Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hymn Study

Charlotte Mason recommended that children learn hymns. I quite agree with her. I have found that hymns remembered from my childhood often bring me comfort in difficult times. But how to teach these older hymns to my children? We attend a church that worships in a more contemporary style and while I enjoy that, I also want my children to learn older hymns.

Simply Charlotte Mason has a nice list of suggested hymns for a CM style hymn study. They also provide instructions for hymn study:

Select one hymn to sing together until all have learned every stanza. If
possible, sometime during the learning of the hymn, read together its history.
Children may also use the lyrics of the hymn for copywork, dictation, or
Another place for good information and suggestions on hymn study is the Amblesideonline website. They provide a 12 year rotation for hymn study here.

Even with all the great resources for hymn study out there I always struggled with how to make that work in our house. For awhile my children were involved in a Children's Choir at church that would learn at least one fine old hymn every few months. The kids earned points for memorizing the verses. That worked out nicely for us. But then we moved from that Church and the new church didn't do this! So we lapsed from our hymn study to just occasionally learning a hymn.

I'd like to say that I planned out my current method of hymn study, but the truth is I kind of fell into it. My children began taking piano and their teacher is really excellent at what she does. She has the gift of teaching if I have ever seen it. She loves what she does and it shows. She had my children get a hymn book that is part of their piano curriculum and they learn a hymn every week or so. So I decided to start looking up information on the hymn. We talk about the history, the person who wrote it and they learn the tune and usually two verses. Ta-da! Hymn Study! Works for us.

Little Red Riding Hood - Trina Schart Hyman

Trina Schart Hyman is a wonderful illustrator who has provided a very authentic retelling of this story.