Today was one of those days that make me love homeschooling, and of all things it was brought about by a language lesson.
We study most subjects together as a family (basically anything but math and reading) but since I love history we spend a disproportionate amount of time on it. Lately I have been trying to fit in a language arts lesson but would postpone it because the children would request something else. Today I was determined to do it. As is usual in our home, I only had a vague idea as to what I wanted to cover. I wanted to do something with poetry, but I didn’t know what. Over the weekend I had been reminded that the poem Oh Captain, My Captain was written in tribute to Abraham Lincoln (whom we had studied last week). I thought it might make a good bridge from history to literature but I was too lazy to try and print out a copy. Instead I grabbed What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know (which is a book series I will tell you about in a future post) and opened it up to the literature section.
What did I open it to but Oh Captain, My Captain! Providence, I say!
And thus we came to read Oh Captain, My Captain in spite of my laziness. After reading and rereading the verses and talking about the possible meaning of each line, who the “captain” was, what the ship represented, etc. I felt the desire to talk a little bit more directly about metaphors. Knowing that Lucy understood the concept perfectly (as she answered most of my questions about the poem) I directed the next part of our lesson to Emma and Spencer.
I grabbed Brian Cleary’s Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk off of our bookshelf. We each gave examples of different similes and metaphors often used today.
At that point I still wanted to play a little bit with it. So I opened What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know again to see if there were any other poems we could read. I overshot the poetry section and instead opened up to…
Imagery, Simile’s and Metaphors.
How fortuitous! I read the passages on imagery and had the kids close their eyes while I read a poem about tigers. They then described to me what they had imagined. I also read the pages on similes and metaphors which led to a discussion on the difference between literal and figurative language.
Which led us to…