Mommy, Can We Practice Now? by Marie Parkinson is another helpful book for parents whose children are involved in music lessons. Paying for violin or piano lessons is one thing. Making sure the kiddos practice every day at home without losing one’s temper is another thing altogether.
First, let me tell you a story. I have a friend who puts her children in a public school. She does not understand why I homeschool. That’s fine. We respect each other and have wonderful conversations about being a mom and cooking and life in our small town.
She definitely does not understand why I pay somebody else to teach my children violin and piano when I can play violin and some piano – albeit not at a concert soloist level. Indeed, it may seem inconsistent. To say “I am not a violin teacher by training” is the same as to say “I am not a physics teacher by training.” Which means I really have no business tackling my children’s education as a homeschooler, overall.
But this is where I disagree. Physics or chemistry or reading or any other school subject are very different from the arts. Music and art are best taught by somebody who is trained as an artist and, even better, as a teacher of artists.
Look, my son is 8 and he is teaching himself to code from two books I got him on Amazon. He already knows more than I do and that’s fine. I have no interest in learning how to code. I have a big picture of the process. He has shown me almost every new command he has learned and I get the idea. But I don’t need to become a coding specialist in order to have a son who can code.
There are some things we can teach ourselves and we don’t have to have a graduate degree in the matter. There are some things we can teach others without a graduate degree in the matter.
I do need to know what I am talking about when it comes to reading, spelling, math, and handwriting. If you can teach a child the 3 Rs, you can homeschool. Once a child can read, he is off to the races. That’s what homeschooling is all about: releasing the child into the world of knowledge with enthusiasm and self-confidence. Then he can pick for himself the career that fits his God-given talents and abilities.
Back to music lessons and art lessons and this book. My job as a mom is to enforce daily practice. But how do you do that if the child refuses to practice? I have spent a lot of time finding the right teachers for my children. We spend lots of money on lessons, instruments, and sheet music. If I do not get the skills to motivate my children to practice DAILY, it is all a waste.
Teachers can give you clues and hints and book titles and task worksheets, but you have to apply all that knowledge somehow. One such book is Mommy, Can We Practice Now? It will give you ideas on how to get your little stubborn child to pick up the violin and go through two measures of Suzuki Etude at a time, five times each or whatever tasks the teacher has lined up on her assignment.
The idea in this book is to offer your child a reward for practicing, progressively. If you cannot get this book, which offers a lot of coloring pages for you to use with your child, you can get coloring sheets from the internet and have the child color one thing at a time on the picture if need be.
Who does not want a stress-free practice session EVERY DAY? Is that even possible? Yes, it is. This may not be the only book you need on the subject, as not all children enjoy drawing or coloring as a reward, but it will get your thinking in the right direction. It will steer you away from a domineering stance over your poor little child who does not understand why mommy is so angry about violin practice.
Empower yourself by reading such books. That’s what homeschooling is all about.