Spotlight on the Crew — Homeschooling and the Performing Arts

{This week’s Spotlight on the Crew article is brought to you from Debra, at Note-able Scraps.}

It was the longest church aisle in history, or so said my father, and he walked the length of it in front of a crowd twice:  once for my mother, and once for me.  My mother’s church met in a long, narrow building. Having successfully made the trek once in order to marry my mother, my dad was again pressed into service when I was three.  My aunt thought it would be wonderful for me to sing special music.  My dad took my hand after the Doxology and walked me to the front of the room.  We went up on stage and he said, “OK, Debbi, time to sing your song.”  I do not remember the event, but I have been told that I stood there on the stage and flatly refused to make a sound.  My dad had to apologize to everyone and walk me back down the aisle to our seat.

The next year, when I was four, my dad walked me down that aisle again, and this time I sang.  I continued to sing, then began playing the piano.  The advantage to starting so young was that I was never afraid to get up in front of a crowd.

Musical Theatre @ Suite 101 says that

Performing arts is a profound and important part of any child’s education, and the skills learned and experience gained in taking drama classes, having singing lessons and/or joining a dance school or glee club will affect and improve many of your child’s abilities in many areas of their life.

The author, Kim Edwards, goes on to list benefits of studying performing arts for children, whether or not they choose to pursue performing arts as a career.  These include:  developing creativity, developing confidence, promoting self-discipline and self-motivation, being exposed to art and culture, overcoming anxieties, learning memorizing skills, improving language and musical skills, learning problem-solving, and social interaction and cooperation.  Gaining experience in Performing Arts is an invaluable asset to any child’s education.

Home-schooled children tend to excel in various arts.  The challenge can be finding an outlet for performance.  Homeschool groups, churches, or community theaters may provide these opportunities.

If you do not have any of these available, you may have to get creative. When my children were very small, I commented to our minister’s wife that if the church were to start a children’s choir, my children would be interested; furthermore, I would be willing to direct it.  An elder standing nearby said, “You’ve got yourself a project!”

As we have moved around with the military, this has pretty much become my modus operandi:  I direct children’s choir so that my children can be in it.  When we moved to California, a Christian private school was looking for someone to direct a children’s play.  I told them I would be willing to direct it if my children could be in it; they agreed. We are currently on our sixth children’s play here at our church in North Carolina, and my oldest now helps me as an assistant director.

“That’s great,” you may be thinking, “but I don’t have any of those abilities.”  Just like so many of our homeschool subjects, everything is available on the Internet these days.  If you are not comfortable teaching higher math, you can find a program to teach it.  Performing Arts is the same way.  Children’s plays from places like and come with CD accompaniment, director’s notes, and videos to teach the choreography.  You do not need a music degree to direct a play. has wonderful resources for all ages, and they make the copyrighted material much more affordable.  Do you have a smaller group and no budget? Short skits and music can be found all over the Internet.  (*Note:  Make sure that you follow copyright guidelines.)

If you have the opportunity to participate in a music, dance, or drama program for a church or homeschool group, it is a fantastic experience for your children.  If those audiences are not available to you, singing or performing skits for small groups of homeschool friends or grandparents will develop just as much confidence as well as performing skills in your children.  Hospitals and nursing homes are full of willing audiences, and you will be a blessing to the residents there.  The most important thing I think we can teach our children in Performing Arts is to use their talents for God and to serve others.

Sometimes it is difficult to fit more than the required academics into our busy homeschool schedules, but I would encourage you to pursue Performing Arts with your children in whatever venue is available to you.  The benefits will last a lifetime!



Debra Haagen is an author, military wife and homeschooling mother who lives wherever the Navy sends her.  Visit her at Note-able Scraps.




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