In the Spotlight: 4 Charlotte Mason-Inspired Hymn Studies

More Than A Charlotte Mason Moment 

In the Spotlight:  4 Charlotte Mason-Inspired Hymn Studies in HOD

Charlotte Mason loved hymns so much that her students learned three hymns every term. At Heart of Dakota, we share Ms. Mason’s love of hymns! In fact, we include hymn study in 4 of our guides. Rotating Charlotte Mason’s inspirational subjects such as hymn study makes each year fresh, helps students enjoy each inspirational subject fully, and maintains a nice balance of inspirational and disciplinary subjects. It also helps cover many Charlotte Mason inspired skills that might get overlooked if they were attempted to be done every year! Charlotte Mason inspired subjects such as poetry study, nature study, composer study, picture study, Shakespeare study, and more, all make their way into certain Heart of Dakota guides. However, hymn study has such a special place in our hearts that 4 of our guides include it. Furthermore, 3 of them are now Heart of Dakota published!

Bigger Hearts for His Glory’s Hymn Study

Hymns for a Kid’s Heart: Volume I is our first hymn study, and it is part of our Bigger Hearts guide. Authors Joni Eareckson Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth collaborated to create this special study of 12 hymns. Each hymn begins with an inspirational true story about its hymn-writer, which provides context for deeper insight of the hymn. Children learn each hymn by singing along with other children’s voices with an accompanying fully orchestrated CD. Printed simple sheet music makes it easy for children to practice and follow along as they sing. Tenderly written devotionals with Scripture connections further deepen the hymn study and help children understand more about God’s character and grace.

Missions to Modern Marvel’s Hymn Study

One of the most common questions we get asked when children finish the hymn study in Bigger Hearts is, “Will we get to do another hymn study like that again?!? My children loved it!” Well, the answer is ‘yes!’ Missions to Modern Marvels uses Hymns for a Kid’s Heart: Volume II as  the praise music portion of students’ Bible Quiet Time. Bible lessons from Explorer’s Bible Study: Quest – Faith at Work, a prayer focus, and Scripture memory work further round out their Bible Quiet Time. Instilling the habit of a daily Bible Quiet Time from an early age is one of the most important ways to encourage a lifelong desire to meet with the Lord each day. With richly orchestrated music, true stories, prayers, and Scripture, Hymns for a Kid’s Heart: Volume II is an inspirational part of MTMM’s Bible Quiet Time that simply feeds your child’s soul!

World History’s Hymn Study

In our World History high school guide, hymn study is part of students’ daily Bible Study. Using The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study: Old Testament Survey, students use their Bibles to answer questions and delve more deeply into what God is saying and revealing about Himself in His Word. Students also have memory work and keep a daily prayer journal, but one of our favorite parts of their Bible Study is the hymn study. Using Selah’s Greatest Hymns CD, students enjoy listening to and singing along with 15 wonderful hymns. Liner notes for each hymn give either a little background on the hymn or give a personal note about the hymn from one of the members of Selah. This particular Selah CD is so highly recommended so many places (and is so beloved by our mother and sisters) that it just had to be included as part of this Bible Study!

U.S. History I’s Hymn Study

Finally, we include our last hymn study in our U.S History I high school guide. Similar to World History, students use The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study: New Testament Survey and keep a prayer journal for their Bible Study. They also listen to hymns as part of their Bible time, using When Morning Gilds the Skies. This hardback volume and accompanying CD includes 12 fully orchestrated hymns performed by Joni Eareckson Tada, Jon MacArthur, and Robert & Bobbie Wolgemuth. Beautiful lyrics, intriguing histories, Biblical wisdom, and inspirational messages are also included for each hymn. This set of hymns focuses upon the glory of heaven and on the eternal hope that we have in the Lord, making it a natural complement to the study of the New Testament.

One Parent’s Story While Using the Bigger Heart’s Hymn Study

We are doing Bigger Hearts for His Glory and just having a wonderful time! I am really seeing the Lord use the Bible studies, history and storytime to touch my boys’ hearts. One day this week after school, my son was having his afternoon alone time. At one point, he ran up and asked me how to spell the word depths. “Hmmm” I thought. “I wonder what he is up to?” After an hour, I called for my almost 9 year old to come upstairs for something. He said he was in the middle of something really important. I wondered what it could be. Well, he had spent the afternoon writing his very own hymn of worship to the Lord. I wanted to share it below with you!

The Name I Love to Hear

Jesus Christ is my Savior’s name. I will worship Him always.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the name I love to hear.

Jesus Christ you know it all. I am small to your power.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the name I love to hear.

Jesus Christ is my redeemer. You saved me from the depths of sin.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the name I love to hear.

Jesus Christ..I am His and He is mine. I love Him and He loves me.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the name I love to hear.

Though I feel called and am committed to homeschooling as long as the Lord directs us to, I sometimes really wonder how homeschooling will affect my boys. Well, I know the Lord used this as a clear affirmation that what we are doing with our kids DOES matter and it DOES make a difference. An eternal difference! Thank you for allowing me to share my testimony not only on HOD and the impact it is having on my kids, but most importantly to our Almighty God who is worthy of ALL praise and glory!

In Closing… Scripture Connections to Singing Hymns:

Early Christians often sang hymns, so why not join them in that joyful practice?  In closing, I wanted to share some Scripture connections that speak to the relevance of singing hymns. Hymn study is a not-to-be-missed part of Heart of Dakota! It is my prayer that, if you are still reading this lengthy post, you would consider singing along with your children in these hymn studies. What an incredible way to study hymns and bring God glory as you do, praising Him together in a way you likely could never do, if you weren’t homeschooling!

Ephesians 5:19… as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,

1 Corinthians 14:26:  What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Acts 16:25:  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

James 5:13:  Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Psalm 71: 8:  My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.”

In Christ,

Julie

Alternate inspirational and disciplinary subjects.

Teaching Tip

Alternate inspirational and disciplinary subjects.

When scheduling your child’s day, Charlotte Mason advocated alternating inspirational subjects with disciplinary subjects. This makes a lot of sense to me and is something I try to consider when scheduling my kiddos.

What is the difference between disciplinary and inspirational subjects?

Disciplinary subjects are those that are skill-based, while inspirational subjects are those that are content-based. Subjects often are not exclusively in one category or the other.  They may fit in both categories depending on how the subject is taught. However, typically a subject will lean more in one direction than the other.

What are some examples of disciplinary subjects?

Disciplinary subjects will often be subjects like mathematics, phonics, reading instruction, geography, handwriting, dictation, English/grammar, composition, copywork, research, timeline, drawing, and foreign language.

What are some examples of inspirational subjects?

Inspirational subjects often include history, poetry, Bible, read alouds, literature, science, picture study, composer study, and art appreciation.

What are the benefits of alternating different types of subjects?

Alternating differing subject types keeps learning fresh.  This is because disciplinary and inspirational subjects call on different parts of the brain. Try alternating the disciplinary and inspirational subjects found within your HOD guide.  See if you notice a difference in your child’s focus and concentration!

Blessings,
Carrie

Alternating Inspirational and Disciplinary Subjects, Like Charlotte Mason Did

More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment

Charlotte Mason structured her students’ school days by alternating inspirational and disciplinary subjects.

There are many ways we can structure our homeschool days!  Blessedly, with Heart of Dakota, we can choose the structure we most prefer. We can disperse our boxes of plans throughout the day in varying ways. So, we might choose a structure that is different from another family’s structure.  But, both can be right!  As we begin pondering this, we should ask what Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on the matter were.

As we can see, Charlotte Mason  put much thought into the structure of the day.  She especially paid close attention to the order of subjects. Plus, she did so by considering something we might not often consider!  What’s that, we may ask?  Well, it’s alternating inspirational and disciplinary subjects. But, what does that really mean?  To answer that question, we can first look at the difference between inspirational and disciplinary subjects.

So, what is the difference between inspirational and disciplinary subjects?

In general, Charlotte Mason categorized disciplinary subjects as skill-based. In contrast, she thought of inspirational subjects as being more content-based. She considered inspirational subjects as those that take thought. In contrast, she labeled disciplinary subjects as those that can be painstaking, requiring repeated practice to acquire skills. However, she found she could not place subjects exclusively in one category.  Based on the assignment, she could place subjects in both categories. So, how we categorize a subject depends on how we teach the subject. However, we can typically place a subject more in one category than the other.

We can often place disciplinary subjects in mathematics, phonics, reading instruction, geography, handwriting, dictation, English/grammar, composition, copywork, research, timeline, drawing, and foreign language. In contrast,we can place inspirational subjects in history, poetry, Bible, read alouds, literature, science, picture study, composer study, and art appreciation.

So, how did Charlotte Mason categorize inspirational and disciplinary subjects?  Well, let’s look at her list…

Inspirational Subjects:
Bible
Music
Literature
Nature Study
Picture Study
Poetry
Read-Aloud
Science
History

Disciplinary Subjects:
Art
Composition
Dictation
Foreign Language
Geography
Grammar
Handwriting
Mathematics
P.E.
Handicrafts

Notice Charlotte Mason maintained a balance of inspirational and disciplinary subjects!

Charlotte Mason listed 9 inspirational subjects and 10 disciplinary subjects.  She discovered keeping a balance of each to be ideal!  She found students need both kinds of subjects in their day.  If a student omits disciplinary subjects because he finds they are not as inspiring, there will be major gaps in skills.  Likewise, a student should not omit inspirational subjects.  Just because he prefers the predictability of disciplinary subjects, he will miss the deep thought and true connections inspirational subjects provide.

It’s best to let disciplinary subjects be disciplinary, and inspirational subjects be inspirational!

It is sometimes tempting to try to make disciplinary subjects be inspirational.  However, a student cannot live in a constant state of inspiration!  Nor, should we expect him to.  Can you imagine trying to be constantly inspired with every part of your day?  I find the thought to be somewhat exhausting, don’t you?  Imagine waking up and doing your Bible devotional and praying.  You are inspired!  What a special start to your day that was full of deep thought!

However, next it is time to unload the dishwasher, as the dishes are clean, and the children need to eat.  Can you imagine trying to make unloading the dishwasher inspirational each day?  You could try to change the plates to have more varied colors to unload. Or, you could try unloading the dishwasher in a new way each day. Maybe back to front, top to bottom, and then from left to right.  Or, you could try to ponder the mechanics of how your dishwasher got your dishes clean.  Hmmmm.  Or…  you could just unload it!  Personally, I feel a real sense of accomplishment in just getting this done quickly and efficiently, don’t you?

Disciplinary subjects need not be dressed up!

Disciplinary subjects are like that dishwasher.  They need not be ‘dressed up’ to be disguised as inspirational.  If they are, the day just gets longer. We cannot live in a constant state of inspiration, nor can our children – and that’s okay!  Not every moment of the school day is meant to be inspiring!  Students just need to know their times tables eventually.  They just need learn to spell words correctly.  Or, they need to learn how to correct them.  Likewise, continents just need to be recognized. Moreover, in grammar, they need to recognize a noun as a noun, and a verb as a verb.  When students say they are not excited about disciplinary subjects, we need to remember… it is not possible (nor even desirable) for them to be always inspired.  We can’t maintain that, and neither can they.  We can find beauty in the balance!  Likewise, they can too!

Inspirational subjects need not be stripped down!

We might also be tempted to try to make inspirational subjects be disciplinary.  However, a student cannot live in a constant state of discipline! Nor, should we expect him to.  Can you imagine trying to be constantly disciplined with every part of your day?  The thought is somewhat exhausting, isn’t it? I can’t imagine taking the Bible and making it solely disciplinary.

Memorizing Bible verses, for example, is excellent to do! However, I find the the Word of God to be incredibly inspiring!  I find the Bible a worthy subject to think deeply upon, rather than just Words to be memorized – albeit beautiful Words.  There is merit in both!  But, I find it sad when people can quote the Bible eloquently but profoundly miss out on the relationship with the Lord.  That is what can happen when an inspirational subject is made into a solely disciplinary subject.

We can structure our students’ school days and our own personal days with inspiration and discipline in mind!

I am not only structuring my school days this way! Likewise, I am structuring my own days this way.  I think this is going to be good for me!  Sometimes, I tend to focus only on disciplinary subjects in my day.  I set aside my inspirational subjects, thinking I don’t really need them in my day.  Am I alone in this?!?  Maybe!  However, in truth, I find it is the inspirational ones  I need the most sometimes! They balance out the more disciplinary parts of my day.

Let’s try alternating inspirational and disciplinary subjects!

So, join me, if you will!  As we ponder how to structure our homeschool days, why don’t we try alternating disciplinary and inspirational subjects?  We can find both in our HOD guides. We can find both in our lives too. So, we might as well try it in both!  Let’s see if we notice a difference in our child’s focus and concentration, by alternating inspirational and disciplinary subjects. Likewise, let’s try it in our own lives! I think we may find both to be a healthy balance! So, let’s give it a try!

In Christ,

Julie