This "Where to Begin" series is written to answer the most common question members ask me- "Where do I start?" This has especially been an issue as we have added so many new materials this last year. This mini-series is the first post to help you see a path among all the trees. This post is especially for Homeschoolers.
Music Education for Homeschoolers
Before my music college days, I was a homeschooler. Now I am honoring my alma mater as I homeschool my own children, so I know a thing or two about the homeschooling movement. More than anything else, the materials on this website are inspired by my desire to make it easier for parents to create a musical environment for their children in the home setting. Homeschoolers often have multiple children at different ages and abilities, as well as different interests.
Sometimes getting a child started in music is the hardest part. Sometimes a child just needs to approach music from a different angle. Different children thrive on different learning approaches. Many parents know that music education is important, but struggle to make it a core subject alongside traditional subjects they are more familiar with, such as math and reading. Others simply want to create a music learning environment for "eclectic" or "unschooling" learning. If any of this describes you, I believe the materials on this website will be a real treat. Let's take a closer look.
Babies and Toddlers
Don't forget the youngest homeschoolers! Traditional rhymes like Pat-a-Cake are a fantastic way to engage tiny children in song. They use gross motor skills learn poetry and learn more about the big, unfamiliar world all in one fun activity. I love finger plays! The best collection I have found was written by Emilie Poulsson and Cornelia Roeske and is now in the public domain.
We have created videos for each of the 18 Finger Plays to help you learn them. There are also color-coded melodies and printable crafts and activities to go with some of the songs. Some more ideal for early elementary, but others, like "Baby's Ball", are absolutely perfect for babies.
The early learning enthusiasts will be interested to know that "Beginning Rhythm", with its oversized rhythm cards, was inspired by Glenn Doman's "How to Teach Your Baby to Read", as well as many elements of our "Solfege Train" program. I begin using these materials with my own children when they are old enough to walk and do simple puzzles.
I love preschoolers! Many of our products are ideal for young, beginning musicians whether they are preschool aged or early elementary. We have an entire article dedicated to using these materials with preschoolers. The cliff notes? Start with "Beginning Rhythm", "The Solfege Train", our Nursery Rhyme crafts and activities, and go on to early piano.
While our preschool suggestions will be great for any young beginner, the elementary years are a fun time to expand their musical horizons and encourage them to explore other instruments in addition to piano. It is also a time to learn (or solidify) basic music theory skills such as reading notes and becoming more proficient with rhythm. Here's a closer look just a few of the materials we have to offer.
Our Ukulele mini-course is taught by Brooke Palmer. She put together 21 lessons for us, teaching everything from simple chords to more advanced strumming techniques. We are really excited about this course. She's a great teacher and her videos are fun to watch. You can learn more about Brooke on her facebook page.
While I still plan to create a recorder course some time in the future, our family has been fully enchanted by the ocarina, and we think you will be too! These instruments come in a variety of fun shapes, including specials for Zelda, Mario Bros, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Pokemon fans. Our family's ocarinas all come from STL Ocarina. We have created special flashcards and color-coded tablature for 10 songs and plan to add more to this collection soon. This instrument is so fun!
Mother Play Songs
Froebel's Mother Play songs is a collection of 46 music videos featuring songs about music from Froebel's classic Kindergarten curriculum. There are songs about nature, homesteading skills like feeding chickens and milking cows, and classic childhood games like guessing foods as you taste them and playing pat-a-cake.
There are also musical settings to poetry by great authors like Robert Louis Stevenson. It's great repertoire for children! Childlike themes with art-song qualities.
Middle School Years
Admittedly there are not as many materials on our website that are ideal for middle-school homeschoolers. For beginners, our ocarina, ukulele and piano courses are certainly age appropriate, and we are working on creating more advanced theory videos this school year, although this collection is in it's infancy.
Our Christmas and Irish piano collections have early-intemediate songs that were written with this age group in mind.
Some of our "Adventure Pack" materials will be especially appealing to young adults. Our piano chord wheel and some of the card games are a great place to start.
There are also a lot of fun stand-alone activities in the members area, such as the Lego Piano Build-a-Scale activity and origami projects that will be appealing, as well as our Boomwhacker songs and rhythm pages.
While our materials geared towards high-school level music education is very sparse, we can provide tremendous value to youth who are looking for ways to develop their entrepreneurial spirit. Soon these older homeschoolers will be on their own and they'll need a way to support themselves.
From my own experience, I can tell you that teaching piano during high school and college was a great job to have. It was flexible, paid better than other entry jobs offered to teens, and fueled my passion for early music education.
One of the best parts of being a member is that while you are a member, you can print off our printable and share them with your students. A high-schooler teaching piano lessons can offer to provide their students with sheet music printed from our site. (You may not sell our materials). Our "Beginning Rhythm" and "Solfege Train" each come with an e-book with tips on how to teach the materials. There are fun activities and crafts to enhance what they can offer as a babysitter.
It's never too early to learn self-employment skills and music lessons are a great way to add a little extra family income in your spare time. Our website is filled with fun activities to help high-homeschoolers get started, and if you reach out to me, I would love to mentor you/them through the process.