10/9-13 ~ Progeny Press #Review
It’s been a while since I’ve done any pure instruction in poetry with my younger two – it’s just not something I naturally gravitate toward – but the Introduction to Poetry from Progeny Press has actually made it easy. (AKA, it’s taken something I normally dread, and make it much more bearable and fun – with GOOD guidance as to what we’re really trying to get out of it – and that’s totally what I need with something that to me, feels so ephemeral as poetry.)
Progeny Press creates literature study guides for all ages, in both print and e-guide (downloadable PDF) formats. We’ve used novel study guides from them before (see reviews here and here), but never one focusing on a specific type of literature, so this was a bit of a difference to us.
The interactive study guide arrived as two downloadable PDFs, one the guide itself, the other the answer key. The study guide runs about 75 pages, and can be used in two different ways – either print it out, allowing students to fill in answers by hand, or give students a copy of the file itself in which to type their answers, printing after the study is complete. The fill-it-in format is quite convenient for students who prefer to type, or families who are always on the go and take the computers with them. (We’re not *quite* as “on the go” so far this year, but it always ends up happening sooner or later, so I love having this as an option!)
The guide is in black and white, making it light on ink usage, which I always appreciate – it’s nice to know that a publisher considers not just the price of their curricula, but what it really costs a family to use it. And keeping that in mind, there’s another nice thing about the e-guides from Progeny Press – you can reuse them with multiple family members without needing to purchase another copy, and this can really improve your bottom line in the long run.
To use Intro to Poetry, of course, one must have access to the poems, of course – and nearly 50 (!) are used as resources for this guide. That freaked me out for just a moment, because I was thinking “How on earth am I going to track ALL of these poems down???” And actually, that answer was crazy-easy. There are not just one, but THREE different anthology titles that include ALL of the poems used in this guide – and the guide even includes page numbers to direct you to the appropriate location in each of these resources. Lovely!
Because there are so many short works in this study, it’s really up to you whether you work straight through it, or break it into smaller chunks. The publisher does recommend that, if you or your students are new to the study of poetry, that you do work though it in order, as the lessons build on each other. We decided that we were going to spread it out a bit, working through it a bit slower, adding it in as a “side dish” to their regular English curricula this year.
Since it’s so different then what we typically do, it’s been a lot of fun for us to simply enjoy it as it comes. As I mentioned, poetry has never really been my thing – I think in part, because those who are “in” to poetry always seem to take it SO incredibly seriously. (And that’s a whole different post, lol… so let’s just say that I’d prefer to spread my love of good writing, rather than pretensions, to my children. :) Along with a healthy dose of both creepy (Edgar Allen Poe) and silly (nope, it doesn’t include any Shel Silverstein… but it DID give me a good excuse to dig it out!)
Chris (10th) and Chey (8th) seem to enjoy the variety that poetry has brought, and like has become the norm with us, I have one that wanted the guide printed, while the other is happy to use the computer version. As for me, I’m just please that like other Progeny Press materials, it’s pretty much pick up and go – it isn’t at all parent-intensive, which is always a blessing for me, and as independent work is generally a preference at this point in our homeschool career, it works quite well for us.