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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


April 17, 2013 


Teaching Music 



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler 
and family


I just read an article about the fact that music instruction at an early age 

is excellent for developing young brains and helps children with right and left brain function. It is worth making music a goal in your child's education. There are many other reasons for considering music instruction. Here are a few benefits that have helped my own family:  
  • Music lessons help active children learn how to be still and concentrate for a given period of time.
  • Children with sensory issues find that music soothes their over-stimulated brains. A headset of classic or worship music may be just what this child needs to concentrate on schoolwork.
  • Some children who have a difficult time communicating are adept at singing and learn to communicate through music.
  • Music instruction helps children with fine motor skills.
  • Music practice develops the ability to make important things a practice of habit.
  • Music is another way to reach the soul. Make sure the music in your home is inspiring and uplifting.
  • Music can help with Scripture memorization.
  • Music can help with depression.
  • Music is welcome almost everywhere. It is an avenue to spread the good news.

God thinks music is very important, and you will see that it holds a place of prominence throughout the Scriptures. It is an aid in worship, and an expression of the thoughts and the heart. It is used to soothe the soul, to lead an army into battle, and then lead in the dance of victory as well. There were singers and musicians, and music makers in the temples and tabernacles, and at the city gates. From Genesis to Revelation, music was revealed as an important aspect of human life, just as it is today.   


As you search for what is best for your children, ask the God Who loves music to give you His wisdom for each one.  


Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.  


Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.


Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.


For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. Psalm 33:1-4



TOS Senior Editor   


Sponsor Article

When I read the theme for this week's article, my mind started to race. What could I write about on the subject of music in your homeschool? I struggle to tell Bach from Beethoven. How could I possibly have anything to say about the value of learning from classical music?


That's when I caught myself. Who said you can only learn from classical music? I didn't listen to much classical music growing up. As for composers, I was far more acquainted with Roy Clark than Johann Sebastian Bach. And Elvis was played far more often than Mendelssohn. We enjoyed country music, oldies rock 'n roll, and Gospel, and I learned from all three.


Have you ever noticed how much history you can learn through music? Break down the lyrics of some songs you grew up with, and you'll likely find some terms and phrases that your kids will need explained to them. I did when a song referred to "grape Tru-Aide" and "pedal pushers." Your children will likely stumble over antiquated words like "cassette" or "VCR."


Most importantly to me, music has always been a way I have learned about God. Whether a song encouraged remembering Scripture verses, praising God, or finding rest, music made a difference. And when a scary figure on television scared a very small little girl, my mom played Elvis singing "His Hand in Mine" until I could fall asleep.  


Encourage your children to enjoy the music around them-and to make some of their own! has several great teachers who are experts at helping families enjoy music together. Joy Sikorski's Music/Voice unit this month incorporates astronomy and history into a lesson designed to help your family enjoy the night sky and sing about it. Jerry Jennings has a great Guitar class on the site this month that will help you write your own song, learn how to use a Capo, try a new shuffle pattern, and more! Cindy West , one of our newest teachers on the site, is bringing a 16-week course on the Charlotte Mason Style of homeschooling. Coming up in a few weeks, Cindy will look at simple ways you can incorporate composer and hymn study into your homeschool.


And, coming this summer, violin lessons are joining! Watch the What's New page for details.

Bonnie Rose Hudson

Editorial Assistant



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The Familyman

Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries 

There's got to be some great quotes about music and the joy it brings to families . . . but I can't think of any as I type this from a Walmart parking lot in Amarillo, TX. This weekend we'll be in Albuquerque, NM, at their state convention. And that's the perfect lead in to this week's topic--music, because we'll listen to lots of it as we travel there.


Music has always filled our home. We've gone through stacks of tapes and CDs and now have entered the digital age. Music sets the tone for our house, whether it's music to evoke the spirit of Christmas, praise music to keep our lives focused on what matters . . . or travel music to help accompany us as we travel down the road.


In fact, we have scads of travel music. That's the great thing about iTunes. I can pick and buy the music that I know we'll love as we travel the highway. 


So as we travel the mother road of Route 66 out west, I have songs about Tulsa, Amarillo, Houston, and Albuquerque. We play and sing those songs over and over, and they serve as reminders of where we've been in years to come. 


That's the great thing about music; it points the heart to what matters. 


On a scholarly level, we've never had our children study music history or theory. Not that it's bad, I just would rather them experience and enjoy it firsthand.


Well, we're off. Today is a great day to play "Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts.


Be real,




Take a fun and interesting look at The Story of Energy and Its Exciting Future with a free E-Book unit study. Students will explore energy production and consumption in the U.S. Simply email for your FREE copy and also to learn how to get potential discounts/savings on your energy bills.

Diana Waring
Diana Waring

Relational Homeschooling 


Dear Friends,


I'd like to take a slight detour on today's topic, and talk about "Music after homeschool." Why? Because I know that others will talk about all of the great opportunities homeschool kids have when it comes to music, the creative ways we can encourage music in our homes, and the amazing music that can come from homeschoolers who have the time to practice (unlike their peers in school who don't!).


But, after this past weekend's experience, I have a fresh perspective and an incredible insight for you about what is coming.


Now, you all know that eventually your kids grow up, right? You realize that all of the mega-time you are spending changing diapers, teaching reading, cooking meals, refereeing arguments, studying to stay one step ahead of your kids' learning--all of that is, one day, going to come to a screeching halt. I can even name the day: Graduation. Even your baby will one day graduate.


We lose sight of that in the midst of the busyness. At least, I did. I didn't really grasp, until the night before my baby left for college, that it was all coming to an end. She was playing piano, as she had done for several years, and I suddenly realized that she was playing all of her old favorites, all of the pieces she had labored so long to perfect . . . I realized, with a shock, that she was saying goodbye to the life she had known.


But, here's the deal. When it comes to an end, which it will, life goes on.


Shall I say it once more? Life goes on.


And, dear ones, it can actually be incredibly sweet, filled with things that you never had time for during the busy years of being a homeschool mom. I know. I have begun to experience the sweetness.


In January of this year, more than thirty-five years after my last experience of singing with a college choir, I stepped back into a world of music that I had nearly forgotten. A friend had told me that our local university had a symphonic choir, made up of alumni and community people, who performed with our local orchestra. And, at times, they also joined with the university choirs to do significant musical works. This year, the symphonic choir and four university choirs were going to perform Beethoven's 9th Symphony. If you are unfamiliar with the 9th, it is the music of "Ode to Joy," and one of the most joyous pieces of music ever written. To my astonishment, I was able to join and sing the most difficult music I have ever sung.


On Saturday night, to a packed house, in an absolutely beautiful performing hall, I sang with a 185 voice choir (most of whom were college students) and a professional orchestra. Sunday night, I sang the 9th again in a different venue, with an 80 voice choir and another professional orchestra. It was the most thrilling musical experience of my life . . .


So, friends, I'm here to tell you that there is life after homeschool. And, part of life after homeschool includes having time to do what you love most. Including music.


Remember, stay relational.




P.S. I'll be at MACHE this weekend in Rochester, MN. Be sure to come say "Hi!" I'd love to give you a hug!!




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Raising Real Men 

Hal & Melanie Young


Melanie worried about how she was ever going to teach our children music. After eight years of piano lessons, she still can't play chopsticks. It was pretty intimidating to think about trying to make sure our children had the musical background we wanted them to have. She managed to muddle through, though, and now we've got a family full of music lovers. What's the secret?


Just listen. Probably the most important thing we did to help our children love music is to surround them with good music. We bought CDs of classical composers and popped them in when we were in the car. (That was a real sacrifice for Melanie. Her favorite music is silence.) It gave our children a taste for complex, artistic, time-proven music, and that made it worth it!


Make making music available. Teach your children that they can make music, too. Sing to them and sing with them. It doesn't matter if you can't carry a tune in a bucket (Melanie certainly can't!)--your children won't know the difference until they're old enough to overlook it and show Mom a little respect. Make rhythm instruments--put some dry beans in a toilet paper tube and tape up the end, staple paper plates together with rice or macaroni in them, or create your own ways to mark time and make a rhythmic sound. Put on a music CD or turn on the radio and let them play accompaniment. As they get older, get some inexpensive instruments around the house--a recorder, a bongo, bells, or a good xylophone. Get a second hand piano or a guitar, if you can. Challenge your children to learn to play at least one song on each.


Reach out for help. Our homeschool support group organized a small band program. Over the past several years, we've had leadership from parents with musical experience, from school music teachers who wanted to earn a little extra income, or from gifted older students. Look for retired people in your church or community who might be interested in sharing their knowledge of music, or pay a more experienced student to teach your children what they need to know.


The important thing is that our children really learn to love and appreciate good music. Remember Melanie's favorite music is silence? Can anyone tell us how to stay sane in a house full of music lovers, all playing or practicing or singing something different????


Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie


P.S. We'll be speaking at 11 more events over the next several months, from North Carolina to Nampa, Idaho to Phoenix, Arizona, and back! If you'd love us to stop over in your area along the way and speak in your church or support group, email us at and let us know where you are!


Would someone tell us how you are supposed to stay sane in a house where everyone is playing music--all different?




Coming up this month . . .


Preparation, and Peace

Featuring Kendra Fletcher 



If you need a boost of encouragement and some fresh ideas for gaining peace in your homeschool this coming school year, then join Kendra as she shares from her home where eight children reside.


Kendra Fletcher is the homeschooling mother of eight, ages 20 down to 4. She has never homeschooled without the presence of preschoolers, and loves to encourage other moms beginning their homeschool journeys with little ones underfoot. She is the preschool columnist for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and the author of a popular E-book about creating a Circle Time for your homeschool. Her homeschooling website and blog can be found at, and her personal author blog can be found at


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Creation Revolution     


"When you look at some of the crocodilians, they almost look like they're smiling. That largely depends upon how their teeth are arranged in their mouths. If you take a closer look at those smiles, you will see a large number of small dark spots in the skin above and below that beguiling smile. The spots are known as dermal pressure receptors (DPRs) . . ."
Read more in the article Secrets of a Crocodile's Smile.
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
Contest Corner 

For the month of April, 2013  


Classical Acts and Facts History Cards from Classical Conversations


It is with distinct pleasure that I share my experience with Classical Conversations; however, to call it a curriculum would not capture the essence of what Classical Conversations (CC) is about. To use their own description, CC is a mission, a model, and a method. The mission is to know God and make Him known. As a model, CC combines classical education and a Christian worldview. As a method, CC creates communities that support parents in implementing curriculum in their own homes, i.e. parents supporting other parents. Therefore, the curriculum I discuss is intended to be used within a CC community in order to reap the benefits of the curriculum and the program to their fullest. CC has program and curriculum offerings for children aged pre-kindergarten to high school. Communities also work together to provide childcare for younger siblings.


(. . .)


Classical Acts and Facts History Cards: all four sets: Ancient, Medieval, New World, and Modern World ($22 per set). These cards are gorgeous! There are 172 total cards. The plan is to focus on seven historical event cards each of 23 weeks. The remaining 11 cards list the U.S. presidents. The front of the card contains a beautiful picture of artwork or a photograph to help connect the event to be remembered with the image. Also on the front is the title of the card/event, a date reference, and one of seven symbols to represent an historical age. The back of the card contains the title and date again with some detailed information about the historical event. Children memorize all 161 events during every year's cycle. There are also a timeline running vertically up the left margin with an indication of where the card's event fits in history, a small world map, and a number in the upper right corner to help keep the cards in order. All the kids I have seen are delighted with these cards. I keep the seven cards we are studying each week out on a large presentation board. The others store nicely in a 5" by 8" plastic card file box.


Read the rest of the thorough review here.



Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Classical Conversations" for a chance to win* the full set of history cards for your homeschool!
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