Did you Know~ Music and Art in Schools

by Lawrence
My wife and I home schooled our five children for four years during their lower grades. As an aside, and to give some semblance of proximity, their present ages are 17, 16, 15, 14, and 13. One of our sons went to school for four years before we pulled him back out for nearly straight F’s. Even though his test scores were significantly higher than they should be at his grade level, his attitude toward daily assignments was nearing ignorance. He was bored into believing high school didn’t mean anything and felt stifled by the routine. In home school we gave him the opportunity to pursue whatever he wanted, so long as he found a course of study that would serve him well for entering college, should he choose to do so. He immediately began building an electric guitar, a desire of his for several years since we couldn’t afford one. He went out into the woods, cut a tree, and made the neck, using an old metal coat hanger for the frets. He picked up an old throw away header board and cut it up for the body, then grabbed some tuning pegs of a guitar that was rather inferior. He put all of those parts together, all the while searching the internet for instructions on construction and parts lists. I ordered some fine gauge wire that we couldn’t find at the hardware store, and he wound his own pickups using his mother’s sewing machine. He has been salvaging parts from older electronic components for several years, a trait that became valuable when he needed controls for his guitar. The not quite finished guitar sounds incredible on the cheap amp he got at a yard sale. He already knows a few songs and is starting on his next guitar, which he contends will be much better. I believe him.

Our other children have each had differing successes in art or music, each one expressing themselves to their own abillity and need. Some require the structure provided by school, although sometimes chafing at it. At least one felt inhibited, almost suffocating, from the limitations of that structure. We have found that the opportunities presented by schools is only a part of the equation. All children are unique in how they deal with their expressions through art and music, as well as their various and diverse experiences while passing though the educational system. To my mind the biggest thing is – that they believe in themselves, and have the support they need to fulfill their purpose in life.


3 thoughts on “Did you Know~ Music and Art in Schools

  1. Wonderful story. Not all boys and girls who can’t sit still or ‘get’ school are in the wrong, rather one mold does not fit all. I also believe children mature at different levels and reach some of their potential at different ages, some at elementary, some at middle, some in high school and others in their twenties. I still remember the plane from cardboard and toothpicks modeled after the Wright Bros which i made in 6th grade.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Kim. Glad you agree, as I see you’ve had experience with diversity. Schools are money driven and, as such, have way too many strictures for active young minds in my opinion. This new thing that River is doing sounds awesome for facilitating an avenue toward waking, instead of stifling, young minds. I hope it starts some more open thinking about the value of something besides money. Mainly our children, who, after all, are the future. Be well and take care of all that matters, and this includes you.

  3. that, my dear friend, is pure love for art. i agree that it may be a bit unconventional, but i think that it’s precisely the unconventional side of it that proves its reality. your son has my deepest admiration – that is the kind of passion that would be needed in any area, not just in music :).
    and as for your article – i love the personal tone of it. i love how you made all your readers a part of your son’s experience, and i thank you for sharing with us the way he found his own way :).

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