Memorising Poetry

15 Jan

Mr Andrew Pudewa, homeschool guru extraordinaire, says that memorising poetry is an excellent way to cement “reliably correct language patterns” into our children’s linguist repertoire.  I’ve never been a huge fan of poetry and until last year I wasn’t too keen on memorisation either but I’m always prepared to give Mr Pudeaw suggestions a go.  He has never led me astray and, surprise, surprise, we are loving memorisation and the poetry we have learned.

I haven’t purchased Andrew’s “Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorisation” curriculum though.  I haven’t found it necessary for my family as I prefer to select our own poetry selections.  Instead I purchased “Poems For Memorisation” from Light Education Ministries.  I love the selected poems in this little gem.  It gives suggestions for each grade level and all of them are precious.


When I select poems for my little men to carry around in their hearts and mind for life, I steer clear of the giggly, cutesy wootzy stuff, preferring instead to find poems that reflect “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8).  I remember my Grandma reciting little verses like these when the appropriate time prompted her.  I want my boys to store up treasures like these to share with their little ones one day.


Interested to know what we are planning to memorise?

Here’s our selections for the moment:


The Ten Commandments in Verse

(I don’t think this title is from this book.  I can’t remember where I found it.)

By Elton Trueblood


Above all else love God Alone,

Bow down to neither wood nor stone.

God’s name refuse to take in vain;

The Sabbath rest with care maintain,

Respect your parents all your days;

Hold sacred human life always,

Be loyal to your chosen mate;

Steal nothing neither small nor great.

Report with truth your neighbour’s deed;

And rid your mind of selfish greed.


Do It


Whenever a task is set for you

Don’t idly sit and view it,

Nor be content to wish it done;

Begin at once and do it.


He Knows


Every little thought or word,

Jesus knows it all;

Every little deed that’s good,

Jesus can recall.

Every little sob or sigh,

Jesus always hears;

Every little pain or hurt

Jesus always cares.

So let no one ever think,

He is all alone;

Jesus is so very near,

Reigning on His throne.


A Wise Old Owl

By Edward Hersey Richards


A wise old owl lived in an oak;

The more he saw the less he spoke;

The less he spoke the more he heard:

Why can’t we all be like that bird?


The Worth of a Smile


Nobody ever added up

The value of a smile;

We know how much a dollar’s worth,

And how much is a mile;

We know the distance to the sun,

The size and weight of Earth –

But no one’s ever told us yet

How much a smile is worth.




Thoughts are funny little things

That walk across your face;

The bad ones come with dragging steps

Which leave an ugly trace.


But good thoughts have such happy feet

That smiles grow as they pass,

And faces where they came to play

Look lovely in the glass.



By Carol Beachy Wenger


A habit is a sticky thing;

Much good or evil it can bring;

It binds a victim, holds him fast,

And keeps him in a vise-like grasp.


Bad habits grow with extra speed,

Much like a healthy, growing weed.

The roots grow deep, the stem grows stout;

How difficult to pull it out!


Good habits are a little slow;

They need a lot of care to grow;

If tended well, they grow more fair

Than any bloom a plant can bear.


Good habits help us all through life;

Bad habits bring us pain and strife;

Our habits, whether right or wrong,

Each day will grow more firm and strong.


Posted by on January 15, 2012 in Language


2 responses to “Memorising Poetry

  1. Bernadette

    January 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    oh i love them!!! and as i started reading some, i realised i already had them buried in the recesses of my brain. what a cute image i can imagine, spouting one of these little verses instead of a frustrated grimace upon a child whining 🙂 how much better and possibly effective would that be 🙂 surely it would at least create nice memories if it was consistant.

  2. Sheryll

    January 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I’m planning to have my kids learn the 10 commandments in verse as well, but here is the version I have:
    1. You shall have no gods but Me;
    2. Before no idol bend your knee.
    3. Take not the name of God in vain;
    4. Dare not the Sabbath day profane.
    5. Give both your parents honour due;
    6. Take heed that you no murder do.
    7. Abstain from words and deeds unclean;
    8. Steal not, though you be poor and mean.
    9. Tell not a willful lie, nor love it;
    10. What is your neighbor’s do not covet.

    Author unknown according to the book I got this out of. I’m going to copy yours and see which I like better!


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