Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy 4th of July with Longfellow

Happy 4th of July with Longfellow

    Our patriotic holiday invites me to share another of my samplers with you. It is one I hang in the family room for the summer. Just for the photograph I placed it on the door of our coat closet so that the patriotic blue would make a nice background. This confirms my craving for color in the house. All the doors and trim in our front hallway as well as the Colonial-style staircase are painted “Georgian Blue.” It was a risky business but I’m happy with it.

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
On the eighteen of April, in Seventy-five,
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

    The first verse of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride” comes to mind when I look at the tavern sign of the sampler. I chose a loose weave of 22 count natural linen because I knew I’d be stitching a whole square of tiny one over one for the sign.

“Why not ask what the poets have to say about whatever you happen to be studying?” A Charlotte Mason Companion, page 223.

Favorite Poems Old and New

    If you’ve been following my writing over the years you might know how much I like, Favorite Poems Old and New, selected by Helen Ferris. (Click to read the how and why of her nifty selection process in my review). It is my guess that most public libraries keep a copy of this anthology on their shelves because it is a classic. I borrowed a library copy so often that I finally bought a new copy of my own.

    Are you looking for a patriotic poem to read aloud this week or do you wish to line up poetry for September? Open the pages of Favorite Poems and you will find the whole of Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” as well as a variety of handy poems for all seasons. Those who chose to be immersed in a week or two of an appreciation of Longfellow will be happy to know that nine of his other poems are scattered throughout. Being fond of Longfellow I decided the children of Lessons at Blackberry Inn would learn to memorize part of “The Village Blacksmith.” Favorite Poems  has this one, too.

   We are usually careful at handling hardcover books in our house, but I see that our copy is certainly not new anymore. The binding is loose. It’s taken a beating from repeated use. And like the stuffed toy, Velveteen Rabbit, it has affectionately had its edges worn.


    Managing the home school can be tiring. The work is lighter when there is some study in your day that you are fond of, something you find rewarding to teach - thus my decision to be immersed in Longfellow with my own children and the children in my story. Do you take advantage of the freedom of your prerogative? The mother, who does, consequently blesses her children with a little enthusiasm for what is being learned.


  1. Hi Karen!
    I read Deanna's blog and came over to visit. :)
    I have had Favorite Poems Old and New for years now. My children love it. My boys have a favorite poem, Mr. Nobody on page 49. Whenever I get the book off the shelf, they request Mr. Nobody. Would you have been able to guess that?

  2. Dear Karen,
    Your patriotic sampler hanging on your "Georgian Blue" door is so lovely. What a special sampler and a nice reminder for a 4th of July holiday! Favorite Poems Old and New has been my favorite collection of poems since before we even started homeschooling. The book is such a treasure!

  3. Belinda,
    Mr. Nobody is just the sort of poem I could see your children giggling over.

    I knew I'd meet other mothers who treasured this anthology.