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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How We Forged Our Own Homeschool Curriculum

T practicing his guitar
Finding a homeschool music curriculum - joys and concerns...

As a homeschooling family, music has always been an important aspect of our curriculum. The problem that I have always had in this though is that I am not really musically inclined. I mean, I took classes when I was younger and with effort, I can still remember how to read notes. However, the problem that many face with teaching their children to sing or to love songs is finding a homeschool music curriculum that works best for them. It can be challenging when the teacher (in this case, the parent) is not well versed on a subject, and music is no different.

How We Did It - A Personal Homeschool Music Lesson Story

When our oldest was about six, he claimed that he wanted to play the guitar. Personally, I thought it was a fleeting idea. Afterall, while he liked music, he never really had any inclination to play. He wouldn't sing in front of people and he was nervous about even dancing. I told him that he had to learn notes and that it would take a lot of practice. Before I was willing to pay someone to begin teaching him, I wanted to make sure that it was going to be money well spent. So, I made a deal. Remembering my own woes of trying to learn guitar - it hurt my hand, it was difficult, I felt awkward holding a guitar... I told him that if he wanted a stringed instrument that he would have to start with something easier. He chose the piano.

We were able to barter for piano lessons. Lucky us, the husband is a massage therapist and apparently that is a barterable skill. For almost a year, until we moved, T had a weekly lesson. He kept up on his notes and he showed us that he was serious. Rarely did we have to remind him to practice. He kept to his word and we kept to ours. We got him a guitar. Oddly, while he says that he liked the guitar more, he wasn't happy with the homeschool music curriculum we had planned out, which was hiring someone to teach him. He wanted more. We decided to include sessions with a friend and encouraging band play. Unfortunately, we moved a lot and he didn't get as much of this as he would like, but to this day he is still playing. Currently, we are looking for a new guitar teacher in Boise and starting over on his homeschool music curriculum. Now that he is older, we are incorporating music history into the mix. Thankfully, we know how to look for a new teacher and have had a lot of experience in making homeschool music curriculums work for our family.

How Much Do Private Guitar Lessons Cost? 

One of my initial questions, especially since we started off bartering, was how much this was all going to cost. I found that depending on where we lived, prices for guitar lessons differed. Denver guitar lessons cost us about 45.00 an hour. Boise guitar lessons were closer to 20.00 an hour. Guess it's a good thing that we moved to the "Gem State"!

Encouraging Online Learning

There are many places online that help with homeschool music curriculums. One of the best resources that we found for history lessons. Luckily, we found Confessions of a Homeschooler early on in our search. They have a great guide to what works and what doesn't. My son found some help from Khan Academy as well. If your child is in an online school such as K12, they also have a comprehensive program. Of course, you can also look around online and find the right fit for you too. Much of what is available online is geared towards kids of different ages. Looking back, I should have begun with all of this earlier than I did. This is a mistake that I will be correcting with our youngest child!

What about you? Do you have any good online music programs that you like? Please feel free to share! We are trying to find out more too!


Liese4 said...

Ummm...I thought ID was the 'potato' state. I just found out on a commercial the Ore-Ida fries are made with potatoes from Oregon and Idaho, I had never thought about it, I thought it was just a made up logo name.

Willa Campbell said...

Sadly, until I moved here... I did too. However, when we were out in the boonies of Payette, Idaho... we passed the OreIda factory quite often and it. all. made. sense!!!!