Poetry is one subject that scares me to teach! I don’t like it either but I do think it’s important for my kiddos. Why, because it will increase their literacy and linguistic awareness and I believe it will increase their critical analysis skills as well, plus it can be a good way for my kids to express their selves in a creative way.
Progeny Press sent us their interactive E-Guide. Being able to type in the answers is always a lot more fun than having to write them down. With that said we didn’t use that aspect because we are completing the lessons together.
Progeny Press: Forms and Elements poetry course is different from other programs in that it takes a different approach than most poetry programs. Instead of teaching poetry from a historical perspective Progeny Press focuses with teaching what is known as Compressed Language. Compressed Language simply means that it says a lot but with few words.
Because the words are ‘compressed’ many students (including myself, ouch!) just skim over and call it done. Compressed words or language, meaning not a lot of words but but it says a lot.
Progeny Press gets the job done by taking a topical approach to study poetry. I love that this program doesn’t start with Beowulf or The Iliad. Talk about an overwhelming way to start a poetry program.
Instead Progeny Press teaches elements and selected forms.
Thankfully instead Progeny Press doesn’t take the ‘historical’ approach either (although it does tie in history by having the student fill in a timeline). The first lesson starts with two much shorter poems (happy mama & son) like About Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (yay, we like Mr. Frost).
The 72 page E-Guide with the Answer Key included (got to have an answer key for this mama) has 3 parts.
Part One teaches Types of Poetry which covers Narrative Poems, Lyric Poems (our favorite), and Dramatic Poems.
Part Two your child will learn the Elements of Poetry: Lines, Words, Sounds, Rhyme, Meter, Imagery, Analogy, and Tone.
Part Three you’ll move on to Forms of Poetry: The Sonnet, Villanelle, Blank Verse, The Haiku, Ballad, Limerick, Terza Rima, Parody, and Free Verse. With some of these names I was like, “Huh? Terza Rima, Parody?”
Progeny Press makes teaching poetry super easy for mom. I’m not a poetry kind of gal (unfortunately but that may change!) so having something like this is a huge help.
Each lesson starts with introducing the particular element, next are the exercises. This is where you read a poem and interact with it. I love having my kids mark up books by writing down their questions, underline words they don’t know what they mean and so forth.
I love how some of the exercise questions refer to Bible verses. For instance one question (in the Meter lesson): Read the Biblical account of Sennacherib in 2 Kings 18 & 19. Before his final battle, what had Sennacherib don?” and another from the same lesson, “If this poem provided your only knowledge of Sennacherib’s downfall, how might you assume the he died? According to 2 Kings 19:37, how does Sennacherib die?”
The only thing you need to add to the Progeny Press Poetry course is 101 Great American Poems, Great Short Poems, and 100 Best-Loved Pomes.
Using Progeny Press at Homeschooling6: I used this program with Caleb my 9th grade son. Because he struggles some with reading we completed all the lessons together. I also thought by doing this together it would make it more enjoyable for Caleb and he’d retain more information.
We used the poetry program three times a week. I read each lesson and the poem. After I read the poem he would read it out loud to me. Then we’d look over the questions and I’d let him answer orally.
As we read the poem together we would circle or underline words we were not sure of the meaning. We’d also mark anything that the program suggested we should. I like that the program encourages marking in the book. I believe it really gives the child a sense of ownership and helps with studying the poems.
We spent about 30-40 minutes on poetry. Sometimes there were Bible verses to look up, so those days did take a bit longer.
Final thoughts: I think this is a great poetry course. Progeny Press did a wonderful job with making the program enjoyable. It’s not boring and Caleb actually likes it. It’s not his favorite subject but to get a, “Thanks mom for teaching poetry”, well that counts for something!
If you get stuck not knowing the answer (like I did a few times) no worries because there is an Answer Key which is a must for this homeschooling mama of 6!
Although we didn't use the interactive part of the guide I think it's a great feature for many. Especially with so much going digital.