Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Unexpected Gifts

By Maryann Turner
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #20, 1997.

   Pin It

Maryann Turner

Stop! Look! Listen! God surrounded Himself - and us - with beauty. After the miracle of Creation, He said, "It is good." In appreciation for the many gifts we have been given, I feel that enjoying those gifts is the most gratifying act we can do in honor of the vast beauty of it all.

Sometimes we get so mired down in the "ugly" that we fail to take the extra steps necessary to teach our children to soak in the wonders of creation . . . the sights . . . the sounds. Obviously, we are not all classical musicians or talented artists, but we all have been given the gift of wonder. We can wonder at the vastness of the world in front of us. We can wonder at the miraculous depth of every single creation. We can wonder at the design of even the smallest detail. That wonder should be instilled in our children. We should teach them to look, hear, and celebrate life.

Growing Your Gifts

Art and music are gifts that can be nurtured in our children, so that they flourish and grow. First we need to reflect upon our own choices of how we choose to use the talents God has given us. To encourage our children to enjoy music or learn to play an instrument, we need to show them the importance of music in our lives. The same thing can be said about art. If they see us enjoy the artistic beauty around us - whether it's musical, on a canvas or simply the colors of the sky on an autumn day - they will come to appreciate the liveliness of what they hear and see. Imitation is a great teacher!

Once the interest is sparked, homeschooling gives us many opportunities to arrange lessons for a child with interests in art or music. There are a variety of ways to accomplish the feat of teaching art and music, but first the desire has to be there. For us, private music lessons have been a great outlet for our children's musical talents. There are many self-teaching music programs and videos available, but our children like the one-on-one, personalized instruction they get from their piano teacher. Of course, some parents are very capable of teaching their own children to play a variety of instruments.

And let's not leave out singing and choir! Many churches have choir available for our youngsters, and in most areas there are organized choir classes for homeschoolers. The opportunities for a variety of music experiences are usually at our fingertips.

But the love of music should start when they are babies! Sing, laugh, play, and enjoy music with them when they are small; and they will always remember the joy associated with the sound. You don't have to possess a wonderful voice to impress your child . . . in fact, many giggles can be brought forth with a voice like mine!

Art and music fit in the same mold. Children should first see the beauty around them, and learn to appreciate it. Charlotte Mason gave wonderful advice. Let them draw what they see! Encourage them to express their feelings in sketches, watercolors, pastels, and all the other avenues available to them. Let art become personal to them before you try to teach them about the art of the past.

Artful Miss Sharon

We were so blessed by a very special lady that lived in our community. She was a wonderfully talented artist. She was battling cancer and unable to continue her very busy schedule, so she offered to teach our children art. Yet she taught them so much more than art! She took them into the fields to sketch what they saw. She brought the wonders of nature inside for them to watercolor. She talked about creation and God's design, and she taught them to respect life and God's plan. She told them of the things she had experienced in her lifetime. She took them places with her wonderful stories. Places that they had never been before. She even taught them to rescue box turtles from the middle of the road.

She was very special and unique, and I feel God brought her into our lives for many reasons. They learned things about art that I never could have taught them. But more importantly, they learned lessons about life, and unfortunately death, that only Miss Sharon could have told them in her own words. We lost Miss Sharon a few months ago, and it was a very sad experience for our children; but the lessons she taught the children will last a lifetime.

I share this with you to encourage you to look at all the possibilities for bringing fresh ideas into your homeschool, because God does bless us in unexpected ways. Now when we read about great artists or see a reproduction of a great painting, the children smile and remember their dear friend. Their appreciation and respect for all of God's gifts grew enormously with this experience in their lives.

The best way to teach art and music is to live it. Immerse your life in it instead of making it a separate subject. Enjoy it! It's contagious! After all, you can look all around you to see God's canvas, and just listen to the birds to hear God's composition! As Miss Sharon would say, "You have to feel the color. You have to be part of your picture."

Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

University of Nebraska High School
Free Email Newsletter!
Sign up to receive our free email newsletter, and up to three special offers from homeschool providers every week.

Articles by Maryann Turner

What is Unschooling?

Education Just Happens... Does It Really?

Getting Ready for College in the Early Grades

The Most Significant Scientific Discovery of All

What is Our Job as Parents?

This Land is God's Land

Doing It All Can Do You In!

Unexpected Gifts

Community Service?

You Don't Have to Be Perfect... Just Smile!

Play Ball!

Celebrate the Simple!

Popular Articles

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

Montessori Math

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

Laptop Homeschool

Classical Education

Myth of the Teenager

AP Courses At Home

Phonics the Montessori Way

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

Teaching Blends

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

Narration Beats Tests

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Critical Thinking and Logic

Bears in the House

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

The Charlote Mason Approach to Poetry

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Teach Your Children to Work

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

Shakespeare Camp

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Getting Organized Part 3

Combining Work and Homeschool

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

Whole-Language Boondoggle

The History of Public Education

Start a Nature Notebook

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

University Model Schools

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

The Charlotte Mason Method

The Gift of a Mentor

Who Needs the Prom?

I Was an Accelerated Child

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

A Reason for Reading

Character Matters for Kids

The Benefits of Debate

How to Win the Geography Bee