Sometimes homeschooling your kids means stepping out of your comfort zone and teaching subjects you’ve never taught before. Even if you’re somewhat familiar with a topic, teaching it to someone else makes you go another step to understand it better.
We just finished up learning about the Beethoven and the orchestra, and while I knew a little bit about him and I spent several years playing the flute in band, I had never tried to teach anyone about instruments or classical music, so I had to look for some new resources to share with my kids. Here are a few of the things we used!
- Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin: I used this book with my three year old, but if your older kids aren’t familiar with different kinds of instruments this is a good introduction for any age. There is also a Reading Rainbow episode of this book if you want to watch it right away!
- Beethoven’s Wig: Sing Along Symphonies: This CD has different pieces of classical music with silly lyrics added. Both of my kids love this! I like classical music, but it all just kind of blends together in my head, but with this CD, the pieces stand out more because I have lyrics to associate with each one. There are several different CDs in this series and I am planning to get some more!
- The Story of the Orchestra: This book and CD set is a very thorough introduction to all of the instruments in the orchestra as well as different eras of classical music and the major composers from each period. Each page tells you which track on the CD to play so you can hear the different instruments or composers. Yes, you could probably find all of this for free on YouTube, but for $15.00, I think it’s well worth it to have all of the text and sound all there for you.
- Classics for Kids: This is a great website for anyone who wants to learn more! There is information on different composers and time periods, orchestra information, and games!
- The New York Philharmonic KidZone: Explore the orchestra online with this really fun website. It has composer and instrument information, games, and even a place for you to make your own music!
Hopefully these resources will give you a place to start if you’re unfamiliar with classical music and composers. Remember that part of the fun of homeschooling is getting to learn along with your kids! Have fun with it!