learned or that touched them in this study. Here are their acrostic puzzles.

Poppies completed acrostics

Here is a copy of the acrostic poem that you can print or save to use with your students.

Poppies Acrostic

Here, also, is a coloring page that I created for you to print or save for use with your students.

Poppy zentangle art

color page

Oral History

We also talked with the girls’ grandmother about her childhood. When she was a child, she sold poppies as a fundraiser to help an organization her family was a part of. It was fun for the girls to hear that Oral History and learn a bit more about their family. If you have someone your students can talk with, you might find out something interesting like this, as well. It is definitely worth discussing what they remember about the times of war they experienced. There is much to be learned, including an appreciation for what we have.

I hope you enjoy your poppy study and remembrance of those who have died protecting our freedoms.

At Home.



Experiencing Poetry

The theme for this month’s Poppins Book Nook is poetry. We love poetry and experience it in a variety of ways all the time. One of the giggly girls enjoys pulling poetry books off the shelf and reading them just because. She also enjoys writing poetry and her gifts always include a poem written just for you.

I never really enjoyed poetry all that much but maybe that is because I don’t know how much poetry I experienced until I was in junior high and high school and having to read the “classical” style poetry. (That being said – I remember really liking Beowulf.) I don’t think that exposure at that level is bad but if you have had a good experience with it a number of times before that, I think you’ll enjoy it a whole Stopping By Woodslot more.

Our PBN selection just happened to line up perfectly with our Five In A Row selection: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost with illustrations by Susan Jeffers. This lovely poem and accompanying illustrations opened up a whole lot of learning for the giggly girls.

One of the activities that we did in our FIAR study was to learn about poetry, rhyme, rhyme scheme, and more. We used a lovely set of posters that we have that give us examples of many different styles of poetry. We looked at them and read the example of the poem. Then we talked about what it was like: number of lines, rhyme, rhyme scheme, subject, fact or fiction, and whatever else the girls could notice about the poem. Then we read through some of the information about that poetry style. This is something we do a few times a year and it helps the girls’ awareness of the use of poetry that they come across in the bigger world.


We read through Stopping By Woods a number of times and the girls read it on their own, as well. J’s reading is coming along nicely and she was able to read a good bit of the poem without help. A good activity to do with a poem like this is to look closely at the rhyme scheme. It is actually a very interesting rhyme scheme. It is AABA in each stanza. The next stanza takes its A rhyme from the B of the previous stanza. It ties the poem together really nicely. We looked closely at that and the girls recreated it with counting crystals.poetry & pattern

We then experimented with various changes to the rhyme scheme: ABAB, ABAC, AABAB, ABACAD, etc. Each one was recreated with counting crystals to show comprehension. (Also – you get a math cross-curricular tie-in here.)

After that, the girls created their own rhyme scheme and wrote a poem to fit their rhyme scheme.

L poem

This was a fun day in our studies. If you are looking for further activities to do with Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening, check out our FIAR post about this book. There was so much to do with it!

And, as a final note, this will be our last post a co-hosts of the Poppins Book Nook. It has been a fun year but with all the changes that we naturally go through in a year, being a co-host of PBN is just not right for us for the next cycle of the PBN. It has been a fun year and the themes mixed things up for us some. Thanks Poppins Book Nook!


Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015

Clip art by MelonHeadz

If you want additional ideas for this month’s theme, please visit Enchanted Homeschooling Mom and the other co-hosts of Poppins Book Nook.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~Simple Living Mama

Talking about Mammoths, part 2

mammoths part 2

We did a few things relating to the mammoths this week. (See the post on our field trip.) But, I was not in a terribly creative mood, I guess, because I had some real trouble thinking up some ideas. So, after we had used the files from the Waco Mammoth Site, I went with a bit broader category: fossils.

The Waco Mammoth Site has a lot of educational printables for various age groups. I went through and picked out a few for each of the girls that I felt would appropriately challenge or review materials. Here are the ones the girls did.

mammoth L mammoths E mammoths J


On E and L’s scientific name worksheet, it had them create their own animal using scientific names and draw it. After they had done that, I had them brainstorm ideas about what happened to their animal and more specific details about their animal. They had to come up with a lot of words about their animals. Once we had a white board full, each girl was asked to create a story or a poem or a written account of their animal. I don’t have copies of those finished products but the girls enjoyed that writing assignment.

On another day, we explored fossils. We got down all of the fossils that we have tucked away. E and L got down on the floor (so that dropped fossils would be less likely to break and the floor would be less likely to be damaged) and touched, examined, talked about, felt, and explored the fossils we have. We have various real fossils and then we have a few that were made by pressing a shell or other natural object into plaster of paris or air dry clay. The girls spent probably 45 minutes discussing and talking about all of the fossils.

mammoths shark teeth mammoths fossils

After their chatter began dying down, I handed them a worksheet I had created and asked them to each choose one fossil to complete the worksheet on. This included a measuring activity in both inches and centimeters. There was a box to describe, factually, what the fossil was like. They were encouraged to describe it with as many of their senses as they could, as well as anything specific they could observe about it. There was place for them to draw their fossil. One box had them describing where their fossil might have been found. And a final box had them describing what the fossil might be from and why. They were also asked to color-code their page: blue for facts and yellow for opinion/theory/hypothesis.

mammoths fossil sheet

It surprised me that the girls were excited to complete these. E actually asked to complete two of these, so I let her. They also choose to sit down together and share their findings.

mammoths sharing

After these were completed, we got out our posters on poetry styles. We reviewed poetry styles, including limericks, lyrical poems, cinquain, and more. They each chose one style of poetry to use and wrote a poem about their fossil. L’s favorite style is always lyrical; she loves rhymes and descriptive phrases and long, flowy sentences. E’s favorite style is almost always cinquain. Here is their poetry.

mammoths E poems mammoths L poem
I am linking below to the information page the girls filled out. You are welcome to use this and share it but please link back to this post when you are sharing it.

Fossil worksheet

Our mammoth and fossil study has been fun. I have a couple of other ideas that I would like to do but we’ll see if they happen or not! Please share with me if you study mammoths or fossils or something related. I’d love to know what you do. At Home.


Will You Be Mine? – Resources for February

Feb Resources title

I cannot believe that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Who said life could move this fast?

In light of that realization, I figured I had better get some resources together so that we can have a fun Valentine’s day, talk about Groundhog Day, and review what we know about some of our presidents. February is packed full of learning opportunities and when you throw in the fact that the 2014 Winter Olympics are going on this month, it is hard to decide what to cover and where to spend your energies.

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

We will be doing a large unit on the Sochi Winter Olympics. They are not an every day occurrence and there is so much to be learned that we cannot squander this opportunity. For more on the plans we have made for the Winter Olympics unit, see my posts about the resources we will be using and the Opening Ceremony scavenger hunt.

Groundhog Day

I don’t think we will spend much time on Groundhog Day but we will definitely talk about it. Our resources and activities for it include:

After these activities and books, we will doing some writing. I will be giving the girls the choice to write either a poem or a story about groundhogs the includes some of the facts they learn about groundhogs and Groundhog Day.

President’s Day

President’s Day, Lincoln’s birthday, and Washington’s birthday all occur during the month. We are somewhat fascinated with Abraham Lincoln in our house (or at least I am). We will do a short unit on the presidents and it will be about more than Washington and Lincoln.

  • book Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers  by Karen B. Winnick
  • book George Washington’s World by Genevieve Foster
  • book Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner
  • book Where Lincoln Walked by Raymond Bial – we’ll be using the parts related to the different presidents
  • view pictures and information on the presidential monuments in Washington DC (both personal photos and at the National Park Service)
  • Animaniacs video on the presidents
  • photo of the presidential stamps that we have in the girls’ hallway
  • information on Mount Rushmore from the National Park Service, including the kids’ information sheets that can be downloaded

We will be doing some different activities, including timelines, biography readings, writing a “Did you know…” about a president, and a math project with Mount Rushmore and geometry. Also, we will do lots of geography with these, marking our 50 states maps each time we come across a site related to a president.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is going to be fun. We are participating in a Valentine swap with other homeschoolers across the country. The girls will be making their valentines so I have been collecting all sorts of crafty items for them to create with. We love jokes so the girls will be using jokes in their valentines this year. We will use this opportunity to reinforce the geography of the United States, which we have been studying in our 50 States project (a post on this is coming later). They can mark the addresses of the other kids they are sending valentines to on our large map that they made. They can label the part of the country the address is in and then graph it, too.

Other resources include

  • This Is How I Know God Love Me free printable
  • I want to create something like this sign for our house that emphasizes God’s love for us
  • I will be using the idea from Not Consumed to do a heart search, each printed with a scripture focusing on God’s love
  • We will be creating these Paper Bag Valentines blogged at Or So She Says for the copywork the girls will be doing related to our study of God’s love
  • I really like the idea found at Afterschool for Smarty Pants that has to do with drawing the parts of your heart. I was thinking we could use the idea and put in the things that we know God loves about us.
  • There is also the possibility of doing the same sort of thing with torn paper and calling it the Pieces of My Heart.
  • I plan on putting something like this printable (7 Things I Love About You) by Buttoned Up out for each of the girls on Valentine’s Day.

Here are the majority of the resources and ideas that we will be referencing during the units we are planning for the month of February. Enjoy and then come back and let me know what you are planning for the month of February. At Home.

Wanting even more ideas? Visit my fellow members of the Review Crew and find out what resources they are using this month. Just click on the photo below to head over to the list of the participating bloggers. (This link will be live on February 5, 2014.)

 Valentine's Day RoundUp

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