Now, probably more than a year after we started reading poems, I finally saw concrete evidence that the poems are impacting my son: he grabbed the book after I was done reading them, and started reading it on his own.
I was probably not as wise as I should have been: my emerging reader was reading, and reading beautiful literature. But I wanted to get to our scripture boxes, and get some things marked off our list. I may have threatened to take away the book if he didn't pay at least a little bit of attention to the matter at hand. This was his reaction:
We came to an agreement where he got to continue to read the poems. And my eyes are a little more open to the value of our little poetry readings, and the richness that they offer, because of the thought-provoking nature of this incident. Hopefully, next time, I will be more wise in my efforts to find balance between lingering over the lovely things and getting through our list of tasks. It can be tough, some days!
They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told. ... we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature - that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas and pictures of life.
-Charlotte Mason 2:263, emphasis original
I'm so glad that we have found Classical Education and Miss Mason's gentle wisdom to help us all grow to be more fully human, more fully reach our potential as God's children. It makes the whole of our lives more beautiful to be making the attempt, however unsteady it sometimes is. Good poetry, despite my initial skepticism, really does deserve a place among the "best books" that we ought to be using to educate ourselves and our children.
... seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith...
-Doctrine and Covenants 109:7