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TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: The hidden problem of playing music by ear (and what to do about it)

Playing Music By Ear: The Hidden Problem (and what to do about it)

It’s a skill we’d all love to have – the ability to play music by ear, and not need the actual musical score. You know, sit down at the piano, and just start playing whatever tune is in your head. There are so many benefits to such a talent: the freedom to express oneself musically, versatility in being able to put one’s music to good use for economic or artistic purposes, the ability to entertain and please others…and if we see the talent of playing by ear in our children, we are usually thrilled. And why wouldn’t we be? Continue reading »

Interest-based groups for learning (& fun)

Interest-Based Groups For Learning & Fun

In my family, interest-based groups have been an important part of homeschooling life. We formed a number of these groups over the years. Some, like a history club made up of eager parents and not-so-eager young children, barely lasted long enough for a few meetings. Others have lasted ten years. The most successful has been our boy’s science club. It was started by five families with nine boys between the ages of seven and eleven. When we began it was highly structured. We met regularly at each other’s homes. Parents took turns planning a project or experiment, got the materials, explained the educational principles underlying the activity, and if things didn’t turn out as planned (actually quite frequently) it was usually a parent who searched for answers. Continue reading »

Contextual Learning: Homeschooling Through Fashion

Contextual Learning: Homeschooling Through Fashion

This year in my role as a homeschool evaluator, I met a number of tweens and teens who are interested in fashion. As we went through their portfolio of work and talked about their year, I was fascinated with the ways they had woven their interest in fashion with their academic studies. Two of the teens I met with had taken their interest in current fashion into the past — studying the typical dress and accessorizing of women and men in earlier periods of history. They also took their fashion interest international — studying the current typical dress of modern-day people in other parts of the world.

Both of these girls (who did not know each other — they had arrived at this independently) had done extensive research to be able to portray the styles of other times and other places, and they could explain how the fashion reflected the culture, religious beliefs, gender roles, classes and roles in society, and daily life. They were articulate about the historical times and geography of the world as they discussed the observations they had made about fashion in these distant centuries and far-off places. Continue reading »

Autumn Craft: Candle Making

Candle Making: An Autumn Craft

Longer hours of darkness are settling in on our part of the world with the fall season, and we could use a little extra flicker of light.

Candle making is the perfect autumn craft. The process is creative and rewarding, and the candles you and your kids make together are an autumn antidote to the days’ low angled sunlight and early arriving nights.

If I have a deficit as a homeschooling mom, it’s that I’m not very crafty, and I don’t enjoy or excel at handwork. However, making candles with my sons was one of our more successful craft endeavors, so I’m sure you can do it. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom - Can Creativity Be taught?

Can Creativity Be Taught?

For thirty years I have been asking these questions, and more: What is the best method for teaching art? Should art only be taught in art classes? Should art classes be discipline-based, process-based, or choice-based? Do certain ages and stages of aesthetic development correspond particularly well with one form of self-expression or another? I have embraced the search for these answers since I first knew that I wanted to be an artist and work with others at making art. While I was a homeschooling parent using Oak Meadow to teach three of my five children, I searched for the best responses to these questions. Now, as an art teacher for Oak Meadow’s high school and as a college professor who teaches others to become art teachers, I continue this quest for understanding how to support creative expression in students. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Nurturing the Gift of Music, Part 1: Babies and Music

Nurturing the Gift of Music, Part 1: Babies

As homeschooling parents, we have a prime opportunity to encourage musical development in our children. Maybe there are genetic factors that will limit how far the kids can develop, but parents can provide an environment that helps musical talent have a chance to flourish. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: The Effect of Music on Learning

The Effect of Music On Learning

Compiled By: Online Colleges Guide Continue reading »

You CAN teach your children a Foreign Language

Languishing in Languages? Let me show you how to teach foreign language through the ages! Ages Birth to Five: For many children, this age range is the best time to start. Before you spend a lot of money on DVD’s, CD’s, “language learning systems” and masses of extra flash cards, take some time to think about your child and your goals for the language. Continue reading »

Unmasking "The Phantom of the Opera"

Behind the Mask: What ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Taught Us

The great thing about following your child’s interests is that they are infinitely more interesting than anything you could dream up on your own. I’m not exactly the spontaneous type. I like my ducks in a row (a really, really straight row). The only thing I like better than making a list is crossing things off that list. But what I’ve found is that if I rein in my compulsiveness a bit, my children lead me to heights my list would never permit me to go. That’s how our love affair with “The Phantom of the Opera” began. Continue reading »

Easy Art History & Appreciation for Homeschoolers

Easy Art History and Appreciation

Art appreciation (or the study of art history) need not be difficult. You don’t need a fancy curriculum or a complicated plan. You simply need the desire to enjoy, along with your children, the beauty of God’s creation as depicted over the centuries by outstanding artists. Continue reading »

Subdue Guilt About Art Instruction In Your Homeschool

There are a number of things a homeschool family can do to subdue the guilt monster when he sneaks out from among the curriculum guides. The first thing we did was create a craft box. (Now, our crayons, colored pencils, markers, pencils, blank paper, scissors and glue sticks are such a part of our everyday school and afterschool life that I don’t include them as special art supplies.) I filled the box with all of the supplies that had previously been floating around the house. This included finger paints, water colors, pipe cleaners, felt and fabric swatches, buttons and brayers, the hot-glue gun, elmer’s brand glue, goggly eyes, stickers and old magazines. There is a surplus of craft-based idea books and websites to choose from so that you can best utilize these supplies. However, this only worked to squash the guilt for a short time. I was concerned about real art skills, not opportunities to make crafts. Continue reading »