There are many lovely ways to begin your homeschool day. We usually start with Bible time, a very simple routine including a hymn, a Bible reading and a prayer. We choose one hymn to sing for the week so they children can really learn it. I’ve truly enjoyed seeing all the ways that hymn singing is a blessing and a help to our homeschooling!
Of course, the most obvious benefits of hymn singing are the spiritual advantages. The Lord inspired writers to compose the 150 Psalms of Scripture that they might be sung because music is a natural aid to memory. We remember so well what what we sing!
I cannot count the number of times I have been encouraged, reminded, or corrected in my thinking as I go throughout my day simply because I’m singing a snatch of an old hymn. It’s amazing what truths can be brought to mind simply by overhearing a child humming as she sweeps the kitchen floor!
Regular hymn singing in your home also helps your children to engage in the worship of the church. If you sing during the week the songs that are likely to be sung in your church on Sunday morning, even your pre-readers will be able to participate. Recently, we’ve focused on the hymns with choruses so that our very littlest guy can have one part he knows well!
In addition to the truths and topics of the hymns, most hymns are rich with beautiful language, metaphor, and illustration. Hymns were often originally written as poems and only set to music later. Familiar hymns can be a great way to introduce and discuss poetry as a genre. Familiarity with hymns can help children to quickly understand the cadence and rhythm of poetry recitation.
Hymn singing is also a great help to children who are learning to read. Studies have shown that children of two deaf parents often learn to read earlier because they watch television with closed captioning and quickly make associations between written and spoken word. The same thing happens with hymn singing when emergent readers follow along in a hymnal as they listen to the family or congregation sing.
Another advantage of hymn singing is that, in order to match the lyrics with the melody, the words of hymns are often divided into syllables. As children follow along in a hymnal, they naturally become accustomed to seeing words as collections of syllables and where those syllables are divided.
Extending the Learning
All of the benefits I’ve listed above are things that happen naturally simply by singing hymns as a family or in church. However, as homeschoolers like to do, there are many ways to extend the learning into other disciplines!
Even if your children aren’t enrolled in formal music lessons, you can help them to understand the basics about musical notes. Teach them about how many counts each note or rest gets. Herein lie many possibilities for math and fraction conversations as well! If you have students who are learning to play an instrument, they may wish to learn the hymn of the week to accompany the family.
Another way to dive deeper into the hymn you are learning is to read a biography of the hymn writer or even a the story behind the hymn itself if it is available. Resources like this one include not only that information, but other extensions such as vocabulary, copywork from hymn selections, and discussion questions.
However you choose to begin your homeschool day, it doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. The discussions you have, the memories you make, the seeds of learning you sow will be with your children for a lifetime. “For it is precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, a little here, a little there.” (ESV Isaiah 28:10)
Lynna Sutherland blogs at Homeschooling Without Training Wheels, where she loves to remind moms (and herself!) of the freedom and flexibility that come with homeschooling! Lynna and her husband have seven children. The motto of their homeschool is “Wisdom Is the Principal Thing” from Proverbs 4:7. You can also find Lynna on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Lynna hosts a private Facebook group called Family Schooling without Training Wheels specifically for encouraging parents in multi-age homeschooling and outside-the-box approaches to meet the needs of their unique family.