Homeschooling through the holidays with music is not only easy, but it gives me the excuse to dance around the kitchen belting out Christmas carols. Not only can my children do nothing but stare at me in embarrassment, but we get to count it as school!
My kids made me start listening to the "Holly Channel" on the radio the day after Halloween, so I'm pretty sure I'll be sick of Christmas carols by Thanksgiving. But, it did make me realize we could take our love of all things Christmas music and turn it into an educational rabbit trail.
There are so many ways to study music during the holidays that I couldn't possibly list them all. Here are some of my favorites.
Homeschooling through the Holidays with The Nutcracker
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words Christmas Music Unit Study is The Nutcracker. It is the quintessential holiday performance. Each year we attend the Nutcracker. This year our youngest won a part in the Nutcracker. So every weekend for the foreseeable future is booked with ballet rehearsal, but at the end we will get to see a performance featuring our own little Sugar Plum.
Some Nutcracker Study Resources are:
Homeschooling Through the Holidays with Christmas Carols
Since we sing Christmas carols for at least six weeks straight, we should probably take a little time to learn more about them. I recently discovered the music program, SQUILT.
SQUILT is an acronym for Super Quiet Uninterrupted Learning Time. This music appreciation course is "Open and Go." It requires virtually no planning on the part of Mom, just print out a few sheets for the kids to use while you open up your laptop and follow the instructions.
We opened up our SQUILT Christmas Carols unit study and started with a favorite Christmas carol, Carol of the Bells.
Step 1: Listen to the carol performance. Eyes must be closed and there are to be no interruptions. Just listen to the performance.
Step 2: Listen to the performance again, but this time note the different instruments, tempos, rhythms, and dynamics.
This time we also watched the video of the performance so we could see the musicians and their instruments.
Step 3: Listen to different renditions of the same piece of music and determine which performance we liked the best. The girls came up with a star rating system.
Rabbit Trail Step: So, this part wasn't on the worksheets, but it's what we do here in our homeschool. As we were listening to different renditions of Carol of the Bells, we were directed to listen to an impressive performance of Pirates of the Caribbean and Phantom of the Opera performed solely with handbells. We were very impressed and I noticed the next YouTube video was of Bohemian Rhapsody. This led to the realization that my girls had never heard this masterpiece in musical history. So, of course, we had to watch the Queen version and I had to field all sorts of questions about the clothes, makeup, and hair of Freddy Mercury. And, then I had to relate my one and only experience of driving the streets of LA blaring Bohemian Rhapsody from the rental car windows as a teenager. Once again, one of the most memorable moments of my young adult years was lost on my children. Now, I guess we'll have to watch Wayne's World. I can only imagine the questions and rabbit trails that are to come.
Some other fun Christmas Carol resources: