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I'm a stay-at-home Dad suffering from Fibromyalgia. I homeschool my daughter and lead worship at my church. I'm also a gamer and a geek and proud of it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teaching Tuesdays: Making Music

So this semester at our homeschool co-op I will be teach a music class to 2nd and 3rd graders focusing on percussion instruments. This got me thinking about all the ways you can incorporate music into our homeschool programs. First off I think we can all agree that music is highly beneficial to our children's learning, both from an cultural and educational standpoint. Music is one of the few things that can unite people of different cultures all over the world. Studies have also shown that music helps with cognitive ability and logical reasoning.

So how do we introduce music to our children? Many of us have little if any musical background, but that is no excuse in our modern day and age. With the internet we can research almost any topic, music included.

The first thing I would recommend is letting your little ones drum. give them some pots and pans and some chop sticks or pencils and let them experiment with different items. Let them discover that each item has a distinct sound. Older children can learn to repeat patterns and eventually create their own rhythms. 

Musical instruments don't have to be expensive either. Sand pails make excellent drums and don't discount those toy xylophones when teaching about toned percussion. Again older students can use them to create their own compositions. Also inexpensive kits that include tambourines and hand bells are great for little ones to express themselves.

Music can also help to enhance learning especially when it comes to memorization. Set a list of facts to a well known nursery rhyme and you have a powerful mnemonic. For example sing the following to the tune of This Old Man:

North America
South America
Europe, Asia, Australia
Africa and Antarctica

I mean how many remember School House Rock. You can still get them on DVD and there are plenty of Geography and Bible memory song CDs out there.

So next time your homeschool lessons seem to be dragging try adding a little music to the mix and see where it goes.

I would love to here how you use music in either your homeschool or classroom. Leave a comment below!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Stocking Up

So over the holidays, I was perusing my local Ocean State Job Lot when I came across an interesting cookbook. It's called "The Stocked Kitchen Cookbook" and after reading the back cover blurb I was intrigued. The cookbook  stated that with their one shopping list I could prepare over 100 different recipes. Hey I was game.

After reading the introductory pages and scanning some of the recipes, I decided to use their system. Though I would of course modify it because I can never leave anything alone.

The system is fairly simple, I'm sure most folks use a similar system but it was something I hadn't really thought about. The basic premise is that you have one master grocery list that contains everything you need to make all the recipes in the book. It's similar to using a build to list in a restaurant for ordering. Of course as I said before, some modifications needed to be made. For instance, the list included herbs de provence, and poultry seasoning, neither of which I will use, the first due to allergies abd the second due to personal preference, there was also very few sundry items on tge list. Also there were certain items that were missing from the list that I use in many of my own personal recipes, ie. allspice.

After revamping the list based on my own personal tastes, I went through my kitchen and crossed off the items I already had on hand. Then I went shopping.  The benefit of this was that I now had all the ingredients on  hand for anything I wanted to make. I was even able to use a recipe I found online right away because I had all the ingredients on hand.

Overall the system, or at least my modified version, is working for our home. So what about you? Is there a system you use to keep you pantry stocked? Let me know in the comments below.