Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Everyday Education ~ A Review


Working It Out: Poetry Analysis with George Herbert is just one of the many resources available for homeschoolers at Everyday Education, LLC. I received a digital download of the book.


Working it Out: Poetry Analysis with George Herbert is an amazing resource tool for homeschoolers  desiring to understand great poetry. Before going further I think that it is very important to have a working understand of exactly who George Herbert was. 

George Herbert was an Anglican priest, poet, lutenist, instructor, and orator. Born in the 17th century, George Herbert came from a privileged background. His desire to enter the ministry was thrawted when King James I learned of Herbert. George became a Public Orator and later went on to serve in the Parliament in England. Eventually Herbert's desire for the ministry was reignited and he was ordained into the Church of England where he remained until his death. 

Herbert salvation is portrayed in his poetry as "a picture of the many spiritual conflicts that has passed betwixt God and my soul before I could subject mine to the will of Jesus my Master." Herbert began writing poetry at a young age. 


Working it Out was written primarily as a devotional but is an amazing resource for learning how to read and understand poetry. This book will walk you through 51 of Herbert's works. In Working it Out your student will learn to see:
  • The Big Picture: what the poem is about
  • The Parts of the Picture: a stanza-by-stanza explication of the poem
  • The Parts of the Picture Come Together: a look at the movement of thought through the poem
Each chapter includes:
  • Reflections: questions for personal meditation
  • Scriptures for Further Reflection 
The poems in the book are divided up into the following categories:
  • Looking Back, Moving Forward
  • Letting Go
  • Confession
  • Grace
  • Separation
  • Petition
  • Praise
  • Depending on God
  • Grief
  • Prayer
  • Special Blessings of the Church
  • Dust to Dust
  • Rebellion
  • Brevity
  • Not Understanding the Ways of God or Self
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety and Living in the Present Moment
  • God Within Us
  • God the Architect
  • Poetry
  • The Bible

I decided to use this book myself. I have gained a new appreciation and love for Herbert's works. I honestly haven't really studied his works before getting this book. I love poetry but it is often difficult to dissect and understand. I was very excited about gaining insight into Herbert's works. Joseph L. Womack, the author, does a fantastic job at bringing to life Herbert's poetry in a way that I was able to understand. After reading through various poems I either had no idea what it was talking about or totally missed the meaning all together. After reading the three part dissection of each work I was able to go back through the poems and see the meaning clearly and effortlessly.

One of my favorite poems, 

 The Discharge

Busy enquiring heart, what wouldst thou know?
Why dost thou pry,
And turn, and leer, and with a licorous eye
Look high and low;
And in thy lookings stretch and grow? 
Hast thou not made thy counts, and summed up all?
Did not thy heart
Give up the whole, and with the whole depart?
Let what will fall:
That which is past who can recall? 
Thy life is God’s, thy time to come is gone,
And is his right.
He is thy night at noon: he is at night
Thy noon alone.
The crop is his, for he hath sown. 
And well it was for thee, when this befell,
That God did make
Thy business his, and in thy life partake:
For thou canst tell,
If it be his once, all is well. 
Only the present is thy part and fee.
And happy thou,
If, though thou didst not beat thy future brow,
Thou couldst well see
What present things required of thee. 
They ask enough; why shouldst thou further go?
Raise not the mud
Of future depths, but drink the clear and good.
Dig not for woe
In times to come; for it will grow. 
Man and the present fit: if he provide,
He breaks the square.
This hour is mine: if for the next I care,
I grow too wide,
And do encroach upon death’s side. 
For death each hour environs and surrounds.
He that would know
And care for future chances, cannot go
Unto those grounds,
But through a Church-yard which them bounds. 
Things present shrink and die: but they that spend
Their thoughts and sense
On future grief, do not remove it thence,
But it extend,
And draw the bottom out an end. 
God chains the dog till night: wilt loose the chain,
And wake thy sorrow?
Wilt thou forestall it, and now grieve tomorrow,
And then again
Grieve over freshly all thy pain? 
Either grief will not come: or if it must,
Do not forecast.
And while it cometh, it is almost past.
Away distrust:
My God hath promised; he is just. 

Trusting God in the present moment is definitely a work in progress for me. This poem rang true in my heart. When one realizes that "Thy life is God’s" peace will be found. In the Reflections this question is asked; "The poem also deals with the “discharge” of causes of anxiety? How do
you “discharge” your anxieties? Is the poem helpful in this regard?" To further reflect the following scripture is given.

Matthew 6:25-34
Philippians 4:6-7
I Timothy 6:6-8
Hebrews 13:5-6
I Peter 5:6-7

Next year I plan of having my high school age children use this book as part of their literature/poetry studies. 


I would highly recommend this book to homeschoolers, educators, and individuals wishing to gain an understand of poetry. Be sure to check out all of the other great resources at Everyday Education.

To read more reviews click here.

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