Words of Faith Wrapped in Music
Aren't hymns old fashioned and out of style? Why study them? Even if you prefer to sing modern praise choruses, your faith will be strengthened by studying the words of the hymns. Many of them are rich in theology and Biblical truth. And they remain a part of our Christian heritage. What a shame to lose that history through neglect.
These two articles offer excellent defenses for singing and studying the traditional hymns of our faith:
A Charlotte Mason education includes many traditional studies such as Shakespeare, poetry, nature, composers, artists, and hymns. In fact, studying the great hymns of the Christian faith is a rich cross-curricular pursuit. A single hymn provides tangents of study in fields of history, language arts, Bible, theology, and poetry. You could legitimately create an entire unit study out of a single hymn! Or you could keep it simple, as Miss Mason suggested, and study one hymn per month.
What is Hymn Study?
Like anything in homeschool, hymn study is versatile. There is no one right way to do it. Pick and choose from these possible activities.
1. Learn the song -- its words, its meanings, and its tune.
- Listen to the hymn on a CD or online.
- If you play an instrument, you can use the sheet music or a hymnal to play it.
- If there is new vocabulary, you can look up the words, using your dictionary skills.
Where to get Hymns Online
2. From there you can branch out to the theology and the history in the song.
- What scripture is in this song?
- What Bible verses parallel the ideas in the song?
- What is the story behind the song?
- Who is the song writer?
3. Later you can use the song for language arts.
Free Online Hymn Study Plans - Helps for Choosing Hymns to Study
No matter your age, from young to old, everyone can learn from and enjoy hymn study. The key is choosing appropriate hymns.
Use these lists and study plans to help you choose the best hymns to suit your family and your academic or spiritual goals.
- Ambleside Online Hymn Rotation Schedule
A twelve-year rotation of suggested hymns to learn, with one hymn per month.
- Simply Charlotte Mason
Another 12 year rotation with six hymns per year.
- Center for Church Music: Songs & Hymns
Each week there is a featured hymn that includes two listening options (real audio & MP3), lyrics, sheet music, facts about the song, background information, and even a devotional.
- Hymns Every Child Should Know: A Selection Of The Best Hymns Of All Nations by Dolores Bacon
This book is in the public domain (for those accessing Google books in the USA). Look at Dolores Bacon's selections as a guide to planning your own hymn study schedule.
- Hymn Treasures
This is a retail site selling curriculum for childrenÂ¹s music ministry. The nine sets of hymns, from preschool through sixth grade, are listed on the website. Use the lists to select some age appropriate hymns for your homeschool.
Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 1
The official website of Hymns for a Kid's Heart offers free downloads of sheet music and MP3 audio files of all the songs used in each of the four books of the series.
Each CD and book set with twelve songs provides all you need for a year's worth of hymn study, selecting one song per month. These gorgeously illustrated books are a practical choice for hymn study for young children or for those just starting out because everything is planned out for you and is on a child's level. These are the books we started with.
The Full Hymns for a Kid's Heart Series
Hymn History Resources - Stories Behind the Hymns
For older elementary and up, you will want a meatier approach to hymn study. These are good choices for learning the stories behind the hymns -- the history, the writers, and the circumstances that brought about the classic songs we now sing.
Hymns as Copywork, Dictation, and Memorization - Hymn Study Printables
Hymn study works well with Bible notebooking. Here are printables to help you with notebooking the hymns that you study.
- FREE --Hymn Notebooking
Here you will find a very attractive set of pages in a free PDF at Albright News.
- FREE --Hymn Study Notebooking Pages
This is a twenty-seven page set of notebooking pages I created. Besides blank copywork pages, there are pages for vocabulary you find in hymns, Bible verses you find in hymns, and the meaning and etymology of the word hymn.
- FREE -- Hymns Copywork
This free printable set of notebooking and copywork pages gives you one hymn for each month of the year.
- RETAIL with FREE option --Copying the Hymns: All Things Bright and Beautiful
Copying the Hymns is a series of copywork books focused on developing Christian devotion through reflection upon the great hymns of the faith, and related scriptures. Besides All Things Bright and Beautiful,is a copybook of We Three Kings. Or get th
- FREE -- samutsari's Copywork and Hymns Files
Scroll way down to the Copywork and Hymns section. Maria shares several freebies -- copywork of Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior; hymn study pages for A Mighty Fortress and Amazing Grace; and a Fanny Crosby biography sheet.
- FREE --Hymn Worksheet
A plain worksheet without much flair, but it does have some good questions for researching and studying a hymn.
- RETAIL -- Rock of Ages Lapbook
The Rock of Ages lapbook is very well done and very affordable! See the preview. Also look for Whole Word's hymn study packs: A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Amazing Grace, and Are You Washed in the Blood?
- FREE -- Four Hymn Copywork Pages
These are manuscript selections in super huge font size especially for young learners. Titles include: Doxology Holy, Holy, Holy A Mighty Fortress Is Our God Praise, My Soul, The King of Heaven
Photos From Our Hymn Study
How Others Do Hymn Study - bloggers speak
- Homeschooling and Hymn Study
This post shares how the Watts family uses hymn study to weave God's word into their lives.
- Pass Me Not , O Gentle Saviour Hymn Study
Read how Heartwork in Progress planned a hymn study for her three children. This is a great example and includes links to some free printables she made.
- Fisher Academy International : Hymn Study, Our Method
Amy describes how she teaches hymns to her children as part of their Charlotte Mason homeschool.
- Epi Kardia Blog -- Hymn Study
Dana shares some great how-tos and a very concrete example.
- Hymn Study Yearly Schedule
Nadene lists her 2011 schedule for hymn study.
anonymous on August 17, 2012:
Thank you so much for the hymnsforkids link which you have mentioned in your site . I was desperately looking out for free sheet music of some favourite hymns to help my son in learning who has cleared his Grade 1 ABRSM recently . This morning after a close to an hours search in google i prayed "Lord please help me find a good site where i can get what iam looking for" and God has given me more than what i was looking for . I thank God for listening to even my simple prayers ..i don't leave any comments usually in any site but today iam leaving this comment mainly to tell you that your site is a blessing ..keep up the good work .. i have not explored your site fully iam going to do that when i find some more time .. Thanx a lot .may god Bless you abundantly .
anonymous on August 09, 2012:
Thank you for the great ideas! We are just starting hymn study in our homeschool and this is just the ticket.
anonymous on March 24, 2012:
Thanks for the many great resources for a hymn study. I had been wanting to start but couldn't get my mind wrapped around how to do it. I'm hoping to introduce hymns chronologically as the author lived. Does anyone have a resource to help me map hymns chronologically?
Violin-Student on September 02, 2011:
Very good lens. I've often said that one of the problems with modern worship choruses is the lack of theology involved. (Not all, but many.) They often seem rather shallow to me. I will definitely be using this as inspiration to continue my quest to get local churches to sing music written before Bill Gaither was born. We had a worship leader at a church I attended who would discuss the history and theology involved in at least one hymn a week. Sadly, he has moved on to other ministries. I learned a great deal from his three minute talks each week.
I also dislike the removal of hymnals from the pews. Many people develop at least basic skills at reading sheet music through the printed music in the hymnals. That doesn't happen when the lyrics are projected on a screen.
I don't mean that to sound like a rant, but it probably does. Thanks for this page!
yayas on August 01, 2011:
This is great. I don't home school, but I'm always looking for new ways to learn interesting things. Thanks for the great printables, too.
Shannon from Florida on April 27, 2011:
Great lens (as usual)! We love the Mr. Pipes series by Douglas Bond. A grandfather figure, Mr. Pipes, takes a young girl and boy on various adventures as they study the background and history of many of the wonderful hymns. We own "The Accidential Voyage: Discovering Hymns of the Early Centuries," "Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers," and "Mr. Pipes Comes to America." Blessed.
Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on April 01, 2011:
I have always loved singing hymns. In fact, by singing hymns at church and in the choir I became fluent at reading. I remember running into new vocabulary words and pondering about them throughout the sermon until I could ask about them in the car on the way home. It bothers me that my children are not learning these beautiful songs. I like the idea of learning a hymn a week. Thank you for creating this wonderful resource.
Blessed by a SquidAngel.
Russ-and-Toni on March 12, 2011:
Wonderful lens! I love the old hymns and often find myself singing them in my head at difficult times.
James M Becher from South Florida on January 19, 2011:
Thanks for this great lense. I lensrolled it to and featured it on my lense: Great Hymns Of The Faith
blessedmomto7 on January 18, 2011:
Oh how I miss the hymns. I actually have used Hymns for a Kid's heart in my homeschool. Love the idea of using them for copywork. You have many great resources here, thanks. Blessed!
Ann Hinds from So Cal on December 06, 2010:
Had to come back to bless this lens. Great job, great information!
Ann Hinds from So Cal on November 20, 2010:
I like this one two levels. I am not happy that the hymns are now considered too old to use in church so I am happy to see someone stating the obvious. I like the whole homeschooling aspect that I will add to my child's public school education. Thanks for a great lens!
kimmanleyort on November 18, 2010:
I love that homeschoolers use multiple intelligences to explore a topic, hymns being one example.
dustytoes on November 18, 2010:
This lens has been reviewed on Squidoo Lens Review. Come get your badge if you'd like.
Jennifer P Tanabe from Red Hook, NY on November 18, 2010:
This is great! Children would actually learn what the hymns are about with this method, as well as learning all kinds of other useful things. Great job!
dustytoes on October 22, 2010:
When I sang in the children's choir, a long time ago, I remember that I really didn't pay much attention to what I was singing. Using hymns for teaching is such a fantastic idea. Covering history, writing, music and faith all at once. Your little girl (?) certainly looks proud of her achievement.
businessblossom1 on October 03, 2010:
Oh, this is nice . . . you took the words about why the hymns are incredibly important and sorely needed today right out of my mouth. The resources are first rate (I love how there are lead sheets and chords and demo MP3s in the RUF Hymnbook online, so I'm linking to it from my The Free HIMbook lens), and, if the Lord grants me to be a mom someday, I will be rolling back here for some resources to supplement my homeschooling materials. I'm favoriting you, and Lensrolling you to all 14 of my hymn-related lenses (and the 15th, when it is done). Keep up the good work, to the glory of our great God!
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on September 13, 2010:
I love this idea of Hymn Study and it could even be used as a project for Sunday Schoolers. Lensrolled to my Sunday School Songs and Blessed.
anonymous on May 30, 2010:
Love this lens. thanks for doing so much research and putting great resources here.
tandemonimom lm on April 15, 2010:
This is brilliant! I love the old hymns.
Everyday-Miracles on March 11, 2010:
Oooh! I like this, Jimmie! I never would have thought about something like this. Thanks for sharing it with me.
Evy's still very young yet, but I am looking for ways to build her faith through our home schooling. Not exactly sure where to start since she's still only 2, but looking forward to the journey (thanks to you and others like you, I feel confident that I'll be okay).
JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on March 10, 2010:
Jimmie, this is wonderful!! The "Hymns for a Kid's Heart" series is fantastic. I've used them with my kids and the choir kids at church for devotionals. Thank you for collecting these resources and sharing them so the world may know God a little better. :D
rewards4life info on March 10, 2010:
Great lens, Jimmie. I really think that children should study hymns with their parents, to improve their cultural understanding of history, arts etc. Thank you for sharing.
Leanne Chesser on March 10, 2010:
This is an excellent lens on hymn study for homeschooling. I'm going to pass this on to some homeschooling friends. Blessed by an angel.