Music resources for homeschooling families
Homeschooling, home schooling, or elective home education (EHE)… you can call it as you like it! In any case, 2020 was a huge year for homeschooling, in every way. Because of the pandemic, more families had to spend time at home with their children, and parents took an active role in their education (sometimes with some disappointment given by the uneven level of education the traditional schools were able to offer through online platforms). But every cloud has a silver lining! The opportunity to find out that children can, and do learn at home has changed the minds of many. All sorts of myths about homeschooling have already been debunked, and we can only expect this tendency to keep growing in the following years.
However, despite most parents being ready to offer their children the requested preparation in basic subjects such as English or maths, several families find themselves unable to include music in their homeschooled children’s CV. They may already know all the benefits that learning music at a young age offers, but not being musicians themselves, they feel unprepared to teach this or other artistic content. On the other hand, because most US States don’t require music as mandatory content, there are fewer resources available for those families that want to include it anyway.
If this is your case, don’t give up on music yet! In this article, we will guide you through some valuable resources you can find out there, perfect for homeschooling families who want to add music to their children’s CV, and remind you of good reasons to do so, even if it’s optional in your State.
Why teaching music to a homeschooled kid?
Where to begin? There are countless reasons! We have already offered a first-hand experience when we interviewed Sara from Itscoolmom.com, who does not only have plenty of experience homeschooling her girls but is also a psychologist, and in her own words, “Having a great option for teaching children about music in the homeschool environment is highly valuable and should be a part of every kid’s homeschool experience at some point”.
In fact, learning music is not only pleasant, but it also offers many cognitive advantages to every child: it develops their attention span, their concentration, their memory. Children who take music lessons are more perseverant, have a way to deal with frustration, and become more flexible as they take different approaches to understand and put their lessons into practice. Music gives them tools to overcome social difficulties, such as being too shy or suffering from stage fright. So your kid should take music not only because it’s fun, but also because music turns any student into a better learner!
What does your State require?
If you decide to homeschool your kid, the first thing you need to find out is what the local legislation has to say about it. Here you can find a complete State-by-State list, and, as you can see, few states demand some sort of artistic required subjects: California asks for “visual and performing arts” from grades 1 to 12; Maryland, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania specifically include music in the requested subjects, and so do New Hampshire and Washington, “an exposure to and appreciation of art and music”. Other States as Indiana, Montana, Idaho, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, or Illinois expect that homeschool instruction must be comparable to the one obtained in public schools. Some States require fine arts, or visual arts (not music, which is considered a performing art). And finally, some other States make no specific requirements or request that the instruction must be given in English, and that’s it!
So depending on where you live, your kid may go all through their education without learning music at all. And that would be a pity! We imagine if you’ve read up to here you don’t want that for your family. Of course, no State prevents you from adding subjects to the mandatory CV: you can always add music, despite not being requested! And fortunately, there are ways to include music in your child’s CV even if you can’t teach it yourself.
A list of music resources for homeschooled children
There are some interesting websites your child can use to learn music at home while having a great time!
- Khan Academy offers interesting articles for learning about music history and music theory. It’s great for middle and high school children. And it is free!
- Easy Peasy All-in-one-homeschool: It also offers a few free music courses for different ages.
- The Smithsonian Learning Lab is another interesting website to explore when searching for music resources.
- The Chrome Music Lab offers fun experiments for children to learn on their own, and allows them to create their own melodies, learn about harmony, arpeggios, chords, music theory, all through a beautiful, user-friendly interface which makes it appealing even to preschoolers!
Your kid’s cell phone or tablet may also support apps such as Music Tutor Sight Read, My Piano Assistant, Ultimate Guitar Tabs, Mobile Metronome, Chordbot Lite, or Musical Piano Pro, which are great tools if they are already taking music lessons, and can help them learn on their own despite not having you around to teach them the basics.
And if I want my kids to play an instrument?
You don’t need to be a musician to be a homeschooling parent whose children learn music, but surely you could use a little help! Fortunately, several web pages offer some free online music lessons, such as Piano Nanny, Guitarlessons.com, or the Online Academy of Irish Music, to name a few, while others offer paid lessons, such as Takelessons.com. We have already given you a comparison between Nabi Music and the former, or between paid online lessons and free video tutorials. We’ll insist that Nabi Music is a great complement for any homeschooling program, but you can also sign up your child for a free online lesson and see for yourself!