Are your children getting a music education in your homeschool? Many parents overlook this area, not because they don’t believe it is important, but because they feel ill-equipped to teach such a large (and seemingly daunting) subject.
photo credit finding josephine on flickr
I could go on and on about the benefits of music for your children, but I have a feeling you know about the increased math abilities, heightened appreciation for beauty, and higher SAT scores, don’t you?
As a former elementary music educator I have LOADS of teaching ideas for you. The homeschool mom in me, however, gets the feelings of not having enough time, having to cover the “basics”, and just focusing on a few big things at a time.
How do we fit this “extra” into our already large list of homeschool to-dos?
Music often falls to the bottom of the homeschool pile, doesn’t it?
This year, let’s move it closer to the top. It won’t take a lot of time or effort on your part, either.
Make a conscious effort to LISTEN to good music each day.
Easy ways to do this include:
Play a relaxing Pandora Station during one meal each day.
We like to listen at lunch time. Each week choose a different major composer and create a Pandora station. You will be amazed at what just this 15-30 minutes of listening can do. Talk about the music with your kids. What instruments do they hear? Do they like it? What are they picturing in their head while they are listening? (Suggested composers are Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Gershwin – this includes music from the 1600s-1900s.)
Use time in the car to listen to and discuss music.
Our favorite listening while on the go includes Beethoven’s Wig and Maestro Classics. Again – listening to a Pandora station or your local classical station is also good. Dedicate car time to broadening your musical horizons this year!
Make music appreciation an official subject in your homeschool this year.
Last spring I came out with my own curriculum – SQUILT (Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time) – designed for even the non musical parent to teach music appreciation. Lessons are no more than 30 minutes and all of the work is done for you.
Incorporate Music With History
History is the perfect spine for our homeschool. Listening to the music from a particular time period can help our children feel like they are really living during that time.
Are you studying modern times? Use a unit study about a composer such as George Gershwin (I have a free one for you!) to learn about America’s music during the early 1900s.
Learning about the Renaissance? The musical heritage there is rich and exciting.
Search for composers from the era you are studying and find biographies, YouTube videos, and other resources to bring a little music into your days.
Find Opportunities to Make Music
Being a part of an ensemble has so many benefits for our children.
This year, find a way for your child to participate in a musical group with others. Sing in the church choir, find a homeschool choir or band, or join a community group.
Your child will not only learn about music, he will make friends and learn about discipline and accomplishment at the same time. One of the best things in my oldest child’s life is her participation in a local children’s chorus. It has given her an anchor and a sense of belonging, not to mention exposure to some excellent choral music.
It is my prayer that all children can be exposed to and make beautiful music. Our world might just be a little better if we add more quality music. Why not start in your homeschool this year?
Mary blogs at Homegrown Learners. She is an avid musician, reader, and lover of all things education. It is her goal to help you incorporate music into your homeschool. She is also the author of the music appreciation curriculum, SQUILT.