Singing with our children is one of the greatest gifts that we can give them. Singing helps us to know, delight in, and praise God. Singing brings joy to our days like no other activity can. Singing together builds a unique and lasting family bond. When you sing together, you cannot help but feel filled with praise, completely joyful, and connected with each other!
Charlotte Mason says "The Habit of Praise.--Perhaps we do not attach enough importance to the habit of praise in our children's devotion. Praise and thanksgiving come freely from the young heart; gladness is natural and holy, and music is a delight. The singing of hymns at home and of the hymns and canticles in church should be a special delight; and the habit of soft and reverent singing, of offering our very best in praise, should be carefully formed." (Vol. 3 p. 143)
In our home, we begin our Morning Time with hymn study. We use Simply Charlotte Mason's "Singing the Great Hymns" compiled by Jordan Smith. It is so simple. We pick one hymn to learn and practice it each day. Once we know that hymn well, we add on another. Each day we then practice our new hymn to be learned along with the hymns we already know well. Once we know all the hymns well in the group, we begin learning and practicing a new group. (The hymns are divided into 12 groups with six hymns in each.) We try to learn about one group of hymns each year.
Some days do not begin exactly the way I had planned. Some days, we are not always in our very best moods. However, when we begin to sing together, everything changes. Our hearts just fill up with a happiness that you can feel almost instantly. It is like you cannot even help it. What was, just moments ago, bothering us or giving us trouble floats away with the music. More than once, I have felt transformed from either sadness, anxiousness, or anger to a great feeling of joy while singing with my children. "When we sing from our heart, whether to accompany a task at hand, to bring our child's attention to something, or purely for the joy of sharing a song together, we can awaken a deep and joyful place in our souls that only music can touch." (Sing a Song of Seasons by Mary Thienes Schunemann) Singing is joyful!
I find that singing while doing chores, brings joy to the work. I try to sing while washing the dishes and folding the laundry. I hope, too, that my children see me enjoying my work, because I want them to know that work in the home is good and joyful. When we bake bread we sing our bread-baking song together. When we chop vegetables for soup, we sing our chopping song. If we must complete a task that we do not really want to do, we may add a little song to go with it. Audrey used to hate having her hair brushed, so I sang a little song while brushing. It may have helped put a little smile on her face.
We use singing in our celebrations too. We sing songs to celebrate the seasons. We sing songs about bunnies and flowers and rain in the spring. We sing songs about bees and fireflies and the sun in summer. We sing about apples and leaves and squirrels in the fall. We sing about snow and ice and the cold in winter. When we sing favorite songs year after year, our children learn to celebrate the beauty of our world. They learn the importance of these changes in season. They feel a comfort in the repetition and knowing that the flowers and the warmth and the green will come back every spring after each long, cold winter. They will feel the comfort in knowing that we will sing about these magnificent things year after year. They will feel the joy of these simple yet wonderful natural rhythms in our world and the joy of singing about them. My children are always looking forward to the next season and the songs that they know we will be singing.
Many of our favorite songs come from "Sing a Song of Seasons" and "This is the Way we Wash a Day" from the Singing with Children Series by Mary Thienes-Schunemann.
Singing together as a family builds a strong bond. It helps us feel close and connected. When we sing, we feel the love of our family. Singing helps us to show our love for each other and share our love with each other.
Each day, when our morning lessons are done and before we go outside to play, we come together to recite a few poems and sing a few songs in celebration of the season or time of year. For example, in the fall we spend a week celebrating and learning about squirrels with stories, art, poems, and song. As we sing together we are very near each other. We look in each other's eyes. We smile together. We laugh together. We are close, close enough to touch. We may hold hands. One of the little ones may sit in someone's lap. It really helps us connect with each other.
Now, you should know, I am not a trained singer. In fact, I do not think I am a very good singer at all. But I sing anyway. I do not think you have to be an amazing singer to sing every day with your children. The most important part, is to just get everyone singing and enjoying it.