Making Music At Home

From the Heart title

Special thanks to Jennifer Hayenga for sharing today’s From the Heart segment.  She’s very passionate about sharing music with her kiddos, and I sure appreciate her sharing some of the songs that they enjoy in their home, and what her kids have been able to learn by participating in music education – both at home and in class!  Jennifer’s family lives in the Dallas, TX area.  You’ll learn more about her in her post.  Here’s Jenn:

One of the subjects across the board that I see overlooked is music education and the mentioning of children’s music CD’s or songs that parents are sharing with their children.  As a gifted educator in science, MS in curriculum, Mom of twins, I see that many skill sets are often introduced to children but few are truly developed.  Most parents tend to gravitate towards sampling, allowing the child to decide, since there are so many choices out there.

Music education for children doesn’t necessarily mean playing an instrument or being able to correctly identify one when asked.  It is about making neuro-connections with your child’s brain and stimulating the receptive and expressive systems.  The receptive system primarily impacts music aptitude which continues to develop until approximately 9 years of age.  During this time, music ability increases or decreases from the lack of quality stimulation which is when a child’s singing voice is also developing.  From birth through age five, the brain is much more active than later on, making this a crucial time for “laying down the foundation” and “building the connections” that will last a lifetime. In addition, children also build vocabulary through music and learn how to pronounce words correctly which is why an early start is beneficial to proper language development.

Not all children need to be enrolled in a music class for this type of learning to be achieved.  Parents can implement these kinds of activities at home teaching their children about macro and micro beats, vocal play, verse variation, fingerplays and more.

Some of my favorite songs are:

“Me, You, and We” by K. Guilmartin

“I Had a Little Frog” by Mary Anne Hrin

“My Ball” by L. Levinowitz

“Apples and Cherries” by K. Guilmartin

“Great Big Stars” (credit unknown)

“Between” by Wayne Brady

“Buzz Buzz “by Laurie Berkner

Laurie Berkner has wonderful children’s music and her CD’s can be checked out from the library for FREE.  Another favorite one of ours is Road Trip Sing-Alongs which is a 3 CD set playing familiar songs from your childhood.  My twins still love them today.  We also play our music at home, in the car and do fingerplays and activities together.    My children have just turned 2 and have been singing verses to songs since they were a year and have been doing fingerplays since that time.  It has been amazing to watch their vocabulary and understanding of words grow.  They learned their pronouns at age 1, opposites such as (Big-Little, Short-Tall, Up-Down, In-Out, On-Off, full-empty, Open-Close, Stop-Go, Push-Pull) and many others all because of MUSIC that I played and sang with them in our home and not from a paid music class!  If you have any favorite songs or music, please share.  We would love to hear what your kids love.

I am including a few pics from our music class session so you can see some of the things occurring in class and how the parents are participating.

I have cropped other children out of Jenn’s pictures since we don’t have their parent’s approval to post their photographs on the internet.  You can see her two sweethearts participating in a drum class with their teacher.

Music2 Music5


Another great music/tech/language connection Becca enjoys are the Signing Time dvds as well as Rachel and the Treeschoolers dvds – which we find at our library.  Rachel Coleman teaches kids through songs how to use sign language to communicate in Signing Time, and in Rachel and the Treeschoolers, they not only learn signs, but also a lot of basic preschool concepts as well – our favorite is the weather dvd.  I love how she encourages the Treeschoolers to not be afraid of a thunderstorm!! 

Our favorite cd to listen to in the car is by the Justin Graves Band and is children’s worship music – we have their Happy to Be Me Cd!

Life’s What You Make It!

I so appreciate my dear friend, Haley, sharing her heart with us today.  She does a marvelous job of teaching her children about God’s love on a daily basis, and helping instill a loving and caring spirit in each of them.  So she has shared with us today a few of the ideas she has implemented in their home to help encourage her kids to be their best.
So my life is definitely not turning out like I thought it would be but that rarely happens right?  The Bible tells us “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails,” (Proverbs 19:21).  My family and I have found this to be so, so true! We are here for the kingdom of God and that is our purpose to glorify Him. I was an early childhood teacher and loved that teaching allowed me to be creative and work with little people. I thought when I had kids I would run, jump, and play with them…not what multiple sclerosis has allowed my body to do. I was very bitter and didn’t think the things I can do with my children are very important. However, God is teaching me that my children will learn compassion and what it truly means to love and serve Jesus because they see people help their mommy and they see their mommy struggle each day.
God has blessed my husband and I with three wonderful children and it’s our responsibility to teach them how to serve in the kingdom of God. I try to do several things that teach my children what it means to love God and love others.  I started “The Dumpe Family Blessing Jar” a few years ago. My family writes down blessings God has given us and puts them in the jar. Many times the blessings are playing with trucks and drawing with chalk outside! We read them in November and December and add new blessings that start in January.
We also have a “family prayer jar.”  I took pictures of our extended family members and glued them on popsicle sticks (you can get a lot of pictures from Facebook). My kids choose a family to pray for during the week. We also do the same thing with our Christmas cards. (I put them all in a box and we choose a family to pray for.)
I also just started a “fruit of the spirit jar” with my kids to help with discipline. I put each fruit (from Galatians 5:22) in an envelope and the kids take turns pulling out a “fruit” everyday (love, joy, peace, patience, etc…). I make an effort to look for that particular “fruit ” in their behavior during the day. If I see it, they get to put a pom-pom in the jar, and when the jar is full we do something fun. For example, they just filled the jar with pom-poms and we took them to get pancakes!
I am also trying to be intentional with teaching my kids to “let their light shine” (Matthew 5:16). We always put out water bottles for the garbage men, treats and notes occasionally for the mailman, and we bring a treat every Sunday for the man that sells newspapers at the intersection near our home. We also carry granola bars to give away if we someone that might need one while we’re driving.
Lastly, every day I love taking my oldest to school in the morning. It sounds weird and I do love to have them all at home (most of the time), but it’s caused to me to be very intentional. When we leave for school, we put on our armor of God and shake the fruit of spirit all over us (Galatians 6:10-20 and 5:22). We take turns praying for our daddy, teachers, and classmates. It is about a five minute drive to school, so I’ve learned to be pretty concise.
I hope these ideas are helpful for your family! Please feel free to share your ideas with me. As I said before, this is a completely different life than I thought, however God has entrusted my husband and I with three wonderful children! It is my joy and responsibility to teach them about the kingdom of God.
In Christ,
“I urge you to lead a life worthy of your calling for you have been called by God.” Ephesians 4:1
Haley is a stay at home mom who is married to Jarrod, an orthopedic surgeon.  They have three kids – Grayson, age 7, and boy/girl twins Noah and Reese, age 4.
Would you like to share activities you do with your kids?  Please contact me today!  I’d love to have you provide a guest post!

Train Up Your Child…

I’m so excited to share our first Wednesday post from a reader!  Be sure to check out the end of this post for Aly’s bio and a link to her blog!

Being pregnant is fun, especially when it’s your first. Your heart and mind fills with dreams and hopes and wishes and teddy bears and it’s just a lot of fun all around. I remember seeing the little pink plus sign and thinking “I’m having a daughter!” I started dreaming about all sorts of things. We picked a name, Amelia, when we found out my first thought was correct. We picked a color scheme for her room, yellow and green – we tried to go easy on the pink overload but that is harder to do than it sounds. We picked out sheets and curtains and a crib. We discussed sleep training methods and birth plans and eating habits and diapering options and child rearing practices. It was all very idealistic.

We she was born, the idealism stuck with us for about a year. Call it a honeymoon phase of parenthood. I won’t get into the details, but it was basically the smoothest first year a baby could possibly have. Now she’s a year an a half old, though. Now she has opinions. Now she can walk and run and make her own decisions. My little baby girl who slept through the night at 5 weeks has the ability to tell me no – and usually does it fairly respectfully. When did that happen?

When I realized this change, I adjusted my focus from basic needs like sustenance and excrement to character building. I want her to learn independence coupled with respect for authority. Turns out that’s a really hard balance. I want her to be creative and curious, to have a smile that graces her face easily, and to have a heart that is gentle and kind. Again, I have a lot of lofty idealistic goals. I’d really like to say this second year is going as smoothly as the first one did but training character is a LOT harder than training sleep apparently. So I dug into Scripture. When I don’t know, God does. 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Alright, I need to love God with everything that I am. Tell my children about God and His commandments at every opportunity. Keep reminders of God’s commandments all over the place. 

I gotta come clean here, I don’t love God with everything that I am. I love God but with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength? That’s a tall order. Sometimes, my heart is a little focused on other things, like my schedule or my responsibilities or pizza. Let me be clear, these things are not bad. In fact, they are good things and they often need my attention, particularly the pizza, but there is a difference between having my attention and having my soul. What is my heart, soul, and strength focused on? 

So how do I make that transition from pizza to God? Let’s look back at Deuteronomy. Scripture says to impress the Lord’s commandments on my heart and on my children. I need to talk about them everywhere we are, wherever we go. Write them all over the place, keep them close by to know and to read over and over. Basically, Philippians 4:8

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I love how practical the Bible is. It doesn’t just tell me to

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

but it tells me how to do that. In case you missed it, I’ll give you some bullet points. Here’s how to train up a child. 

  • Love God with everything you are
  • Tell your children about God 
  • Tell your children about God’s commandments
  • Talk about God everywhere you go
  • Write God’s commandments all over the place
  • Focus on good thing
  • Pray (we didn’t discuss this one in this post but when all else fails, run to God. Actually, run to God even if nothing is failing because He’s the one in control of it all either way)

Aly lives in San Antonio where she is a stay at home mom and wife. She has 4 children. Amelia is a year and a half. Her second two children, Leonard and Sam, are at home with the Lord due to miscarriages. Her fourth child is currently unnamed and will make his or her appearance in October. Aly loves Jesus and hopes to be a missionary in Madagascar one day. You can read more from her at