We all feel it – the pressure to fit in all of those extra-curricular activities for our children. We drive halfway to the moon and back and yet still need to keep the fridge stocked and provide for a stimulating environment to support our children’s education.
I finally found my secret tool! Kindergarten teachers know it, homeschoolers know it, even monks in the middle ages used it for memorization – and now we know it! Educational songs with curriculum ranging from math facts, phonics, geography and even history. My children just sing along, have fun and don’t even know they are learning facts that will help them later in school. And all I have to do is press play on our CD player. We listen in the car and at home.
Songs that teach are a natural way to learn. Music is fun! Everyone loves music. It is something the whole family can listen to together. Parents and children can sing along - even dance. My own proof is that I can still remember many skip counting songs I heard as a child. And what about the alphabet? Quick - what letter comes before P? Did you just sing part of the alphabet song to find it? Advertisers know the power of learning through music; they use it when they create their jingles. They know that when we remember those catchy tunes we also remember their product.
The power of music is far reaching. Rhythm and music make it easy to remember facts and music can help you memorize them faster. Current neurological research validates that music helps in retention. Researchers have also drawn connections between learning and the arts. For example, a study at Columbia University confirmed that children exposed to the arts develop many important life skills associated with success. Music is even used successfully in therapy for stroke and Alzheimer's patients.
Educational music adds variety to any curriculum. Many of the music CDs we’ve found have visual booklets to follow along or free worksheets to download from the internet. It’s the perfect way to get the repetition you need to teach what normally would be boring memorization facts.
There are other benefits as well. Learning with music can be especially beneficial for a child who is an auditory learner. Listening to music is something children can do besides watching hours of television and playing computer games. Music can be played in the background during activities like drawing or doing chores. Listeners develop an appreciation for music. Listening and learning together brings families closer and even Mom and Dad can learn something too.
So why not use music to help us learn? It’s enjoyable, pleasant and easy to use. Learning new topics will help give your child a head start on new topics at school and boost their confidence. Music with a purpose fits so well in our busy lifestyles. There is googols to learn and all you have to do is listen!
By Susan Jarema