Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom
Many educational philosophies, including the Charlotte Mason method, place a high priority on music and art study as a way to inspire children and surround them with greatness.
The idea has always intrigued me, because though I’ve always wanted to enjoy classical music, it doesn’t come naturally to me. So during my homeschooling career I’ve been on the lookout for resources to inspire not only my children, but myself as well.
Here are a few ways I’ve found to do so.
If the only time children ever hear classical music is during “school” time, it’s unlikely to become a long-lasting passion. The first step, therefore, is exposure.
Purchase or get from the library some good CDs highlighting various composers (These are the ones we like), and play them as you go about your day–during meals, while the kids do artwork, and so on.
Charlotte Mason schools often study the music of one composer for a whole term. You may find that your kids will begin recognizing specific aspects of musical style if you follow the same principle informally at home.
Charlotte Mason might not approve of what I’m about to tell you, but the series of CDs called Beethoven’s Wig has taught me more about classical music than all the hours of listening I’d ever done before.
Beethoven’s Wig takes well-known classical pieces and adds lyrics to them–often hilarious lyrics that are memorable and also provide facts about the composer. After listening to the songs with words, each CD also includes the pieces without them.
Photo by amazon.com
Some may not consider this completely educational, but my three (currently ages 7, 6, and 5) have been exposed to a great deal of classical music through the children’s show, Little Einsteins. As a busy mama, I personally have no problem with a quick fix that entertains, educates, and means I can make dinner in a peaceful kitchen.
Each episode features the work of one composer and one artist.
While at a homeschooling conference two years ago, I heard about an out-of-print series of chapter books based on the lives of composers. I filed it in the back of my head for when my kids were a bit older.
Well, we recently finished reading our first title in the series, called Mozart: The Wonder Boy. It did not disappoint. Each book shares the story of the composer’s early life, really providing a context to the music produced. Many titles in the series are now back in print, and some even come with an accompanying CD.
I learned so much from our Mozart study and enjoyed every minute!
As homeschooling parents, we don’t have to be worried about music and art being taken out of our curriculum during budget cuts. Instead, we can add the influence of music to our daily lives in gentle ways that enrich our homes.
Have you found any other helpful classical music resources?