Monday, April 29, 2013

Home School in the Woods Composer Study (Schoolhouse Review)

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Composers….one of those topics that I’ve always wanted to have Emily study, but just never found the time to fit it in!  I recently remedied that by embarking on a study of composers from the Middle Ages to modern times with the help of  Home School in the Woods’ Hands-On Activity Pak on Composers.

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This lap-book study includes 6 different projects covering 42 composers, the orchestra, and musical terminology. Some of the activities included making a timeline of composers, a lift-the-flap keyboard to learn musical terms, such as sonata,  minuet, pitch, orchestration, measure, etc., and making a small booklet about each composer.

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We studied a new composer every day or two, making this a quick survey of composers, but after over a month of using the Activity Pak, we still are barely into the Romantic Period and have many more to composers to cover! 

In order to learn about each composer and the different period of music, we had to do some outside research. The Composers Activity Pak includes matching cards with the composers’ pictures and very basic information, but we didn’t find that to be enough. We found several excellent children’s books about composers at the library. We also used the internet and other resources we had at hand.

One feature that we especially liked were the 29 included recordings (over 90 minutes of music). This made it so easy to read about a composer, then pick a selection from that composer to listen to while Emily wrote or drew about her impressions of the music on the corresponding Music Appreciation page.

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My Thoughts:

  • I love the artwork in this Activity Pak. As with all Home School in the Woods products, the graphics are beautiful.
  • The resulting lap book is attractive and covers a variety of music topics, from composers to music terminology to instruments in an orchestra.
  • I loved the included music selections for many of the composers.
  • I wish there had been more actual teaching information included about the composers and periods of music so that this would have been more of a self-contained study.
  • Every single page was in a separate PDF file. This made it very tedious and time-consuming to print. If these pages had been combined into one or even several files, printing would have been so much easier!
  • Overall, this was a fun study that complemented our current world history studies.

The Hands-On History Composers Activity-Pak sells for:

  • $18.95 (download)
  • $19.95 (cd)

Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed other products from Home School in the Woods. Click on the banner below to read more!

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