One of the things I said I wanted to do when we started homeschooling was to study music. JustaBXgirl never had a music class while attending traditional school. The thing is though, I am not very musically inclined. I don’t sing, dance, or play a musical instrument. This was one of those places where I was going to have to use a lifeline. Enter Thistles & Biscuits. I have been hearing about them for the past year but haven’t had the opportunity to check them out until now. Thank you Melanated Gold Review Squad!
We are currently checking out Living Harmonies and I love how this is music appreciation, social studies, and ELA wrapped up in one curriculum. It is a year-long curriculum that features 34 lessons that take us across ten genres of music. It is designed for 4th – 8th grade but I feel like it can be used even with older students. I know that I am learning right alongside JustaBXgirl. Am I the only homeschool parent that feels that way? This homeschool journey is teaching me as much if not more than it is teaching her. Looking at the world through her eyes has truly changed my perspective.
This curriculum is great for looking at perspectives. It merges learning styles by having students read, listen to music, watch videos, write their answers to questions and think about music not only from the stance of what they like but what the music means. One of the first exercises has us listen to four renditions of a well-known song. We get to listen to this song in four new ways. JustaBXgirl and I listened to the song and discussed what we thought of each version. We challenged ourselves to hear the different instruments used and she shared her thoughts on the vocal styles.
The curriculum comes with beautiful Monstessori instrument flash cards. There are 39 flash cards that correspond to instruments found across the ten genres covered in the material. You will want to print these cards. They are also a great way to introduce the material covered to younger littles. You can print two sets of the cards and do matching games. You can do an instrument hunt with one set of the cards and have your littles find instruments based on hints you supply. You can have littles focus on one card and learn everything that they can about the instrument. The fun and learning to be had using the cards is endless. They would be worth the price of the curriculum alone. They might be the thing that finally gets me to break down and purchase a laminator because they are so beautiful I don’t want to see them get messed up.
Print out the cards, print out the student workbook but don’t print out the Lesson Manual. You don’t have to. It is designed to be used digitally. Each lesson contains hyperlinks that lead to examples of the genre being studied. This really helps littles stay focused. They read or are read to a bit and then switch to seeing the music in action.
The curriculum is designed to last for 34 weeks if you do one lesson a week. You can do more than one lesson a week easily because when your little gets started they will want to keep going. If you need to skip a week then you can do so without stressing because it will be waiting when you get back. I’m looking forward to using it. This is not only as music appreciation but as a way to get JustaBXgirl to work on her writing and critical thinking skills.
Each lesson has littles answer a few questions based on the information they were presented. It is great to measure reading comprehension and to see your littles thoughts about the genre they’re studying. It even has an art component that allows littles to draw their favorite instrument or musician.
5 Questions About Living Harmonies
- How do children learn using this curriculum? Your little can read through the lesson independently or you can read it together. The lessons include links to songs and musical artists to bring the lesson to life. After reading the lesson your little will complete corresponding worksheets from the student handbook.
- How can I track what my child is doing? You can track your child’s progress through the student workbook. It gives them the opportunity to answer questions about the genre discussed in the manual.
- What input do I have on what my child is learning? You can decide which lessons your little does and when. While designed to be used as one lesson a week, you decide on the pacing, You can go quicker or slower depending on the needs of your family. You can also use this curriculum as a stand-alone curriculum or as a partner for other studies. I think it would pair really well as a study of the countries the genres are from.
- What grades does this curriculum cover? It is designed for 4th – 8th grade but can be used with younger or older students based on ability and preference.
- What does this curriculum cost? The Living Harmonies curriculum costs $28 and includes three PDF files containing the manual, student workbook, and 39 Montessori hand-painted instrument flashcards.
This was the first time I checked out Thistles & Biscuits and I look forward to checking out some of their other curricula. It is not the first time that Melanated Gold Review Squad has checked them out though so head over to the site to see what my squad has to say about this and other curricula from Thistles and Biscuits.