This year, as a fun add-on to school, my teens worked through Music Lessons for Holidays and Special Days, by Music in Our Homeschool.
And by "worked through," I mean "we're nearly through."
As evidenced by the 90% complete bar in the graphic on the right.
The course is set up by the calendar, though, and we started in September with Labor Day and have worked all the way through the year. In May, we had three lessons left - Summer, Father's Day, and Independence Day.
However, Gena Mayo, the author of this course, is always doing wonderful things like adding an extra lesson. This week, she added one for Juneteenth, and it is fabulous. And also available for FREE.
So, as you can see, we have four lessons left. Or we did when I started this post. We have completed the Juneteenth lesson at this point.
This course is intended for elementary and middle school ages, but I would highly encourage people to consider it for high school as well. Most of the worksheets are not exactly high school material, but the course itself is still good for older ages.
The course is all online, and once you own it you can access it forever. I love being able to go back to some of these things! We project my screen to the big screen in our living room, and work through it together, usually over lunch.
What my kids (8th, 10th, 12th grades this past year) love is that each lesson gives a brief overview of the holiday (or special day) in question, which is interesting and "not long and boring." You can see the first part of that in the clip here.
They are either learning something about a day they didn't know about, or they are getting a brief review. Either way, it takes us only a few minutes to go through this part.
Often, this is followed by some explanation of some of the musical traditions associated with the day. There are videos embedded in the materials, so you can just click and watch.
This was the second video for "Lift Every Voice and Sing" in this lesson, and was the one my kids preferred.
Often, like you see here, the lyrics are written out.
In this lesson, there were three songs altogether, with five videos. The videos ranged from two to four and a half minutes.
Sometimes there is some additional learning materials that follow the main lesson, such as additional music to look for.
Each lesson also includes some worksheet type of activity that is in pdf format and can be printed out. Some, like the one pictured here, can certainly work with a high school student.
Most of the time, we skipped the worksheets though. I'm nearly certain I never printed one out.
If I were doing this course with elementary aged students, I know there were many that would have been used in my home!
The final portion is a short little quiz.
My kids actually enjoyed these, as the questions were generally fairly easy if they had paid attention. And we just read the questions aloud and came to a consensus. No pressure, no grading.
Here is what I truly loved about the course. It was FUN, light, and easy -- but my kids were exposed to a huge variety of music over the year, and they did learn quite a bit about some holidays and other special days as well.
They would pretty much all agree that Star Wars Day was a favorite. How can you go wrong learning about John Williams, watching him conduct, and listening to the various themes? And they learned about leitmotifs in the process, and using music in movies.
One of my sons really liked the New Year's Day lesson, with a few different recordings of "Auld Lang Syne." Another commented on how user-friendly the course was.
I loved the lessons where we learned about various instruments, like we did for St. Patrick's Day, Chinese New Year, and Cinco de Mayo.
The course is set up from January through December, but it is really easy to change that up. The first couple of lessons referred to some things, like "throughout this course we will..." but I didn't feel like we were missing anything by not starting there.
I highly recommend this course, but at the very least -- even though Juneteenth is likely over by the time you read this -- go and check out the Free Juneteenth Lesson.
I'll be posting in July about what we have decided to use for our 2020-21 school year, but I can already tell you that it will include a high school course from Music in Our Homeschool.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this course myself and was not required to write a review. This post does contain affiliate links. I was not required to write a positive review, and any affiliate relationship does not impact my opinions. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”