A bit of Robert Frost inspiration

This year, part of family school involves reciting and analyzing one poem all week.  Sunday nights, I write a poem by an American poet on our chalkboard, pairing our poetry study with our American history studies.

Typically, the children write the poem in their Engish notebooks that Sunday night.  Each morning of the following week, they are forced to listen to me or a sibling recite the poem and engage in a a wee bit of poetry analysis.  I try to keep it short and interesting.  Some mornings, we just read it and move on, leaving them with wrinkled brows and questions on their lips, teasing their thoughts and allowing them to wonder, to ponder.  Other mornings, we spend 5 minutes or so discussing meaning, symbolism, metaphor, rhythms, word choice.  Occasionally, we get carried away and spend 20 minutes discussing — so much for keeping it short!

Two of the 4 kids are jumping into poetry analysis with both feet and loving it.  One child seems oblivious more than half the time.  Even the poetry-hater is beginning to appreciate the power of words and how they can be used well to convey feeling and to persuade.  So overall, I am thrilled with how our poetry studies are progressing.

Homeschool moms everywhere can readily attest to the fact that student progress isn’t always apparent and that sometimes we just plug away, hoping that the messages we are trying to convey actually reach their destination.  So I figure when success happens around here, I had better record it, to bolster me for the harder days when teaching feels more of a struggle.

This week, the child who seems oblivious or bored or both during much of poetry time showed me a poem she wrote in her English notebook.  This was not an assignment.  It was completely her idea, her initiative — which is a key goal of my teaching!  Yay!

Her inspiration?

The poem “Dust of Snow” by Robert Frost that we studied many weeks ago.

The way a

mommy doesn’t

let you have chocolate

that might be wise

I’ll tell you why.


If you had some

today and a lot

you might get sick

so you’ve been taught.


So if she says

No again. Don’t sin.

Just hug and smile

it just takes awhile.


–Prairie Mandolyn Gaskins

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