Since my children were small, I have had a desire to make sure they know the old hymns that I grew up singing in church. This desire came about because, unfortunately, so many churches have moved away from singing them on a regular basis, if at all. I love modern praise and worship music, but I also have such a connection to those old hymns. I often find myself tearing up when we do sing one at church - they have a warm, familiar feeling, like coming home.
In our early homeschooling days, I had grand plans to introduce my children to the hymns, one every week or two. These plans didn't last long, and I'm sorry to say that those cds are gathering dust since my cd player broke. Enter Christian Liberty Press's Mr. Pipes. The history of the great hymns and hymn writers of the past are shared through the stories that Mr. Pipes shares with two American kids staying in a sleepy little English village.
Most of the chapters of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers focus on one or two specific hymn writers. Two of them are about a group, such as "Women Hymn Writers." I really love that the information is shared through storytelling. The reader gets easily caught up in the story of the writers and the history behind the hymns without feeling bogged down by facts. I love the kind of teaching where my children learn without even realizing it. My kids love it when schoolwork doesn't feel like work!
My plan for this book for this school year is to spread it out, reading one chapter a week. We will listen to a hymn by the featured writer, then read the chapter aloud together. The language is easy but not simple, so I don't think it will feel like a burden to my reluctant reader. After reading the chapter, we will listen to some more of the featured writer's hymns. I plan to continue to play the hymns throughout the week, including them in our family devotion time as well as copy work. The website says that these are geared toward 7th through 10th grade, but I think that it would work for older elementary kids as well. I actually think that kids much older than 7th grade may find them too simple.
Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is available through Christian Liberty Press, one of my favorite homeschool curriculum companies. The ebook version is $8.79, and the paper version is $9.89. There are actually four books in the Mr. Pipes series, and I plan to use them all!
***Disclaimer: I was given a digital copy of this book in exchange for my review through the Schoolhouse Review Crew. All opinions are my own.