Monday, November 8, 2010

Poetic License

Tonight I read another blogger's post about how important writing is for students. I agree that writing is critical to modern life, particularly in this electronic age. When I speak about the subject at various schools, I tend to point out that employers are far less likely to hire someone who can't even fill out a job application legibly.

The blogger notes that she is particularly concerned about homeschoolers' writing habits because, she believes, they may not get enough practice. I can't speak for other homeschoolers, but I can tell you that while our girls don't get writing critiqued every day, they tend to write something each day and we talk about form, spelling and style as the opportunity arises. In addition, they practice their spelling skills through impromptu spelling bees as well as quizzes on words found repeatedly misspelled in their writings.

V has particularly taken to writing chapter books, though her chapters are short and her spelling still atrocious. What her spelling may lack (and maybe it surpasses her grade level - depends on the day) she makes up for in vocabulary. In fact, both girls amaze me with their knowledge of the English language. (Words that popped up this morning during a discussion of various paintings we viewed together included: customary, engulfing, sufficient, conveyed, elation, ecstatic, disconsolate, blithe. For Pete's sake...DISCONSOLATE and BLITHE!)

I attribute it largely to their self-imposed heavy reading schedules and their fearlessness when it comes to page count. (While we were in the Lihue Airport, a woman sitting across the terminal from us caught my eye, pointed at E, indicated "Wow! That's a really big book" with sign language and big, round eyeballs, then gave me a thumbs up before returning to her own book.) I also blame authors like Brandon Mull ("Fablehaven") and Dale E. Basye ("Heck") who refuse to dumb down the vocabulary in these modern times. (Thanks, guys!)

Today, we focused our writing on our poetry studies (also noted here and here), which includes both creating our own poems and analyzing and writing about other people's poetry. Today's poetic form of choice was the ode, a celebration of a person, place, or thing through verse that doesn't necessarily rhyme, nor follow many of the other typical poetic forms. It needs to have rhythm, a lose meter perhaps, but mostly heart.

Here are the girls' contributions. I'd love to see yours! (Please post in the comments section below.)

Ode to Pencils, by E. Best
Sitting on desk,
table or chair,
'til someone wants to write something.
Ever patient.
Often lost.

Ode to My Unigraph Pencil, by V. Best
The wooden stick,
a small bit of old wood
with a tint of carpet green.
Toward the end of the year
it becomes
a stub.


  1. Ode to My Family - By Kristi M.

    As diverse within ourselves
    as an entire country
    Each one of us
    interested in such very different things
    All of us focused and driven
    toward a number of incredible goals
    Yet, forever joined and linked together
    by the amazing force of love.

  2. When I was young (back in the day that I exuded the fresh pine scent of promise), I would jot down unfamiliar words while reading. Rarely did my not-knowing a word impede the flow of the story, as I was an accomplished gist-getter. Afterwards, I would look up these mysterious clusters of letters and my world would widen ever so slightly. When writing the Heck books, I assume my readers will do the same. Why not help stock their vocabularies with brave new words? Why assume kids are the twitchy, attention-deficit-addled creatures the media makes them out to be? Or not to be? That is the question.

  3. Ode to my Kittie -- By Kathy P.

    Orange and white
    All curled up
    Very content
    Laying quietly in the sun
    On her pink pillow
    The shape of a heart
    How I love my Kittie.

  4. WOW! The author of "Heck," "Rapacia" and "Blimpo" responded to my blog post! WOW! Awesome. I'm so glad he saw my kudos. Now, bring on "Fibble." We're ready! :)


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