We’re appreciating The Man from Snowy River by A.B. (Banjo) Paterson. This is the second time through this piece of poetry as we went through it with the girls…and now I get to indulge again with the boys.
Poetry appreciation is a very gentle affair in our household. I thought I’d share what we do and how we do it. I used to try and connect all the dots for my children and we’d almost do a mini unit study on the poem and poet but I simply lack the energy needed to do this anymore.I realise this poem is fairly lengthy but I sensed the boys would be up for it. hey, they’re boys. They love a challenge!
Over a hot chocolate I ask the boys if they remembered reading this poem many years ago. Nope! They’d forgotten. (I nod my head in an effort to hide the sigh) I ask if they remembered watching the movies, of which we own the classic editions because it is such a *family* favourite. Ha! Nope! They didn’t remember that either. Oi voi, what am I doing? While trying not to choke on my cappuccino I gently explain that we are going to look at this piece of work for a few weeks. Hmm, I was met with quizzical looks. A few weeks on one poem?
In between sips of cappuccino I simply read it aloud.
Then I explain that after a few weeks, I’d like each boy to be able to recite the poem aloud. Oh, now they’re showing signs of interest- or do they realise that they will be very embarrassed if they don’t put in some effort?
I read the first stanza aloud again. And then I went through it line by line, explaining a few (not all unknown words though. I want to keep a little bit of mystery and challenge) words and terms that they didn’t know. Ah, now a bit more interest is being shown.
I asked each boy to have a go at reading the first stanza out loud. For the zillionth time I explain how to project one’s voice, which is different to yelling. Hmm, it would be fair to say that they struggle through the first reading. Nevertheless I offer encouragement and tell them that next time they read it will be easier. And it is.
The next day I read the first two stanza’s aloud. Now, it’s their turn. They breeze through the first stanza and fumbled a little with the second. This is quite typical. By the third day, they read the first two stanza’s beautifully…little by little.
The boys write out one stanza each day (cough cough: when we get around to it) for copywork. They learn about the structure of the poem, spelling, rhythm and new terms.
:coffee: Another day, another hot chocolate. :coffee: (Hmmm, there’s a theme here, revolving around coffee n chocolate) I read the poem out loud again, because we just enjoy it so much! But this time I pause at certain places and expect them to jump in with the rest of it. Sure enough, they do. The words in brackets are the words I’d pause at and the boys would jump in, excitedly.
There was [Harrison,] who made his pile when [Pardon won the cup,]
The old man with his [hair as white as snow;]
But [few could ride beside him] when his blood was [fairly up -]
He would go wherever [horse and man] could go.
The next reading this won’t work as well as they will be able to recite the poem from memory. Sometimes I will just read the first word of the line out – that’s enough to jog their memory. It’s fun. The boys get to jump up and down and shout out. What’s not to like if you’re a boy?
Next week sometime, we will nestle down with blankets and chocolate and watch the movie…again. 🙂 Oh, the things a homeschool mama must do eh?
Also, in the near future I will have them do a biographical outline of the author. We’ll use a standard sheet similar to the Author Outline that can be found in my download section. Tomorrow I’ll share on other ways that I multi task using poetry. (Okay, some might call it cross curricula activities but I call it multi tasking- makes me feel efficient). There are so many wonderful ideas and ways to approach poetry, but for me, many of those ideas are simply overwhelming. The way we approach it has evolved over the years: now being gentle and natural…as natural as it can be considering that I’m not overly well educated in this area. However, I can still try to cultivate a love, or at least an appreciation of poetry.
Are you reading or enjoying any poems at the moment? Which ones? I’d love to hear about it.