Take note, loyal readers! We were given a copy of Working it Out: Poetry Analysis with George Herbert. from Everyday Education, LLC in exchange for this review.
Other reviewers were given the same, or they reviewed Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting for elementary or remedial learners (or me–my handwriting needs help, so I realized in the grocery store when I couldn’t tell if I needed colostrum or a caboose…so I bought chocolate) and Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers, for high school into college. If you want to see what they have to say, click on the banner below. If you want to hear what I have to say, well, good people, you’re in the right place!
Now, I know I said that this is a fair and unbiased review, but I have been a Janice Campbell stalker for a long time. Her sight, Everyday Education, shares her experience as a homeschooler of four boys who have already graduated…so you’re not getting a preschool mom’s views on teaching teens–pet peeve! Her approach is a Charlotte Mason approach, combined with some Jeffersonian education and classical. What that boils down to, for those of you who think I just spoke a foreign 0language, is no busy work and no dumbed-down reading.
I love her perspective and her articles. I think that might taint my perspective just a bit…don’t you? I don’t care! If you care, stuff a cookie in your mouth–that will make you feel better.
The idea behind Working it Out: Poetry Analysis with George Herbert is that it is both a spiritual exercise and a lesson in poetry analysis.
Who is this Herbert guy?
Herbert is a British poet and rector from the 17th century. You may have heard him quoted by the likes of C.S. Lewis and Jan Karon, two personal faves of mine. Any friend of Lewis and Karon is a friend of mine! His poetry was published posthumously by a friend. Herbert asked his buddy to read his poems and do something with them if he thought them worthy, but no if they weren’t. What a lesson in humility!
Herbert’s poetry delves deeply into the relationship between God and man, which is where the spiritual growth aspect of this piece comes in. Each poem serves as a launching pad for Biblical discussion and spiritual growth. (When I say “spiritual,” I don’t mean how people mean it today–I mean a relationship and understanding of the true Triune God as presented in Scripture, both Old and New Testament. I’m not getting all New Agey on you.)
What can I do with this book?
The book’s intention is also to help readers understand poetry…and Herbert’s isn’t exactly the easiest to understand, so it’s definitely a study! The methodology you’ll learn to understand it can be applied to any poetry you read…and write, I might add!
The author created a study by breaking each poem down like this:
- The Big Picture–what the poem is about
- The Parts of the Picture–breaking it down to look at the stanzas, poetry techniques, and other details
- The Parts of the Picture Come Together–the flow of the poem, basically. That’s not a good explanation. Basically the overall flow of thought
- Reflections–questions to get you thinking
- Scriptures for Further Reflection–self-explanatory
If you study it weekly, it will take you a year to work through the 51 works. I recommend taking a year and a half or two, so poetry is enjoyed and not forced down your children’s throats. MY kids love poetry, but not all are the same.
I also recommend using a few of these pieces as memory and copy work. They would look beautiful printed neatly and framed. I do encourage you, from time to time, to have the children imitate Herbert’s style and write poems of their own on similar topics. You may well be amazed and ignite a spark in your children.
Get to know Janice Campbell a bit better through social media, if that’s how you roll. The links are below:
- Excellence in Literature on Facebook
- Janice Campbell on Pinterest
- Janice Campbell on Google+
- Everyday Education on Twitter
Remember, you can read what other reviewers have to say about this and her other products through this banner right here: