The Importance of Art & Music
May 9, 2018
Mercy Every Minute  
Never underestimate the power of music and art in your homeschool. 

Homeschooling is a daily journey of trusting God for the future of our children. It is a walk of faith since we don’t know which activities will ignite the flame of their future. But, we can tend to squelch their natural bent to get the “more important academics” done. In many cases, art and music are the important academics (colleges often give scholarships for just these areas!) these kids will need.

When your children take art classes, visit art museums, and meet artists of all kinds, you just may be preparing your child for a future in art. When they take music lessons, go to symphonies, and join choirs, you may be preparing them for a full future in music. All of these things could be involved in the shaping or revealing of God’s gifting within them. 

Art can be important for those right brained kids who need help learning or expressing themselves. Art can be the hands-on outlet some children desperately need. Art could be the entrance into a future career. 

Music instruction can calm down an active child, giving him a few minutes of concentration. Music can soothe the brain of the overly stimulated child with sensory issues. Music opens many doors for the future. 

Music and art draw people in and may open hearts and minds in a way no other method can. Music and art are welcome almost anywhere and people will stop to look or listen. It is an avenue to spread the Good News. 

As we allow God to guide our homeschool path, and trust the outcome to Him, He brings forth what He knew all along was in each child.

“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

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With you on this walk of faith,

~Deborah
dwuehler@theoldschoolhouse.com
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A friend of ours was driving with his teenaged daughter. He turned on the radio and found it was tuned to an oldies station.

“Oh, I haven’t heard this song since I was in college!” he said, and started singing along. 

His daughter listened a moment, then asked, “Dad, what did he just say?” 

He stopped, took a double take, and blushed. “You know, I haven’t thought about the lyrics since then, either. Why don’t we just turn this off?” 

Our kids’ taste in music and art is pretty pliable when they’re young, and their early opinions about art will be influenced by the examples we give them. Often, too, we have tastes that we formed before we got serious about our Christian walk – and maybe haven’t examined since we came to Christ. 

Francis Schaeffer said that all of creation is subject to our king, Jesus – including the creative arts. The arts are a way we express the inexpressible, to worship and praise the glory of our Creator! But like all good gifts, these can be misused. 
We need to teach our kids to recognize good art – is the singer, writer, painter, or producer, skillful in his art form? Is their work well done? Do they demonstrate good technique? A performer may deny the existence of God, but sing Handel’s Messiah beautifully – and glorify God in spite of himself. That’s good art!

But we have to recognize that sometimes, even the best “art” has a very bad message. An elderly lady was noticed returning the season’s shocking novel to the library. “Miss Betsy!” said the librarian. “I never expected you to be reading this!”

Blushing, the matron said, “Well … it’s so beautifully written!” 
Don’t be that lady! We need to be honest about our media and entertainment, and teach our kids the right questions to ask. Does the movie celebrate brutality? Does the painting communicate hopelessness and despair? Does a catchy song revel in sinful behavior? Does the novel undermine the truth of God’s Word—and the faith of the reader? 

Hebrews 5:13-14 says the mature believer has learned to distinguish good from evil “by constant practice” (ESV). We protect our young children from the world’s influence, but we need to teach our older kids to recognize both the artistic skill and the underlying message of the media they see. Soon they’ll be in a world without our filters, and we want them to know how to evaluate their choices – and then choose good art with a good message! If you’d like to know more, come get our workshop “Media-Proofing Your Kids” at RaisingRealMen.com/discern – it’s free! 

In Christ,
Hal and Melanie
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Tracy Klicka
Home School Foundation,   www.homeschoolfoundation.org
“Teach my kids art and music? I could never do that!” you might be thinking. While studies show that formal instruction in both subjects are beneficial to children, there’s a lot of “gold in them hills” you can provide your kids, even if you can’t afford formal lessons or teach these subjects yourself. God created music, and doing art is a natural way to reflect His image as our Creator.

Let’s Start with Music 

Growing up, music was such a part of my life that my mom had this saying for me; “You sang before you talked, and you danced before you walked.” Although I didn’t have any formal music education in music until I reached about age fourteen (the recommended age to start studying voice), I sang and performed from second grade on. I loved it so much, I went on to study music in college as a voice major. Back then however, I wasn’t aware of how good music is for our well-rounded development.

While people traditionally think of music as a right-brain activity, studying music uses both left-brain and right-brain skills. Listening to music, especially classical music, develops children’s transport synaptic function, part of which leads to greater learning and memory. In addition, listening to classical music regulates a known-risk gene for Parkinson’s disease and increases levels of dopamine, also known as the the feel good hormone. I bet we can all think of songs or styles of music that lift our mood.

Worship, big band, and smooth jazz all do that for me. Other types of music, such as gentle lullabies, or soft instrumental or orchestral pieces benefit us by soothing us.

Music is also a natural pathway to teaching memory skills. Kids can learn just about any kind of information when the words are put to music – scripture, hymns, scientific terms, historical dates, and even geography. I still remember the fifty states in alphabetical order because of a song I learned in my seventh grade choir.

Combining movement with music can increase our children’s sense of well-being and awareness of other cultures while they develop coordination, rhythm, balance, and small motor skills by using finger games and playing simple musical instruments.

As I did with my children, I regularly sing songs with my grandchildren while we dance, march, or do hand motions to my singing. We are making great memories together and they always ask for more!

Some easy ways to incorporate music into your homeschooling:
  • Take your kids to concerts—many are free.
  • Intentionally listen to music of different cultures, styles, and genres.
  • Use hand motions and small percussion instruments and movement for your younger children.
  • Sing together—children’s Bible songs, hymns, and worship music; patriotic and historical songs, songs from musicals, and even silly songs (all of which my grown kids still remember!).
  • Listen to classical or instrumental movie soundtrack music while your kids do workbooks or reading, and upbeat musical styles during chores or meal prep time.

On to Art

While I was heavily involved with music growing up, I had little formal exposure to art. I knew art was good for my kids’ development, though; so I regularly took my kids to the National Gallery of Art for special exhibits and we would occasionally look at art books during our weekly afternoon tea.

I also did a little happy dance when God provided a wonderful art instructor, a homeschooled mom who lived just minutes from us. She not only taught all of my kids, but as they got older, I even took some classes from her. It’s what turned me on to art in a way I had never before experienced. 

Some of the benefits of seeing, learning about, and doing art:
  • Uses both hemispheres of the brain
  • Develops eye-hand coordination and powers of observation (color, shape, perspective)
  • Balances out predominantly left-brain academic work
  • Provides a healthy means of expression
  • Can have a healing effect on children who face health, learning, or environmental challenges
  • Ability to sketch or paint is a great addition to kids’ writing journals

What are you waiting for? Help your kids more fully develop, and have some fun together in the process! 

Tracy Klicka , the widow of former HSLDA  attorney Christopher Klicka, is a homeschooling mom of seven, now adult children. As a seasoned homeschooler and gifted writer and speaker for over 20 years, Tracy has addressed thousands of parents at homeschooling conventions and women’s events, has contributed to Christianity Today , regularly writes for national homeschool publications, and has contributed to her late husband’s books on homeschooling. She currently serves as Director of Development for the  Home School Foundation , the charitable arm of HSLDA , which helps families homeschooling through hard times. She also blogs at  www.TracyKlicka.com  and for HSLDA’s  Everyday Homeschooling   blog column.

She can be reached at  tracy@homeschoolfoundation.org .
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Stacy Farrell
Do you have a soundtrack for your life? Songs you listen to when you feel victorious? Songs that bring comfort when you’re feeling blue? Songs to give you energy when you clean house or exercise?

Music has an amazing ability influence to our moods, which, in turn, can influence our actions. That’s powerful.

We would be wise to educate our children on the power of music.

MUSIC IN OUR STORY

My husband is a guitarist. The first time I met him, he was backstage getting ready for a concert. The second time I saw him, he and his brother joined a mutual friend for a jam session at my house.

I quickly fell in love with his music. A few months later, I fell in love with him.

After we married, he pursued a career as a studio guitarist, and I began writing “The Great American Novel.” We didn’t plan to have children.

However, five years into our marriage, I became pregnant—and our plans changed.

My husband loves playing guitar, but when when he became a dad, he set aside his musical aspirations and dedicated himself to supporting our family.

I’ve never met a more dedicated father.

MUSIC IN OUR HOMESCHOOL

When my sons were big enough to hold my husband’s travel guitar, he began teaching them how to play it. As they grew a little older, he bought them their own guitars and taught them music theory, techniques, and how to care for their instruments.

They quickly became competent guitarists.

We often talk about the most significant purpose for music: “Music is made for worship!” Today, both my sons are equipped to lead worship on guitar.

Music has “played” an important role in our homeschool.

Listening to music together and asking questions has sparked some lively discussions:
What attracts you to a particular piece?
What mood does it inspire?
What story is told by its lyrics? Is it edifying?

MUSIC IN OUR CULTURE

We seize every chance we can to develop critical thinking and talk about how music impacts our culture.

(I firmly believe that critical thinking is one of the most valuable tools we can put in our children’s toolbox.)

The late atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, made this sinister statement:

“Education should aim at destroying free will so that pupils thus schooled, will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished….and in order to condition students, verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective....”

When I first encountered Bertrand Russell’s comments about such dangerous objectives and blatantly manipulative methods , I was shocked (to say the least). However, they only deepened my resolve to help my sons and other students develop critical thinking skills.
MUSIC IN YOUR HOME

Music is a tremendous gift. Unfortunately, as Bertrand Russell demonstrates, it can also be tremendously destructive.

Do you have any guidelines for what music your children are allowed to listen to?

Given the powerful nature of music, I urge you to be proactive and engaged!

With love & joy (Phil. 1:4),
Stacy

P.S. - Our family has been working on a resource that will help students begin their adventure into the world of guitar. It features biographies of godly guitarists and covers basic gear, exercises, and techniques. Click here to join our list, and we’ll let you know when it’s released!

Stacy Farrell is the author of more than ten books on a variety of topics, including time management, motherhood, manhood, philosophy ( Philosophy Adventure), and writing. This year, she is a featured speaker at the Great Homeschool Conventions. Although she loves to write, speak, and teach, Stacy considers her role as wife to Roger and mother to two precious sons to be her greatest work and privilege. Learn more about her resources at HomeschoolAdventure.com
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Does your child show an interest in art or music, but you don’t want the mess and fuss of loading everyone up for lessons and driving all over town? Did you know that you have access to 15 art and art history courses and 9 music, music history, and music theory courses as a member of SchoolhouseTeachers.com? They are all included in your membership. Whether you have elementary students just learning the basics or advanced students wanting to sharpen their skills, you can encourage their talent and interests all from the convenience of your home. 

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in the latest issue of
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Contest Corner  
For the month of May


Recently, we had the opportunity to use The Master and His Apprentices: Art History from a Christian Perspective, by Gina Ferguson. ( . . .) The student text of The Master and His Apprentices contains 19 chapters on art throughout history, plus an appendix with additional information. Every page has at least one full color reproduction or image related to the topic; most pages have several color images! I was blown away by the quality of the graphics and appropriateness of each image chosen.

The introduction to this text explains the author's philosophy of God as the Master and all other artists as apprentices. Right away you can see this will definitely be a text written from a Christian perspective. The author explains how timelines will be used throughout the book to allow the student to relate various artistic periods to historical events and to the Bible. The book was written after the author experienced the need for a more family-friendly approach to art history, where nude works of art are excluded, making the text safe to use in family lessons. Still, the book does not suffer in its ability to provide proper high school level art history instruction.

Even with the Teacher Guide, the author states this text is not intended as a comprehensive art history resource, but as an introduction. She encourages students to research further their favorite artists and periods. Even as an introduction, The Master and His Apprentices covers a good deal of art history in the 19 chapters of the book:

  • Ancient Cultures, including Ancient Near East, Egyptian, and Aegean
  • Classical Antiquity, including Early Greek, Etruscan, and Roman
  • Middle Ages, including Early Christian and Byzantine, Medieval and Islamic, Romanesque, and Gothic
  • Renaissance
  • Baroque to today
  • Non-Western Art

The text is organized chronologically and includes a good deal of history from the time frame and geographic location being discussed. One might even say it is a history text written from an artistic point of view. Each major era includes a timeline that compares the major Biblical events with the comparative world and art events. Then, a complete timeline for all eras is included in the appendix. Major works of art have headings that list the type of work and the estimated, or known, date of completion. Nearly all types of art are covered in this art history text: architecture, sculpture, pottery, painting, mosaics, engravings, and illuminations. ( Read the rest of the review.)

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