This is instalment #2 in a series taking a look at our family’s feast of ideas this term.  If you missed the first one, you can find it here.  So, continuing on with Charlotte Mason’s idea of ideas

“Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas. Ideas are of spiritual origin, and God has made us so that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another, whether by word of mouth, written page, Scripture word, musical symphony; but we must sustain a child’s inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food.” (Charlotte Mason)

Another way we convey ideas in our homeschool is through singing.  Each term I choose two hymns and two folksongs to focus on for that term.  Right now they happen to be…

Hymns – O God, Our Help in Ages Past and Eternal Father, Strong to Save 

  • YouTube is my go-to resource for hymns and folksongs, making playlists I can have playing during mealtimes or that we can sing along to during “school” time. Sometimes I accompany our singing on the piano from a hymn book. I also like to read excerpts from the book Then Sings My Soul that tells the stories behind the hymns in a devotional format.

FolksongsSumer Is Icumen In 

  • This is a great Medieval English folksong which I chose because of the historical time period we’ve been studying this year. It’s a four part round with two other repeating parts sung underneath. It’s not a song we can easily sing along to since it’s written in Middle English, but the girls got a kick out of the modern translation…especially the line about the “billy-goat farting”.  Oh, those sure signs of summer!  
  • You can find our folksong playlist here to have a listen if you like.

The Blackfly Song and The Log Driver’s Waltz

  • We’ve been enjoying these two songs by Wade Hemsworth (a Canadian folksinger/songwriter). The animations available for free at the National Film Board’s website have transported PJ and I back to the Saturday morning cartoons of our childhoods!

Usually on Monday mornings during our Group Time we take turns throughout the term, singing through our hymns one week and our folksongs the next.  I don’t make memorizing these songs compulsory, but I know it happens naturally as we sing them and listen to them.  I know, personally, there are many days I have that crazy blackfly song stuck in my head and can’t get it out!  

And what about the ideas these songs bless us with?  Well, sometimes those ideas are just plain fun and funny like the scuba diving blackflies that stop at nothing to drive their prey crazy!  Or the log driver jumping moose in his pathway or falling over waterfalls unscathed.  But even in the funny scenes these songs conjure up, we are still learning about life and wildlife in North Ontar-I-O or the forgotten role of the log driver and his dangerous occupation.  And of course it’s easy to see what ideas we acquire from the beautiful hymns we sing.  As with memorizing scripture, these songs of our faith give words with which to pray and praise. They will be songs that strengthen us on difficult days and songs that will give expression to our unspeakable joys.

So until next time, happy feasting! 


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