Among Ds's holiday homework are some poems to learn by heart. I think this is fantastic, but i appear to be alone among my friends in this view. I think that learning by heart is a useful skill, and anyway, as GCSEs are all going to be closed book exams from now on, they need to get into the habit of knowing quotations. Everyone else seems to thing it's a waste of time. Am I ridiculously outdated, or do I have a point?
My DM can still recite several poems learnt in her schooldays which is great. I on the other hand must have only stored them in my short term memory so can't remember them. My DS's school have the tradition of a yearly own choice poem recited by heart to classmates (best then get selected for school competition). Other schools do that as well and I think it is a great idea.
<shrugs> - here in Wales they start learning poetry by heart in reception, to recite at the school Eisteddfod. I think being able to stand up and recite well from memory is a great skill, which transfers over to other things they might need to do in later life (read in church, give a presentation for work, etc etc)
As a recently retired person I am grateful for the knowledge that I learnt by heart as a child. I still have instant recall of times tables, French irregular verbs, Latin declensions etc etc.
I have studied many other things since but nothing is as firmly fixed in my mind. The learning of poetry is a great way of training the brain to memorise other things. It should be encouraged as much as possible. There is certain knowledge that needs to be memorised you cannot rely on looking everything up.
DD (French school, Year 6) has learned an awful lot of poetry (and play roles) by heart over the years, in both French and English. TBH, it is a skill in which a lot of practice really makes perfect, and weekly learning/recital means that it is no longer any sort of chore.
I think it's a good skill to have. I do however sometimes wonder if I'd have room in my memory for where my keys are if it wasn't full of all the poems I lean red at school, all the lyrics, speeches, and the chunk of Aeniad Book V I had to learn off by heart for Latin O level (and all those odes too).
I do quite enjoy launching into 'make me a willow cabin at your gate...' whenever one of the DCs is studying Twelfth Night though. Mainly because they? Don't.
We learnt poetry a lot a primary. We were given a theme for the week and you got team points for finding a poem. Extra for learning by heart. Being a pot hunter, I often learnt them, and I can say most of them 30 years later, including some quite long ones. There was an interhouse competition where everyone who wanted to learnt and performed a poem and got marks out of 10 for it. The best performed at our "Eisteddfod" (not in Wales).
"Heaven" by Rupert Brooke, is one of my favourites. I learnt it when I was 8 or 9 and didn't know what half the long words meant, but could appreciate the musicability of them.
My long-suffering family say I can recite a poem for every occasion. But i think it's something my dc have missed out on, and I think they find learning by heart harder for it.
I think learning poems by heart is lovely - I know a few and they have come in handy at bedtime sometimes with the dcs, a poem and a song instead of a story on the nights I couldn't face Smiley Shark again . BTW - what is a closed book exam? (GCSE ignoramus here)