Blog

Learn About J.S. Bach

Bach is my favorite composer. His music is the essence of beauty, organization, and spirituality.

A composer study of Bach will enrich your child in many ways. Not only will they learn about the man and his music, they will learn about the Baroque Era, geography, and much more.

THIS is why we should study composers - because they give us a window into history. Music reflects  fears, dreams, and values. Music is a window into the soul of a time period. 

And of course, giving our children the gift of beautiful music is just that -- a GIFT -- one that will keep giving for the rest of our children's lives.

Learn About JS Bach

About Johann Sebastian Bach

"Bach was born in Eisenach in 1685"

(This is a fun rhyme your children can memorize.)

When I begin a composer study with my children I always use an engaging biography as our spine. I am partial to the Opal Wheeler Composer biographies. Sebastian Bach, the Boy From Thuringia, is such a beautiful story.

Of course there are other Bach biographies -- but I love this one because young children can relate to the composer as a child themselves.

Perfect.


The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach wrote over 1,000 compositions.  In 1950 a special cataloging system was created for Bach's works, the BWV System.   (This essentially, when translated, means Bach Works Catalog.)  The works are grouped by theme, not by date composed, so a low BWV number doesn't necessarily mean it was written early in Bach's career.

Bach wrote music for chamber orchestra, harpsichord, pipe organ, and voice. He was prolific to say the least. 

The best way to expose a child to any composer's music is to first IMMERSE them in the compositions, and then to teach them how to listen discriminately (more on that in a minute!). 

I play the music in the car, while the children are working, basically everwhere.   You will be amazed at the effect beautiful music has on children.  Following are 5 of Bach's most famous works - play them for your children over an extended period of time.

Brandenburg Concertos

Sheep May Safely Graze

Toccata & Fugue in D Minor

Air on the G String

Ave Maria

 

Bachpipeorgan.png

JS Bach: Composer Spotlight

As part of my SQUILT Music Appreciation curriculum I have written a JS Bach composer study.

In this study your children will receive biographical information, and a detailed study of three pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach.

(You can see the table of contents here.)

This study does more than scratch the surface of the music of Bach, it allows our children to dig deeply, ANALYZE the music, and develop the habit of attention needed to listen for the many details in Bach's music.

 

 

Do you study composers in your homeschool?

 

Thanksgiving Bingo For Kids

Thanksgiving is a time for making memories.

My kids always remember me reading The Great Turkey Walk and Silly's Tilly's Thanksgiving Dinner  (And of course, my favorite has always been The Thanksgiving Story.)

We fondly remember Oreo Turkeys and lining the Thanksgiving table with butcher paper to record our thankfulness when the children were little. 

Take the entire month of November to make FUN memories with your kiddos -- memories you all will be THANKFUL for.


Thanksgiving Bingo for Kids

Aren't you amazed at how much kids love BINGO? When I was a teacher my students would do ANYTHING on the promise that we could play BINGO.  As a homeschooling mom I love having BINGO games for co-op and other fun times.

This FREE download includes 6 printable BINGO player cards and 24 calling cards.

I'm also including a list of books below that are our favorites for this time of year.

 

Download Thanksgiving BINGO For Kids


Thanksgiving Books for Kids

 

 

Homeschooling For The Long Haul: Cultivating Habits for Success

There is a big difference between homeschooling and homeschooling WELL. 

Really stop and think about that. Are you educating your children, or are you educating them WELL? Are you going through the motions, or are you being intentional about schooling (and LIFE) - with the goal of homeschooling for the long haul in mind?

We must create space and time to ensure things of beauty are placed center stage.  We must create time and space to cultivate our own habits of excellence.

We're cultivating beautiful young people, not checking off boxes.

The years go by quickly, and we owe our children an excellent home education.

Getting it done WELL begins with the homeschool parent and their ability to cultivate effective habits.

Homeschooling for the Long Haul

MY HABITS are far more important to the success of our homeschool - because my children will model my habits.

And when all of our habits are worthy and true, our homeschool is more apt to succeed.

I wish someone would have laid out these simple things for me when I started homeschooling. I was too concerned about which books to read, which curriculum to choose, and which co-op to join. I needed to start with these BASIC, SIMPLE things and work from there.


Five Habits for Homeschool Parents

As we discuss these five ways, consider the beautiful words of Charlotte Mason (Volume 1, p. 135): 

Modeling Learning For Children

 

Discipline

This is a big one for me.  What about you?

What does discipline look like for the homeschooling parent?

Do we set a schedule and/or routine and stick to it? Do we get up on time and model the habits necessary for a successful day?

Are we true to our word? If we set a rule for our children, is there an immediate and effective consequence when it is broken?

If we begin a project in our homeschool, do we stick with it and see it through with excellence?

 

Choose an area where you struggle with discipline. Perhaps you lack a consistent morning routine in your home.  Make a vow to yourself to change this. Start small - maybe it is getting up at a set time and making sure everyone is dressed and sitting at the breakfast table by a certain time - then see over time if your children don't notice and respond accordingly.

 A Morning Time with consistently beautiful, inspiring materials has proven to help with the discipline of a good morning routine. 

 

Simplicity

An effective homeschool is one that isn't bogged down in so much "stuff" that children cannot find their math book.

An effective homeschool - one that works for the long haul - is one where children have time and space to discover and appreciate beauty.

A simple homeschool is one where mama knows how to stay in her own lane and doesn't worry about keeping up with what everyone else is doing. 

Homeschooling for the Long Haul

 

Self-Education

Self-Education is of supreme importance for the homeschooling parent. 

Are we constantly modeling a spirit and habit of inquiry? Do we take time to read the classics - especially when we are requiring the same of our children? 

Do we attend conventions or conferences to further our growth? 

Learning doesn't stop for us simply because we are TEACHING. We are the chief learners in our homes!

Some things on this mama's nightstand recently - a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. I love to read and learn and then talk with my children about these things.

We are creating a culture of education. This is important.

Faithfulness

This can be so so difficult.  When we have had a string of bad homeschool weeks and it seems as if our children are just meant to be in "school", it can be daunting to remain faithful to our commitment to homeschool.

When we have "that child" that seems to be testing every boundary we have, faithfulness can elude us.

Do whatever it takes to remain faithful. Remain in the Word. Confide in friends. Put your homeschool on "hold" for a month or so until you can gather the courage to begin again.

Remain faithful and you WILL be rewarded.

When I was a little girl my mother always told me (after I'd had a bad day) that things would look better in the morning. I'm sure maybe you've heard this. Well... it IS true.  God's mercies are new each morning, and sometimes they are new each hour in our homeschool.

His Mercies are New Each Morning - Homeschooling for the Long Haul

 

Being In Community

This one has been the hardest for me in our homeschool journey. 

Finding your homeschooling "tribe" can be difficult.  Have the courage to know when something is working and when it isn't. 

Have the courage to keep seeking out friendships and community until you find the right one.

Community is important.  The support of a community is essential if you are going to homeschool for the long haul.

We cannot homeschool alone. We need friends to lift us up and support us in our journey.  We need a friend to go out to coffee with. We need a group of girlfriends to go away with for the weekend and just LAUGH.  Our children need this, too. They need to see us getting together with families who have similar values and goals. They need to be surrounded by loving, caring adults. 

In my case there were several families who were intentional about building community - and yes, it was WORK, but it has been WORTH IT. 

 

Let's homeschool WELL.  I know you can do it!

 

Download my free eBook - You CAN Homeschool: Encouragement for the Journey.

 

Is there a particular habit YOU struggle with in your efforts to homeschool well? Share it with us in the comments below.