Suggested Poetry Memorization List

Here are some suggestions of beloved poems that my children have memorized (or will soon memorize!) since we began homeschooling nearly a decade ago. Our practice is to read one work aloud once or twice each day, concentrating on one selection a month. Some longer selections are practiced up to two months. We do these selections in addition to our Scripture and Catechism memory work.

Preschool Children (about 3-6 yrs.)


  • 1, 23, 51, 63, 100, 133, 139, 150


  • Try, Try Again, Hickson
  • Halfway Down, Milne
  • My Gift, Rosetti
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful, Alexander
  • How Doth, Carroll
  • The Caterpillar, Rosetti
  • Work, Stodard
  • Mr. Nobody
  • The Goops, Burgess
  • How Many, How Much, Shel Silverstein
  • Wynken, Blinken, and Nod,
  • Afternoon on a Hill, Millay
  • Any Nursery Rhyme


  • Books of the Old Testament
  • Books of the New Testament
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • The Apostle’s Creed

Primary Children (about 7-10 yrs.)

 Selections from the Bible

  • Psalms: 34, 127, 128
  • A Time for Everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)
  • Ten Commandments in context (Exodus 20:1-17)
  • Many Mansions (John 14:1-6)
  • The Word Became Flesh (John 1:1-5, 11-14)
  • The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)
  • Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4-9)
  • Wait on the Lord (Isaiah 40:28-31)
  • The Christmas Account (Luke 2) 

Fun and Rhyming Poems

  • The Jabberwocky, Lewis Carrol
  • A Visit from St. Nicholas, Moore
  • Sea Fever, Masefield
  • The Height of the Ridiculous, Holmes
  • A Tragic Story, Thackeray
  • The Spider and the Fly, Howitt
  • Father William, Southey
  • Matilda, Belloc
  • Ozymandias, Shelley
  • I Wandered Lonely, Wordsworth
  • Foreign Lands, Stevenson


  • The Beatitudes and Selections from The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)
  • Sermon to the Birds, Assisi
  • I Have a Dream, MLK
  • Gettysburg Address, Lincoln
  • The American Presidents
  • Kings and Queens of England (Poem: England’s Sovereigns in Verse)
  • Nicene Creed


  • The Star-Spangled Banner, Key
  • Hiawatha, Longfellow
  • Pocahontas, Thackery
  • Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, Heman
  • Excerpts from The Declaration of Independence
  • A New Colossus, Lazarus
  • O, Captain! Whitman
  • Paul Bunyan, Silverstein
  • March to Bannockburn, Burns

Middle School Children (about 11-14 yrs.)

Chapters from the Bible

  • Psalms: 8, 103, 130
  • The Creation (Genesis 1)
  • The Greatest Commandment (Deuteronomy 6)
  • Love Never Fails (1 Corinthians 13)
  • All Things Work Together (Romans 8:28-39)
  • Walk In Newness of Life (Romans 6:1-11)
  • Do Not Worry (Matthew 6:25-34)


  • Casey at the Bat, Thayer
  • The Old Oaken Bucket, Woodworth (and As Revised by the Board of Health!)
  • An Overworked Elocutionist, Wells (Great after you’ve already memorized many selections!)
  • When the Frost is on the Punkin, Riley
  • The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet, Carryl
  • The Village Blacksmith, Longfellow (and others)
  • The Bells, Poe
  • Excerpts from The Courtship of Miles Standish, Longfellow
  • Solitude, Wilcox
  • The Lady of Shalott, Tennyson
  • The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, Marlowe and The Nymph’s Reply, Raleigh
  • Excerpts from On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity, Milton
  • How Do I Love Thee, Browning
  • Khubla Khan, Coleridge


  • Queen Elizabeth’s Speech to the Troops at Tilbury
  • Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death (The War Inevitable), Patrick Henry
  • The Athanasian Creed
  • Selections from St. Augustine
  • Excerpt from Luther’s Speech at the Diet of Worms
  • Entirety of Amazing Grace, Newton
  • The Bill of Rights
  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Macbeth
  • To Be, or Not to Be, Hamlet
  • All the World’s a Stage, As You Like It
  • Sonnet 18, Shakespeare
  • Anthony’s Soliloquy from Julius Caesar (“Friends, Romans, Countrymen...”) 


  • The Burial of Moses, Alexander
  • Belshazzar’s Feast, Kirk (or many other versions)
  • The Destruction of Sennacherib, Lord Byron
  • Cleopatra Dying, Collier
  • Sherwood, Noyes or Lady of Shallot, Tennyson
  • Excerpts from Song of Roland
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade, Tennyson
  • Columbus, Miller
  • The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, Longfellow
  • George Washington, Benet
  • Independence Bell, Anonymous
  • The Oregon Trail, Guiterman
  • Annabel Lee, Poe
  • I Hear America Singing, Whitman


Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson, vice president of Into Your Hands LLC, lives in Mankato, Minnesota, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is a certified Classical Lutheran Educator (Consortium for Classical Lutheran Educators), author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (2018), and editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).


Ten Book Club Questions

If you don’t have the opportunity to read aloud an entire novel with your child(ren) and discuss the plot as you go, each of you can read on your own and meet for an hour at the end to discuss the book.

Together, talk through these prompts. Make it a special occasion by adding tea or another treat!

  1. What did you think this book would be about before you read it? Were you correct?
  2. Does this book or one of its characters remind you of another book or another character? Which one and why?
  3. What is the setting? How does it affect the story?
  4. What was your favorite part of the book? Why?
  5. What is the main message from this book? Do you agree?
  6. What questions would you like to ask the author?
  7. What would you suggest to others that would help them decide whether or not they might read it?
  8. If this book had a sequel, what might it be about?
  9. How does your faith fit in with this book? How do the author’s and character’s faiths shine through?
  10. What is your favorite quotation from the book?


Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson, vice president of Into Your Hands LLC, lives in Mankato, Minnesota, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is a certified Classical Lutheran Educator (Consortium for Classical Lutheran Educators), author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (2018), and editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).


Classical Lutheran Homeschool Core Curriculum Choices

Classical Lutheran Homeschool Core Curriculum Choices

(1st through 8th Grades)

A wealth of new curricula and resources for homeschooling has arisen in the past decade since my family began homeschooling. There are many excellent choices out there. You know your family and your needs best. Here is a list of our core choices for our family and the reasons for those choices. I hope it will serve as a resource to families who are just getting started, or for families who are looking for a change.


Home Devotions/Bible Reading:

  • Daily: Hausvater 4-Year Reading List with Order of Service from the Hymnal as a family

  • Weekly: Family Altar Board with catechesis, memory work, and hymnology based on the theme from Divine Worship on Sunday Morning

  • Personal daily reading of Scripture or Bible History book

Classical Considerations:

  • Aside from intentional devotions, most religious training happens organically during guided conversation in the car, at lunch, or while getting ready for bed (see Deuteronomy 6). In this way, parents can make use of Socratic questioning to guide children in a Biblical Worldview.


  • We like to integrate the subject of “religion” into our family routine rather than our school routine because it is something that no one ever outgrows, even after graduation.

Math: Saxon (Saxon 1, 2, 3, 54, 65, 76, 87 or Algebra ½, Algebra ½ or Algebra 1)

Classical Considerations:

  • focuses on memorization of math facts and terminology prior to application

  • utilizes direct instruction and frequent, spiraling review sets


  • Parent teaches levels 1-3 from scripted text; Child self-teaches levels 54 through Advanced Mathematics.

  • Each level spans between 110 and 140 lessons; we complete one level each school year by doing 5 lessons each week.

  • Assessments are offered every 5 lessons.

  • Several choices are available for DVD lessons aligned with the book.

  • The 3rd edition in the higher levels avoids the Common Core written into the 4th edition.

Language: First Language Lessons (Grades 1-4)/Hake Grammar and Writing (Grades 5-8)

Classical Considerations:

  • teaches traditional English grammar through direct instruction (both)

  • employs grammar-level poetry memorization (FLL)

  • models diagramming with appropriate scaffolding (both)

  • includes extensive vocabulary and Greek/Latin root words (Hake)

  • teaches traditional writing and the five-paragraph essay for mastery (Hake)


  • Parent teaches levels 1-4 from scripted text; Child self-teaches levels 5-8.

  • Each level spans between 80-120 lessons; we complete one level each school year by doing 3-4 lessons each week.

  • Consider adding poetry memorization to the Hake curriculum.

  • FLL is mostly an aural curriculum. You may want to supplement or add activities if your child is more of a visual learner.

History: Story of the World (Grades 1-4)/Mystery of History(Grades 5-8)

Classical Considerations:

  • follows a cyclical four-year cycle, beginning in ancient times and ending with modern times (both)

  • includes quotations from primary sources (MOH)


  • SOTW is not written from a Christian perspective and thus needs a Biblical worldview presented alongside, particularly with Biblical History and the Reformation.

  • MOH is written by a non-Lutheran, but attempts to present all Christian denominations fairly in that the author looks to the denomination’s own primary sources to explain their theology.

  • Each textbook can be covered in one school year. Plan to read three lessons each week and supplement with activities as desired.

  • Each curriculum comes with supplementary map-work for covering the subject of geography.

  • Consider supplementing with Notgrass American History if deeper understanding of American history is desired.

Other Recommendations:

Phonics: Teach Your Child to Read (Engelmann)

  • Direct-instruction is used.

Literature: 1,000 Good Books List

  • Read these aloud to your children and discuss them. Many are available for free at your library. Study guides are widely available.

Science: Answers in Genesis

  • These follow a four-year cycle and can integrate all grade levels to be taught at once. A Biblical worldview is taught.

Art: MaryAnn F. Kohl's Discovering Great Artists Books

  • These art projects look at master artists and follow in their footsteps.

Latin: A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin

  • Great for upper-grades church-focused Latin. Instructor should clarify theology, as many sentences in the exercises display Roman Catholic doctrine.

Music: Piano Lessons (1st-8th Grades), Band (5th-8th Grades)

  • It is a beautiful thing to hone the ability to play music for pleasure and in the service of the church. By learning to play classical music, children grow in their ability to recognize goodness in music, as well as history about composers and musical eras. Also consider building a classical CD library for your home.


More Precious

All is dark, but no matter-

Our eyes are closed.

All is quiet, but for your soft little swallows echoing rhythmically.

I recline, relaxed, my arms and heart full.

As your breath warms my body (and soul), my peace is interrupted.


“Does she sleep through the night?” I remember them innocently asking.

Yes, you sleep... but I don’t mention your wakings.

Waking, when you’re aching for the comfort and security that only I can give-

Waking, for the reassurance that I will reach for you when you cry,

To know you won’t go hungry or unloved.

I wrap you in comfort, and my arms, entangling our bodies and our lives.

I feel our hearts beating so closely-

Such peace in the darkness,

Only we two will know.

Your tongue moves, singing silent praise, while my face glows through the shadows.


My mind again floats to them.

I cannot explain to those who have not understood-

You might sleep, if I let you cry,

But how could I give up this moment?

There are things more precious than sleep.


Boundaries: A Book Review from a Lutheran Perspective

Three months ago, I’d never heard of a 25-year-old book named Boundaries. Suddenly, it has appeared everywhere: on the shelves of Christian book stores, in Christian catalogues, and in ads on my newsfeed. Why is everybody talking about this book?

I’m a Confessional Lutheran who likes to read non-fiction. I like a variety of writing styles and enjoy the critical thinking that comes about from reading authors outside of my own denomination. After finishing a book, I often find my thinking broadened and my understanding widened. There’s rarely a book that I’m gravely concerned about, even if the author and I come from different theological backgrounds. However, Boundaries is a book that merits a very cautious read by discerning parties, beginning with the book’s subtitle, "When to say yes, How to say no to take control of your life."

As best as I can tell, the thesis of the book is as follows. The problems of anger, resentment, low self-esteem, annoyance, exhaustion, etc. are all symptoms of a lack of boundaries. Boundaries tell us what we as individuals are responsible for. If we create and enforce boundaries in our lives in the proper places with the proper people, we will have control over our lives and will be free from many of the struggles listed above.

At first, I assumed the book would argue that a person should learn to say “no”  in a selfish way. While reading, it became clear that the book instead advocates setting limits/boundaries so you can say “yes” to people unselfishly. I want to be clear that I’m not opposed to this stance of the book. My concerns are not necessarily about the thesis, but rather about the way in which the authors use the Bible. Below are several concerns.

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Good Combo Four-Week Menu Plan

Busy, natural-minded eaters, look no further! What follows is a four-week menu plan I use for my family. I hope it can be helpful for other families wanting a jump-start on meal planning with whole foods! And even better, it’s completely free!

Good Combo derives its name from the combination of healthful diets incorporated, but also because it’s a compromise between eating nourishing food, but having a reasonable budget, between working hard in the kitchen, but having the occasional break, and between cooking at home as much as possible, but also taking advantage of convenience food.

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