Poetry and the Principle Approach®

Somewhere along the line, regular poetry readings slipped away in our family. Recently, I felt the desire arise within to make time for this.

Does poetry have a special place in your education and that of your children’s? Are you aware that a large percentage of the Bible is written in poetic form? It seems that there is something special about it that Yahweh has purposed.

Won’t you explore the possibilities with me and what it’s like to apply the Principle Approach® method to Poetry?

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God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had the realization that poetry holds a special place to our Heavenly Father. Teaching and learning poetry helps us and our children to develop an ear for the music and sound of words.

I think we must be naturally wired for music, especially since we are created to glorify God. We see many examples in Scripture that a rising in the heart to praise God in music and song is produced within his people because of thankfulness and love (Psalm 71:23; Psalm 95:1; and Psalm 105:2 for a few examples).

That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.

How often are we singing songs to our Heavenly Father that touch our hearts? Songs that meditate on his word, bringing us to reflection and repentance? Joy and thanksgiving? The wonder at his creation and marvelous works?

I appreciate what the Noah Plan® Literature Guide has to say:

The effective expression of the beautiful and the true is governed by the Word of God. Is the poem a violation of God’s commands- of the letter or the spirit of the Word? Does it encourage the love of God? Is it in good taste? Taste, is according to Noah Webster, “the faculty of discerning beauty, order, congruity, proportion, symmetry, or whatever constitutes excellence, particularly in the fine arts and belles letters.” And finally, is it rhythmical? Does it convey the “music of the spheres,” or the order of God’s universe, governed by unchanging laws which have a rhythm to them though multifarious in expression? p. 108-109

I love how this causes us to not only consider what is “beautiful and true” according to Scripture, but it also gives one pause to consider the musical aspect of poetry and how we can develop an ear for it by the use of language and by the ensemble of creation.

When considering poetry, we can think of music, poesy, and rime. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines music as: The art of combining sounds in a manner to please the ear. Order; harmony in revolutions; as the music of the spheres. Poesy is defined as: The art or skill of composing poems; as, the heavenly gift of poesy. Poetry; metrical composition. Rime is defined as: In poetry, the correspondence of sounds in the terminating words or syllables of two verses, one of which succeeds the other immediately, or at no great distance.

Recognizing this in language is easily identifiable… but what about in creation? How can we not only show our children that poetry originates with God as seen in His inspired written word, but also in the beauty of the earth that is His? You can step outside your door in the quiet of the morning or go for a walk in the woods and listen carefully with your children to the sounds of Yahweh’s creation, for starters.

I’m going to start our new school year journey off with Poetry and Tea Tuesdays, like we used to do. Realistically, for my family, this will more than likely end up being a once monthly or twice monthly endeavor.  I plan on beginning with re-exploring the individuality of patterns and rhythm as we relax and listen to the music He has given us to enjoy in His “great book of nature.” If you’d like to make this a part of your homeschool journey too, you’re welcome to download the free Principle Approach® lesson and notebook pages to use in your homeschool. They can be found in the free Caterpillar Member’s Area at the link for Principled Academy Notes.

What are some ways that your family enjoys learning poetry? Won’t you share in a comment below?


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2 thoughts on “Poetry and the Principle Approach®

  • We also didn’t do well at studying a little poetry each year so finally in 4th grade we devoted a lot of time to studying all the poetry we missed the first few years. I loved it and have a notebook dedicated to poetry.

    • Hi Gina, I love your idea of dedicating a notebook to poetry. I’m jotting this down and considering studying a lot of poetry over the course of next summer. Thank you for the inspiration! 🙂

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