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    The Grammar of Poetry: To Buy or Not to Buy?

    August 11, 2014 by Brandy Vencel

    Let’s talk Grammar of Poetry. I have been following you long enough to know that you follow a pretty tight budget and don’t typically spend money on things that are frills! GoP is not an inexpensive item, so you must feel this is an important element? Did you purchase everything? And are you planning on doing it all this year?


    I love it when Julie writes a comment that gives me an excuse to write a post I was thinking about writing anyhow! I was trying to decide if anyone would be interested when Julie’s comment popped up. I always assume that if one person is thinking something and comments about it, there are others thinking the same thing that don’t say anything.

    So all ten of you can thank Julie.


    My short answer is this: I found the teacher’s guide and the student workbook for sale used from a family who bought it and then didn’t use it. I was charged $20 plus shipping, if I remember correctly. So, if you can find it for that sort of a price, I think you should buy it.

    My long answer is more meandering, and please keep in mind I haven’t actually taught this curriculum yet. I do, however, trust the AO Advisory’s choices.

    I was thrilled when I learned that one of my affiliates, Compass Classroom, was carrying Grammar of Poetry because it can be hard to find. Or, at least, I had a hard time finding it at first.

    With that said, let me be clear about something. When AO first began assigning this, there weren’t any DVDs. Moms were expected to teach it using the teacher’s edition. Now, with the shift toward DVD courses, we have the new version, which is quite a bit more expensive.

    The reality is that it is up to you.

    If you want help teaching it, Compass Classroom offers three free lessons you can view, to see what you think of the DVDs before you buy them. But if you like doing it yourself, you can just get the student workbook and teacher guides. Unfortunately, Compass Classroom doesn’t sell the teacher’s edition on its own, so you’ll have to look around. {As I type, there is currently one copy used at Amazon.}

    Thoughts on School Budgets

    I have always known that if I was going to homeschool junior high and high school, my budget was going to have to go up. There just isn’t a way around it. So then the goal is to maximize our budgets, and the tighter they are, the more important that becomes.
    If you really can’t afford to buy Grammar of Poetry new, then you can wait. Watch for it used. Pick it up when you find it at or near your target price. It really doesn’t have to be taught in Year Seven. I mean, obviously Year Seven probably makes allowances for it in terms of time budget, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done in a later year.
    I happened to stumble upon it used before I was even really shopping for it. I probably would have tried to pull it off financially somehow because I think my student is ready to think about things like meter, but it was a real blessing to acquire it so inexpensively. For future students, I will only need to buy the student workbook because the teacher’s edition will last me for all four students.

    Thoughts on Scheduling and Finishing the Curriculum

    Because I did a very time-based schedule this year, I don’t have that sort of a goal for this curriculum this year. I’m not saying we’re doing a certain lesson on a certain day. I really don’t know exactly how it will work out. We’re going to spend 45 minutes on it on Thursdays, and when the 45 minutes are over, we’re putting it away until the next week. At the end of the year, I’ll be able to tell you if 45 minutes per week is enough time to finish in a year.
    The one caveat to this is that I never plan to do more than one lesson per day. So if a lesson takes longer than 45 minutes, we’d finish it up the following week, but if that second week only took 20 minutes, we wouldn’t start a new lesson. I think slower is probably better, after thumbing through it.
    I’m taking this out of my grammar time budget. If you think of it in terms of Nicole’s matrix, you’ll see that a Form III student had two 25 minute lessons and one 45 minute lesson. The two 25 minute lessons are in my Circle Time because I’m combining two students for that {and actually I’ve made them a bit shorter because the other student is only Form II}, and then the 45 minute lesson will be reserved for Grammar of Poetry.

    Thoughts on Using Curriculum

    I think the very best thing we can do when school planning is to be brutally honest with ourselves. If you recall, my dream was always to start Lost Tools of Writing in seventh grade. It was just a number I’ve had stuck in my head for years and year. But when I was honest with myself about our year and what it needed to look like, I realized that a different choice was better for us at this time. I can almost guarantee that if I’d bought LToW, I wouldn’t have used it, not this year.
    So. If you’re considering Grammar of Poetry, be honest with yourself. Think about time. Where are you going to put it? Think about your student. Is your student ready for this? Think about you. Do you really want to teach this this year? Will you really follow through? Are you committed?
    I know things come up. I know that sometimes we truly think we are committed and then something happens and we have to let go of our plans. I know. But I’m just saying that given what we know right now, we have to be realistic.
    One issue we often don’t look at is desire. I asked the question, Do you really want to teach this this year? We are tempted to overlook that one because it’s an uncomfortable question. Here’s the deal. We probably should want to teach this course, or at least something like it. It is more apt to say we should want to teach our children about poetry and how it works at some point in time. But sometimes our affections are out of order and we really don’t feel like it.
    This is tricky ground because I regularly make myself do things I don’t feel like doing for the sake of the good of my children, and I’m sure you do, too. That’s what being a mom is all about. But the point remains that the curriculum we are resisting is one we’re going to have trouble teaching. So think about why we are resisting. Is it that we need to cultivate more of a love for poetry first? Or we don’t really have the mental energy right now?
    Of course, if we can afford the DVDs, all we need is regularly scheduled time.
    But I digress.
    I’m not saying we need to spend hours navel gazing, but sometimes asking these questions can help us figure out how to make something work, how to make something happen.
    What about you? Are you buying it for Year Seven? Did you buy it for Year Seven, if you did that year in the past? I’m curious.

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