Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Short and to the point...

"Resistance to change is proportional to how much the future might be altered by any given act.”
~Stephen King, 11/22/63

I read Stephen King's 11/22/63 for a book discussion and I really liked it. The book made me think not just of plot and storyline, but of deeper questions pertaining to life in general.  And while there is a plethora of quotes from which to choose to exemplify why this book makes me think, this one seems to sum it up for me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Music Appreciation Resources

As I continue to plan out the school year, I am trying to come up with a fun course of study for music appreciation. For two years we did a monthly composer study. This worked well, but last year I switched to an orchestra study - this did not work well.  My girls asked to learn more about composers and "go back to the way we used to do music."  So I began searching the web. In the course of my search, I found several free resources I want to share:

Famous Composers: This website, put together by a piano instructor, offers free music appreciation for elementary children.  In my opinion, these biographies and lessons are a great starting point. It would be easy to add in picture books about the composer, additional musical selections, etc. If your child plays an instrument it would also be fun to learn a piece of music by the composer being studied (there are many free easy arrangements available online). 

Classics for Kids: I've posted about this website before, and it's worth posting again. Classics for Kids offers wonderful biographies, podcasts, fun worksheets, an interactive timeline, lesson plans, a map... and much more. Each month, the website features a composer but you can access information on previously featured composers as well. Overall, this is a wonderful addition to any household.

Notebooking Pages: This website offers several free notebooking pages for both music and composer studies, as well as every other subject (you must create a free account in order to access all freebies).  In addition, for around five bucks you can buy all of the composer study pages if you are interested in doing a long-term or more in-depth composer study.  I have used notebooking pages in the past with great success - after listening to a biography and a music sample, we've used the pages for narration. At the end of the year I bound the pages into a spiral notebook.  I used some Notebooking Pages and some I created in Word (if I knew how to upload them, I would share them!). 

Making Music Fun:  What a great find! This website offers so much to homeschoolers - games, biographies, charts, fun videos, cross-curricular worksheets and lessons plans, and more. And it's free! There are also resources for students playing an instrument - sheet music, practice charts, etc.  Overall, definitely worth checking out. 

Carnegie Hall: Carnegie Hall offers free music appreciation resource at this website.  From here, select which of the four resources you would like to utilize.  The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra is, in my opinion, especially excellent. Students join Violet & her uncle on a safari through the orchestra. There is a version for teachers and one for students. Check it out!

That's all for today! If I come across additional resources I will share them. Feel free to add resources as a comment and when I update the list I will incorporate them into my post!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Years ago, I read a book with a great title: Pears on a Willow Tree.  This phrase came from the main character's grandmother, who called wishing for the impossible "wishing for pears on a willow tree."  She pointed out that if you want pears, you need to plant a pear tree. I was thinking about this today. For whatever reason, humans seem to fixate on the things we can't change, the things beyond our control, out of our hands. Often we go about our days without making the changes within our control, wishing for changes without.  What would happen if we all acted? If we moved to make differences, to affect change in our lives for the better? From the mundane to the magnificent, we each have the potential to alter our reality and improve our lives, our world... if only we plant pear trees.