Category Archives: Music

Hymn Study

Another thing I’m excited to add to this coming school year is a hymn study. I came across this idea online a few months ago and I knew instantly it was something I wanted to do. There is a richness and beauty in the older hymns that just isn’t there in modern worship songs and I really want my kids to know many of these hymns by heart and to understand their deep meaning. I plan to study eight each year (including a Christmas Carol for that time of year), spending about four weeks on each one, learning the history, all the words and their meaning (which I may have to consult my husband, who grew up on these hymns, about because there’s a lot of wording even I don’t quite understand). Between YouTube and Rdio, a music service we use, I have found several different versions of each hymn for us to listen to and sing along with as we learn them. I’ve got forty hymns I plan to cover over the next five years. There are SO many more that we would cover, but I chose the ones that I love most and have meant the most to me. I was surprised by just how many I knew, considering I was only vaguely familiar with maybe a few of them before about eleven years ago when I became a believer.

The ones I’ve chosen for this year are:

Great is Thy Faithfulness
The Solid Rock
Be Thou My Vision
O Holy Night
Jesus Paid it All
Nothing but the Blood
How Great Thou Art
Joyful Joyful

I took a gamble and ordered the first book of this series even though I wasn’t sure it was what I was looking for. It’s exactly what I wanted, so much so that I ordered number two as well for the last few hymns on my list that I really want to eventually study but were not in the first book.
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They contain nice, concise histories of each hymn along with the lyrics of each.
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I also made a little “hymnal” for us with just the songs that we’ll learn this year, with the words printed a little larger so we can all read along together.
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Nature Study, Art and Music Appreciation, Read Alouds and Bible

I’ve been planning for next year while at the same time really looking more into the methods of Charlotte Mason and there’s so much that she valued that I want to be including in our school routine. We’ve done lots of reading aloud, but other than that, I wouldn’t say we’re strictly following the guidelines she suggested, even though I have loved much of what I read about how she taught children. A phrase I found myself repeating a lot was “someday we’ll do more of that type of thing….” but recently I’ve realized that now, while my children are still young and fascinated by their world, is the perfect time to introduce this stuff.

Charlotte Mason emphasized letting children be outside as much as possible and letting them learn from their surroundings so we’re going to try to do frequent nature walks. I got the perfect little bag (bought it on etsy…isn’t it cute?) that I can keep our journals, pencils and things we’ll need when we head out for some outside time. I want to be more purposeful about encouraging the kids to be observant about what they see around them. We’ll be able to easily grab our nature bag to bring along during trips to the park, walks around the neighborhood, or even just out into our backyard when we can’t spare the time to go far.

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Another thing we’ll be doing next year is studying a few artists and composers. We’ll be doing several eight week studies on one artist and one composer at a time, for a total of four artists and four composers for the entire year.

I came across this great series that has tons of the greatest artists and composers. We’ll also be taking out lots of books from the library to learn as much as we can during each eight-week period.

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The kids will each have an art and music notebook. We’ll study specific pieces of art from each artist and the kids will have a chance to try to do their own versions of the artwork.
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I found several other fun things to add to our music section, while we enjoy listening to the music from these composers.
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We have loved reading aloud this year and have completed about eight books together, so I wanted to make sure I picked out some good ones for next year. Both of the kids have been dying to know about what we’re going to read and they want to know how soon we can begin!

Here are a few of our read alouds for next year that I was able to snag from Half Price Books. There are a couple others that go along with Elliot’s Five in A Row books that I plan to borrow from the library.

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We found ourselves coming across some great new words in our read alouds and occasionally Elliot would tell me a word he came across in one of his books, and I found myself looking up words all the time, so I decided we needed to keep track of these words in a journal. The kids are really excited about finding new words to add!

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We’ve come across a few great ones already, just since yesterday.
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I also came across some great printables on this blog recently and founds his one that will compliment our word journal nicely. I laminated it so we can reuse it with dry erase markers. We’ll choose one word from our journal each week as our “Word of the Week”.

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Another thing I’d like to do much better at next year is reading to the kids from the Bible…not a children’s story Bible, not a devotional, but the Bible! Not that those other things are bad at all, but I think I’ve relied on them too much and assumed my kids can’t handle the Bible. When I was looking for what we’d use for our morning devotional time this year, God really spoke to me and convicted me that His Word was enough! From what I had read about Charlotte Mason, I knew she was also emphasized reading to your children from the Bible often and from an early age.
There was still that question in my mind of “Okay, but where do I being and how will I choose what we read each day?” and a good friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Penny Gardner’s Bible Reading Plan. She has a long list, for both the Old and New Testament, broken up into “episodes”. It’s exactly what I was looking for! I tweeked it a little bit, printed it off and laminated it. We’re going to alternate between Old and New Testament reading and check off with a dry erase marker what we’ve covered.

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