Today Alex wrote a poem which I am going to share with you in a minute. The real reason I am sharing the poem, besides the fact that I kind of like it, is that it illustrates how atmosphere and relation work in a Charlotte Mason education.
We read a lot of poetry. Always have. We often break down poems into their rhyme schemes just for the fun of it. We read and discuss, on different levels, poetry every day. I have rarely ever assigned the writing of a poem. I can really only remember once during a Shakespeare class. The children each had to write an English sonnet. It is not that it is not valuable to assign a student to write a poem, we all learned a lot through that exercise, me included; imitation is good and it works but I am not one to beat a dead horse.
Over the years, naturally, my children have written poems. They have written them because they wanted to and I find that comforting. It is a better sign that their education is working than if they had written the most wonderful poem ever because they were assigned that poem at least as far as judging their learning.
I talk a lot about the long haul. I talk a lot about waiting for fruit. It is always comforting to find out that there are buds on the trees.
Here is the poem Alex wrote on the white board while waiting for Morning Time. It is not profound but there is something profound about it. You can see a few glimpses of the sophisticated understanding of language that comes from this sort of education. It caught me by surprise because Alex is not a sophisticated boy. He is a boy who loves to play baseball and talk sports. He is not mature for his age. He is still a little boy, although I know we are in the Indian summer of his boyhood.
I did not correct this at all. The spelling and punctuation are his. Note he added the rhyme scheme as he went.
A leaf falls, (A)
A Child bawls, (A)
Summer's over, (B)
The Drunkard's sober. (B)
Next is winter, (C)
Bitter and cold. (D)
Like a splinter, (C)
Bloody and bold. (D)
When his brother made fun of the 'splinter', Alex said, "It's a simile, Andrew." He did not say this because he had filled out workbook pages on similes; he understood them because we talk about them sometimes in Morning Time and in life-when we walk along the way and when we rise up.
This is true imitation: applying what you know when you know it. Imitation is assessment. You can assign it but then it is something else. Education works, when it does, because we are made to imitate. This is why it is so important that our homeschools are designed with truth, goodness and beauty in mind. My philosophy is that it is better to wait for imitation than to force it. The trick is to make sure your children are beholding things that are worthy of imitation.