Here’s a little feedback on our Hymn Study the past six months:
As Charlotte Mason suggested, we learn a new hymn each month and we sing it about 3 days each week.
On introduction, I play a CD of the hymn and tell the children a bit about the author of the lyrics and the person who created the melody from my book 101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck.
Because some hymn words are unusual, old-fashioned and difficult, the kids use their dictionaries to look up the meanings. We like to use Jimmie’s Hymn Study notes and she has loads of other tips and links on her Hymn Study Squidoo Lens. Usually we refer to our Hymn words each time we sing.
I wish I could say that we learn all the words by heart, but we haven’t. We usually remember some verses and we all sing the chorus with confidence, but some hymns are quite long. Also, some of the recordings differ in verse order or leave verses out.
I realized that my children are quite sensitive to the music style of the recordings. If the instrumentation or singing style is “too country” or old-fashioned or even “too opera”, they are put off. Certainly, they do not enjoy singing to the Midi files on the Hymn websites!
So if they disliked the style of a hymn, I tried to find other CD recordings …
But here’s my solution … I (try) play the music on my guitar. I do not play very well and I am not very musical (although I really wish I was), but we can sing the basic hymns. When we sing together it is more intimate and I am encouraged by the kids’ response. We sing together and here’s the best part – my 11-year-old has taken up the guitar and can play some of the hymns and other worship songs.
So, here we are 6 months into our Hymn Study and we …
- know some and are very familiar with several beautiful hymns
- love the words and images of these hymns
- find the words and melodies a real comfort and faith-building
- join with others in church fellowship
- sing them outside alone, or together while walking or working
- are learning to play them on the guitar
Because my children are still young, 8 and 11-years-old, I am confident that we will grow in the appreciation and understanding of our hymns as we keep to our schedule.
I pray that as we learn hymns, a deep and authentic spiritual deposit is laid down in my children’s lives.
Are you put off hymn study? Is it too much to add to your schedule?
Perhaps you could gently introduce an easy and recognizable hymn and learn it together. Don’t worry about making it a full lesson. Perhaps just start each day with the hymn playing in the background while they come to the school room. Maybe teach the chorus and join in and sing it together. Let them talk about the images the hymn inspires – pictures they visualize while they listen. Gradually add a little depth to this with a quick scripture reference or vocabulary extension. Who knows, you could have a short, but in-depth hymn study time?
Blessings as we sing our praises of Him,