Schoolhouse Teachers
May 11, 2016 Edition 
Classy and Classical: Go Heavy on Art and Music
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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family
How important is art and music in our homeschool? I always like to answer questions with Scripture:
But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand (Isaiah 64:8).
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 voice (Psalm 33:2-3).
God is an artist, and God loves music. The Scripture is full of this revelation. If we want our children to be like Him, we should not dismiss these two avenues. And, we should never underestimate the power of music and art in a child's life. It just might be their future.
Art: Only God knew that one of our children would end up as an art major, because we certainly didn't know. But, early on, and by God's direction, we became involved in art classes, visited museums, entered contests, and met artists of many kinds. All of these things were involved in the shaping of our son's gifting from God. Not all of the kids became artists, but they all grew in art knowledge and appreciation. The children also began to understand the creativity and artwork of God Himself, through observing His creation. God is not only an artist, He molds and shapes each child, and has good works for each one to do. Let's get them creating art and copying the Master Artist Himself in all we do.
Music: We also prepare our children in music for whatever their future may hold. We don't know what that will look like, but as we allow God to guide our homeschool path, He brings forth what He knew all along was in each child. God thinks music is very important, and 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. Let us worship Him in song, and teach our children to do the same.
Trust God to direct you as you walk this path of obedience. Sometimes, you don't know which activities will ignite the flame of your children's future, but often it is their required courses where you see the flame start to flicker. Too often, we squelch their natural bent to get the "important academics" done. In some cases, art and music are the important academics (often colleges give scholarships for just these areas!) As you search for what is best for your children, ask the God Who loves music and art to give you His wisdom for each one.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
P.S. Here are a couple of articles from our back issues about art and music:

Art Achieve Draw The World_

Easy-to-teach art lessons inspired by art and artifacts from around the world. Sophisticated results. Copious cross-curricular links. Code reduces normal 25% discount by another 20% :
Raising Real Men    
There is so much art and music rushing at us today in our media-soaked world, we found we needed to have a rule of thumb to discern whether something is worthwhile.
Francis Schaeffer was one of the foremost Christian thinkers of the 20th century. He believed that Jesus was Lord over all of creation, including the worlds of art, music, cinema, and literature, and called for Christians to boldly reclaim their place in the creative world-for His glory!
In his book, Art and the Bible, Schaeffer points out two very important truths. First, every work of art has a message-something underlying the artist's work. Even if he's not trying to tell a story or illustrate an idea, the artist can't help working from the framework of his view of life, the world, and man's place in it.
At the same time, there is a certain amount of skill on display in any work of art. Is the composer, performer, painter, or sculptor a master of his art, or is he struggling to define his style? Is a work well-done or is it sloppy or crude?
In other words, you have "art" and you have "message." And these can be good or bad, in either combination.
That's a great way to teach your kids to be discerning users of all media. Always ask first, "What's the message?" Good art recognizes that God created a world that is beautiful, that has a certain organization to it, and is consistent in its workings. Good art shows people can act with kindness, courage, and integrity; it shows that evil is ultimately punished, but evil people can be redeemed. Good art shows the fingerprints of the Creator!
It doesn't have to be a Bible verse or story-with-a-moral to reflect God's design. Look at Rembrandt's works; some were vivid illustration of stories in the Bible, and some were landscapes and street scenes from 17th century Holland. Any ugliness was realistic, not monstrous. His work has a respect for God's dealings with people and the elements.
At the same time, we have to be aware of the skill of the artist. It's not just to admire and honor the accomplishment, but to recognize that skillful art can draw our thoughts and imaginations-in either direction!
A friend of ours was driving with his teen-aged daughter when a song from his college days came on the radio. Without thinking, he began singing along with the well-remembered lyrics-until his daughter asked, "Daddy, what did that line just say?" Sheepishly, he turned off the radio and admitted, he hadn't really thought about that song in the many years since he came to Christ. It actually wasn't an appropriate thing for believers to celebrate, but the melody was still attractive and the performers great in their field.
That's the trap-a catchy tune, a well-drawn figure, or a dramatic scene may all be well-executed art, but communicate ideas that we shouldn't applaud. Good art, but a bad message! Instead, let's set the example for our kids by seeking out good art, with a good message, and explaining why those are both important.
For more on teaching your children to be wise in consuming media, get our workshop, Media-Proofing Your Kids, free when you sign up for our newsletter here.
In Christ,
Hal & Melanie Young 

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Contest Corner 
For the month of May 2016  
We've all heard the term "Intelligent Design" in reference to creationism, but Jay Schabacker uses the term "Purposeful Design" to go one step further. It takes the concept of Intelligent Design, and emphasizes the personal aspects of the way God created everything in our universe. His book, Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation, is a gorgeous book that not only tells the wonders of God's creation, but shows the beauty and majesty of the world around us. The 94-page book retails for $18.95.
When I first saw Purposeful Design, I thought this bright picture book would be perfect for my second grader. As I started reading, however, I realized that it was better suited for my seventh grader. The colorful pictures appeal to younger students, but the text is written for older students and even adults. I checked a few sample passages and found the reading level to be at least sixth grade; several passages, scored at a high school level in terms of readability.
This book is divided into seven chapters, each dealing specifically with a single day of creation. The chapters are packed with examples of how God's design for our world is perfectly arranged, so that life can exist the way we know it. For instance, in Chapter 4, we find that the 23.5 degree tilt of the earth's spin axis allows us to have seasons the way we know them. In addition, several examples are given to show how the earth orbits the sun in a precise and repeatable way.  The sunrise and sunset times for a specific day and a specific location are constant from year to year, only varying by two or three minutes. The builders of Stonehenge arranged the rocks so that the sunrise would shine through a specific hole in the site on the Summer Solstice (and only on that day).
I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite section of this book. Each chapter is packed full of interesting scientific facts that illustrate how perfectly the universe works, how each animal is perfectly suited to its environment, or how perfectly each aspect of the human body is designed. Even after reading through the book from cover to cover, I still found myself picking it back up to reread a section or two--how the human head was designed, why ice floats, or what beautiful stars can be seen through the Hubble Space Telescope. (Click here to read the rest of the review.)
YOU can WIN this beautiful book!
TO ENTER: Email Heather ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Purposeful Design" for a chance to win* it for your family! 

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