A Treasure for CM’ers

I’ve just discovered a lovely Charlotte Mason-inspired blog

All Things Bright and Beautiful

, a mother of 11, grandma to three, keeps a country household and teaches her precious children


“Friends have sometimes said to me, I’d love to do picture study and classical music and poetry with my children, but I just never find the time.  If you find yourself in this position and would like to share these things with your children but just don’t know where to begin or don’t have the time to prepare, or maybe you’d just like a little culture in your life but don’t have time to pursue it on your own this blog is a gift for you.

I enjoy sharing classical music, art and poetry with my children and wanted to invite others to share the wonder and beauty of what we are discovering together. 

I hope to post regularly – hopefully weekly so you can use these in your home school if you would like.  We will look at one artist’s work for a few weeks in a row and one composer’s work and a poet in that way, also.”

Her selections are truly beautiful and inspiring.

Here’s an example from this week’s post ~

Picture Study

Joseph Farquaharson’s “A Winter’s Morning”

A Winters Morning - Joseph Farquharson

All her pictures are on public domain and you may make copies for your children.

For Music

Beautiful and peaceful guitar music of Ferdinando Carulli – today’s piece is Etude  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0btBVhYx3E


Patti featured  Amy Carmichael this month and posted “Let Us Look Up

So, for new CM moms, Patti has made your fine arts studies easy.  Just pop over and visit her blog and enjoy all her bright and beautiful things.


Playing with Poetry

Illustration from The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Image via Wikipedia

Fridays are Fine Arts Days

when we do our Famous Musician composer study and our Famous Impressionist Artist of the month.  It is also the day we do poetry!

It is a inspiring and fun  activity we all look forward to!

I usually schedule one poem each week.

Sometimes it is one good, long story poem which  the kids soak in …

like …

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, which my kids really loved.  We recited some parts with dramatic expression (tried to do it like Ann of Ann of Green Gables).

Illustration from The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Image via Wikipedia

They also loved The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning (all XV parts!)

The Listeners by Walter de la Mare was dramatic!  My youngest loved to illustrate this poem!

And every child has to listen to Hiawatha’s Childhood by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

And remember how we created Lego diorama for The Lady of Shalot by Lord Alfred Tennyson?

But we often end up covering several short, fun and nonsense poems in one sitting like …

Mr Nobody Anon

Colonel Fazackerley  by Charles Causely

The Owl and The Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear

The famous nonsense poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Carol

We love the play of words and their meanings, the sounds and rhythms of words, the rhymes and the ideas.  These fun and nonsense poems declare,

“You can do this too!”

And that’s how we have done poetry the last while.

We make our own versions of the poems!

We illustrated or painted our poems.

We dramatized the poem and even made finger puppets.

We created a tunnel book pictures of The Door by Miroslav Holub.

We each created our own versions of Cardinal Ideograms by May Swenson.

Not only did my 11-year-old-I-can’t-write-poems child write extremely clever concepts for each number shape, but she wrote them all about her beloved cat!  A Cat Cardinal Ideograms!

My youngest 9-year-old became quiet and thoughtful and came up with these original ideograms:

And, while they were creative, I joined in and created these Ideograms:I’m excited that we are playing with poetry.  I love that we love to play and work with words! I love that we  have moved from reluctant writers to creative poets!  Poetry inspires, and I hope that each child discovers their unique gift with words.

I use a compilation called The Works 7 – Classic Poems for the Literacy Hour by Brian Moses which I bought cheaply at Bargain Books Store.

The other anthology is our Sonlight poetry book, The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems edited by Donald Hall.

Use whatever you have on hand or find at the library and enjoy poetry with your children!


April is Poetry Month!

William Blake's "The Tyger," publish...

Image via Wikipedia

Celebrate with Poetry in Our Pockets on 14th April

I thought I would share how we do our poetry …

I wish I could say that we …

  • read our scheduled poems every week
  • learn classic poems word for word
  • recite poems
  • write poems
  • love poetry lessons

… But we don’t.

There.  I’ve admitted it.

I only tend to focus on poetry once or twice a month.  We sometimes make tea, or go outside and sit under the tree and read the 3 or 4 poems from our schedule.  It is usually a special, but relaxed time.

I usually announce the title and read through the poem once to give an overview.  I may tell them a bit about the poet or the theme.   Sometimes they can tell me what the poem is about and can describe the general story or imagery. Sometimes my kids “don’t get it.”

Then I read the poem again slowly and stop here and there to explain words, lines and verses as I go.

We chat about the poem and talk about word play, rhyming scheme, images, metaphors, themes, and so on.

Then we read it through once more.

If the poem “clicks” and it inspires us, we may try memorize it, but usually they may each read it aloud.

Often we write our own similar poems.  We usually copy the patterns, structure and rhyming of the original poem.  We use our own thoughts and words and the poems often come out surprisingly well.

Miss.L (8) wrote her own words for verses 3,4,5

A fun poem written to the challenge to find rhyming words for "Orange"

My children may not love poetry … yet … but we really appreciate poetry.

Some random notes to myself:

  • Use a good anthology with lots of different types of poetry and themes
  • Keep poetry reading fun, light, enjoyable
  • Do not over-emphasize technicalities
  • Savour great poems and linger on it till we’ve enjoyed it fully
  • Keep it simple. One good poem is enough.  Full Stop.
  • Let them make the poem theirs – identify their feelings and responses to it.
  • Give them time to mature and enjoy poetry
  • Select poems suitable for their age and maturity
  • Have some fun and nonsense poems in the mix
  • Read poems that are stories and take them on a journey
  • Dramatize, illustrate, dance, make music to poems
  • Play with words in everyday speaking
  • Develop creative thinking and word associations
  • Add riddles and song lyrics to listening times
  • Children differ and not all love abstract words
  • Out there among the millions of poems is “The One” that will spark interest and love for words
  • Writing good poetry is an art.
  • There is no need to write good poetry to appreciate good poetry

My goals for homeschooling my children is to ~

expose them to great ideas,

great minds,

great literature,

and develop their love for fine arts,

love nature,

teach them to hear God’s voice

and respond.

Poetry does all this!

Hope you take time this month to enjoy poetry.

For extra inspiration:

What was the first poem to spark your love for poetry?


A Beautiful Home Atmosphere

I have 3 daughters and they all love to create a beautiful atmosphere in our home.

They bring in flowers from their nature walks and meanders through the farm, and I love the special little handfuls of wild flowers that nestle in little glass vases on windowsills.

They help set tables and create flower arrangements for the living room and guests bedrooms.

Tea times outside are a special pastime.  Sometimes the girls and their friends bake something, set out tea with pretty linen and invite us to join them under the trees.

Sometimes we have tea and poetry.  We read, discuss, recite and enjoy several poems and drink tea out of our special tea set instead of our usual mugs.

When we clean house together, they love to select lively music and we “dance” through the sweeping, mopping and dusting.  But we also love to listen to classical music while we craft or cook.  My youngest children love their music appreciation log pages for our music appreciation lessons.  At the moment Vivaldi’s Four Seasons plays in the background.  This year I took the plunge and subscribed to Naxos for our classical music appreciation and I enjoy access the seemingly endless classical music.

Art appreciation is another source of beauty in our home.  We use our kitchen cupboard as our art gallery.  Sketch Tuesday paintings and art appreciation pictures fill the doors as the term progresses.  Currently our Gauguin pictures of M Loulou stand out with their bright colours and contrasts.

The girls love to sew, make stunning cards and create lovely homemade gifts.  They love to light candles and set attractive tables for dinner time.

But beauty is not all a girl thing!

Charlotte Mason inspires me to encourage the family in the love of nature, great literature, living books, great art and classical music.  Her philosophy teaches us how to appreciate real beauty.

As a Christian mother, I am constantly conscious of cultivating the beauty within each of us.

Jesus’ Beauty.

His character.

And again, Charlotte Mason reminds me to train habits.

God’s word teaches me to instruct and train my children in His ways.

Often I fail here.

There are days where ugly sprawls out, when tears falls, words hurt.

When we want to be and do Beautiful, but don’t.  Can’t.

We all fail to stay in Beauty.

I pray more fervently, because this hidden work is not mine to create.

May He take away more of me and fill me with more of Him.

When Jesus fills our hearts and spills out in words and deeds, our home atmosphere becomes truly beautiful.

May our lives be like wild flowers,

like inspiring art,

like soothing music,

like tea in pretty cups.

A beautiful atmosphere.


Tea and Poetry

Tea table set beautifully!

Tea table set beautifully!

Miss. K and Miss. L have just called me to Tea and Poetry! They set the table, picked some flowers and made the tea.  They chose to have tea inside because it was too cold to go outside.  We talked about tea etiquette and tea making.  (They had made mine too weak!)

We sipped our tea and listened to poems I selected to read aloud on a certain theme.  We chose some to discuss and repeat.  We realized that we all loved different word pictures in these poems.  These poems reminded us to look at the world with a ‘word-painter’s-eye’ and be more descriptive in our own writing.

Charlotte Mason encourages parents to “put children in contact with the minds of thinkers.

Poetry engages our imagination and feeds our minds. So, next time you have a tea-break, make it special and have Poetry and Tea!