I love music. I play a couple of instruments, sing, and I am currently taking weekly lessons to learn acoustic guitar (so fun, by the way!) We always have music going in our house. But what if you feel like you “aren’t musical”. Fear not, this morning I’m sharing some practical ways you can add music into your homeschool plus one invaluable resource!
There are so many ways to infuse your homeschool with a little music that can benefit and teach your child numerous things in numerous ways. And…you may not have realized but music does not just entertain, but it also can be used to encourage and elicit better speech/language skills!
Today, I wanted to share 5 easy ways you can add music to your homeschool:
1. Start the day with a song…
In a typical Waldorf homeschool, each morning is started with circle/song time. Our homeschool here is Waldorf-inspired; meaning we continue to add elements of a Waldorf school into our curriculum and school day on a continuing basis. This year we added circle/song time to our mornings. You don’t have to be a Waldorf homeschooler to do this or to benefit from it. Having a short circle time is a great way to help kids transition from a morning work or free time to their school time and is a great way to tie in themes, unit studies, and holidays into the day. For example, if you are doing a theme unit on farming/farms, why not start the day with singing Old MacDonald, or The Farmer in the Dell. If you are a Waldorf homeschooler or interested in Waldorf songs, check out this you tube channel with Waldorf songs.
2. Use songs to teach concepts, such as the Days of the Week and the Months of the Year.
This is a great way to learn these two series concepts; especially if your homeschool is less structured, does not have a calendar area, or start with calendar time. We talk about what the date and day of the week is each morning. To help the little ones learn the order of DOW we do a days of the week song. There are a couple you can do; the generic (Sunday Monday (pause) Tuesday Wednesday (pause) etc …the one everyone knows and then there is this cute one…
There are 7 days in a week,
7 days in a week,
7 days in a week,
And I can name them all!
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,
Saturday is the last day,
And I can name them all!
Now, I am sure there are lots of songs to learn the months of the year, but the one my kids LOVED and we loved singing together (and we still do) was “The Last Month of the Year” by Chris Isaak…
(One of my favorite homeschool memories is listening to my kids sing this song, cause they sang it with enthusiasm)…the fact that I am a huge Chris Isaak fan is just a bonus:
You can find the lyrics to Last Month of the year HERE.
3. Sing with your child, at least monthly, The Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.
Most of the time, homeschool moms get so busy teaching curriculum, teaching math and reading and spelling and history and science, and (you get the idea) that sometimes the obvious slip by. I learned the lyrics to these two songs, in music class, when I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. If you homeschool, you ARE the music class. Make sure your child knows the words to our National Anthem and America the Beautiful.
4. Play background music to fit the task.
There are two schools of thought on this. The first school is to not play music during school/study time so as to not interrupt concentration, the learning process or be distracting. The other school is play music. I fall somewhere in between the two.
Music is a BIG part of our homeschool. We start our day with a morning work time after breakfast where I play something motivating, something cheery. This year, as I said above, we started having a morning circle/song time to start our actual school time. I do not play music while teaching new concepts, during tasks where I or the kids are required to talk, explain or answer aloud. I do play music during some of our break/free play times. I like to play classical softly while the kids are doing independent math work. There is a debate regarding what is called The Mozart Effect. and the ability for listening to Mozart to improve tests of spatial reasoning and activities that are mathematical, but I find the kids enjoy it, it seems to aid concentration not hinder it and if nothing else will expose them to classical music and hopefully, give them an appreciation for it.
5. Invest in a resource that you can use year round, with all age groups.
It’s so great that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. A couple of years ago, I was wanting a resource of common and some not so common songs and fingerplays that I could incorporate into my homeschool days and lessons and also help me remember long forgotten lyrics of songs and carols of my childhood that I could share with my kids now. And then I found this… “Where is Thumbkin? 500 activities to use with songs you already know”. JACKPOT.
It’s categorized by month and includes song lyrics for all the songs included, and there are many that are holiday/theme related. I really can’t share with you how many times a month I pull this off the shelf to use it in our homeschool. Alot. It is one of the best $16 investments I’ve made. Did I mention it gives Curriculum extension activities, per song, for areas such as math, dramatic arts, fine motor and more? Well it does. And, as a speech language pathologist, I love that the extension activities also serve to promote and encourage speech-language and play skills.