Whole Family As Student (WFS) Homeschool Singing Lessons Program

Joy Sikorski and WFS

Hi, I’m Joy Sikorsk, and I would like to introduce myself to you by asking you three questions:

  • What do you get when you put together a homeschool singing lessons program and a homeschool family?
  • What musical instrument is the most powerful one in the world?
  • Why is learning to “play” this instrument one of the most important things you can do with your homeschool family?

I will answer them first and then I would like to ask you a few more questions, which I encourage you to answer in the Comments Section on this page.

In order to answer the first one, I am going to let you in on a little secret about homeschooling that I discovered from my experiences in Alaska and my years of musical training, performance, composing teaching and writing. You may have already discovered this secret for yourself, but just in case, I’m going to share it with you here.

”The Whole Family Is The Student” or the “WFS Homeschool Model”

You see, we often think that it is the homeschool children – whatever their age — who are the “students” and the homeschool parents – whatever their age or level of education – who are the teachers or guides or facilitators to help the children learn lessons, discover subjects of interest and fulfill the legal educational requirements in our various states or countries. While this is partially true, I believe there is a much bigger picture we can adapt (if we haven’t already done so) about the role of each family member in the homeschool setting, particularly when it comes to the subject I am writing about, which is, of course, music/voice training.

Allow me to explain in the context of the first question I asked above.

Question 1: “What do you get when you put together music/voice lessons and a homeschooling family?”

Answer: it depends on your own educational model, which will determine whether or not you promote a learning environment that inspires the entire family or not. For instance, if I give you a music/voice lesson activity for your child or children, there are two very basic approaches or teaching models you can take in implementing that lesson for your homeschool.

  • If they are older and know how to read and follow instructions on their own, you can point them to the resource and they can tackle the task without your help. Or if they are younger you can guide them. This is what I will call the standard educational model.
  • You become a student with them no matter what their age (or yours). This is what I call the “WFS Homeschool Model.”

In other words, and this is particularly true when it comes to music and the human voice, you can either rely on my tips and lessons to give them something to do or you can learn with them for your own sake as well as theirs.

Let’s hone in on this “WFS” idea

 

I imagine that we can all agree that your child will form a view of what education is all about by your example of what learning personally means to you. Not what your child’s learning personally means to you, but what it means in terms of your own learning philosophy or process.

For instance, you may love to learn for the sake of learning because you are open to new ideas, new approaches or new subjects that you know nothing or veritably little about. In this case, you would be demonstrating to them that you too are a student and will always be a student because there will always be something new and exciting for you to learn.

This creates an atmosphere of healthy humility within your homeschool environment and encourages your children to become life learners for the sake of learning itself because you are setting that example.

On the other hand, if you were educated in the standard educational model or the teacher/student model, which most of us were (including me), then chances are you will tend to use the first model, in which children may learn to absorb or memorize many facts and data and then “spit back” answers to you for the sake of testing purposes and government requirements. Or, if you are involved in the unschooling approach or something similar, you will teach or guide your child into discovering what most draws or interests him/her individually in the learning process.

I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I chose to homeschool my children was because I did not find the first and most familiar approach to teaching very inspiring. If anything, it tends to dampen a child’s natural God-given curiosity and hamper the development of their creative problem-solving skills. They learn to give answers that please rather than answers that evoke more questions and an insatiable desire to search available resources for answers. If you are like me, you may have also found out that your own educational patterns based on the first model kicked into play when you assumed the “teacher” role.

This is a subject that deserves more discussion, but for the sake of your time here, let’s move on to how it applies to the second question.

Question 2: “What musical instrument is the most powerful one in the world?”

The quick answer is that the most powerful musical instrument is the human voice. That’s right. It is an instrument, the only instrument in fact that is not made by human beings and therefore has many more tones and nuances that are used in communication than any other instrument we can create or play. This is one of the reasons why I am such a strong advocate for homeschool singing lessons!

The longer answer, at least as it applies to the “WFS Homeschool Model” involves what happens in the prenatal to age three world of the child and what the family does during that time with their voices. First the mother then the father and next the siblings and extended family members. Because I have written about the importance of the human voice elsewhere and want to dig further into how this applies to “WFS” I am going to give you a few links to follow up on so that we can move ahead more quickly.

Human voice as most powerful instrument:

Another clue to this subject is hinted at by a couple of rhetorical questions: why is it that just about everyone either loves to sing or wishes they could sing better than they do? Why is that such a deeply ingrained and natural desire is felt by almost everyone, even if they never talk about it or express it? And why do so few people get the kind of professional voice help that I believe each and every child has a right to have? And why has there not been a clear plan from a voice professional to offer homeschool singing lessons?

I’d love to hear what you think.

And now for the last question I asked you at the beginning of this page.

Question 3: Why is learning to “play” this instrument one of the most important things you can do in your homeschool?

The answer to this question hails back to the second question and some of the information in the links above.

However, there is more to it than that. There is what I call a “singing mindset” in each of us that directly impacts how we view the world, ourselves, the potential of our children and what we can do to improve the way we communicate with one another, first in our homeschools and then in the world at large. These powerful mindsets impact every aspect of the learning environment in the home and should never be dismissed as unimportant. For too long now, very little information has come forward to help homeschool families respect and appreciate just how crucial these mindsets are to their overall success.

That is why I do what I do. I believe that each of you and each of your children deserve to be heard and to have access to time-tested techniques that are easier and more fun to implement than you might imagine. And my knowledge and convictions about this subject are why I believe it is paramount for you to have as much information as possible.

Here are a few more links to help you understand why integrating a WFS homeschool singing lessons approach into your curriculum will enhance your entire learning environment.

Here are my last questions for you: What instantly popped up in your mind as you read my words? Did you gain any new insights? What do you think about your own voice and the voices of your children?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any or all of this in the comments section below so that I can personally interact with you because I believe the best learning model is one that includes loads of interaction, as you can probably already tell!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • rachel block August 14, 2012, 8:02 am

    hi Joy! i guess my question is why does studying music help your brain so much? my mom and my piano teacher said learning music help’s with decision making and thinking faster. and you said it helps with physiological functions in the body, your attitudes, beliefs, and health. but why? how? i’m always listening to music, but it doesn’t feel like music has helped me in those ways.

    • Joy August 27, 2012, 10:41 am

      Hi Rachel,

      My apologies for taking so long to reply to your important questions. I was away on business for a couple of weeks and then another week for a family reunion, so I am now able to get back to you.

      There are many articles about studies that have been done about music and the brain. Just listening to music, in general, does not necessarily mean you will consciously experience dramatic effects in your “body, attitudes, beliefs and health.”

      I love it that you are curious about the “whys” when statements are made about the music/brain connection. This shows that you are a thinker rather than just a recording device that feeds back what other people tell you. The best learning comes from a curious mind, one that is hard to satiate with mere statements or even statistics. So, hats off to you for your curiosity!

      Here is the best site I have found that will shed light on your questions. It is by no means the only resource, but it is filled with fascinating articles and research done by the University of California, Irvine. That school, in my humble opinion, has been the pioneer regarding this topic.

      Then, of course, there is my particular passion, which is how singing impacts the brain, because the voice is the ONLY instrument not made by mankind! And it’s something that cannot be bought or replaced. But that will have to wait for another time.

      Meanwhile, here are the MuSICA Research articles.

      Have fun picking out what interests you in your quest to find answers. And, I will say this too: the best answers always stimulate more questions, and if you keep asking questions, no matter how much you learn, you will be a well-educated person who will find happiness in asking more questions to get more answers.

      Let me know what you discover on the MuSICA site!

      All my best,
      Joy

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