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Hymn Study for Homeschool

Updated on July 14, 2015

Words of Faith Wrapped in Music

Aren't hymns old fashioned and out of style? Why study them? Even if you prefer to sing modern praise choruses, your faith will be strengthened by studying the words of the hymns. Many of them are rich in theology and Biblical truth. And they remain a part of our Christian heritage. What a shame to lose that history through neglect.

These two articles offer excellent defenses for singing and studying the traditional hymns of our faith:

Why We Still Need Hymns in a Postmodern Society and

Why Young People are Returning to Old Hymn Texts

A Charlotte Mason education includes many traditional studies such as Shakespeare, poetry, nature, composers, artists, and hymns. In fact, studying the great hymns of the Christian faith is a rich cross-curricular pursuit. A single hymn provides tangents of study in fields of history, language arts, Bible, theology, and poetry. You could legitimately create an entire unit study out of a single hymn! Or you could keep it simple, as Miss Mason suggested, and study one hymn per month.

photo credit

What is Hymn Study?

Like anything in homeschool, hymn study is versatile. There is no one right way to do it. Pick and choose from these possible activities.

1. Learn the song -- its words, its meanings, and its tune.

  • Listen to the hymn on a CD or online.
  • If you play an instrument, you can use the sheet music or a hymnal to play it.
  • If there is new vocabulary, you can look up the words, using your dictionary skills.

Where to get Hymns Online

The Cyber Hymnal

Garden of Praise

Reformed University Fellowship Hymnbook

2. From there you can branch out to the theology and the history in the song.

  • What scripture is in this song?
  • What Bible verses parallel the ideas in the song?
  • What is the story behind the song?
  • Who is the song writer?

3. Later you can use the song for language arts.

Free Online Hymn Study Plans - Helps for Choosing Hymns to Study

No matter your age, from young to old, everyone can learn from and enjoy hymn study. The key is choosing appropriate hymns.

Use these lists and study plans to help you choose the best hymns to suit your family and your academic or spiritual goals.

Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 1

The official website of Hymns for a Kid's Heart offers free downloads of sheet music and MP3 audio files of all the songs used in each of the four books of the series.

Each CD and book set with twelve songs provides all you need for a year's worth of hymn study, selecting one song per month. These gorgeously illustrated books are a practical choice for hymn study for young children or for those just starting out because everything is planned out for you and is on a child's level. These are the books we started with.

Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 1
Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 1
Each hymn is presented in parts. First a short (2 page) narrative introduces the author of the hymn's lyrics. Next Joni Eareckson Tada shares a one page devotional related to the theme of the hymn. The words of the hymn, complete with the music span the next two pages which end with a Bible verse and a prayer. Songs are all classic hymns: 1. Holy, Holy, Holy! 2. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God 3. This Is My Father's World 4. O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing 5. How Firm a Foundation 6. Amazing Grace! 7. The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want 8. Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart 9. Take My Life, and Let It Be 10. America the Beautiful 11. Our God, Our Help in Ages Past 12. Eternal Father, Strong to Save The CD does have a "children's" feel to it. The singers are children, but in some songs the children's choir is backup to an adult singer.

The Full Hymns for a Kid's Heart Series

Christmas Carols for Kid's Heart (Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 3)
Christmas Carols for Kid's Heart (Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 3)
Read a review of this book and CD set by Brenda at Heart of the Matter

Hymn History Resources - Stories Behind the Hymns

For older elementary and up, you will want a meatier approach to hymn study. These are good choices for learning the stories behind the hymns -- the history, the writers, and the circumstances that brought about the classic songs we now sing.

Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories
Then Sings My Soul: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories
Read a review of this book written by Karen Andreola.

Hymns as Copywork, Dictation, and Memorization - Hymn Study Printables

Hymn study works well with Bible notebooking. Here are printables to help you with notebooking the hymns that you study.

Photos From Our Hymn Study

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Mighty Fortress Notebooking PageA Mighty Fortress Notebooking PageA Mighty Fortress Notebooking PageA Mighty Fortress Notebooking PageHymn Study NotesHoly, Holy, Holy, Notebooking pageHymn Study ResourcesMartin Luther Notebooking Page
A Mighty Fortress Notebooking Page
A Mighty Fortress Notebooking Page
A Mighty Fortress Notebooking Page
A Mighty Fortress Notebooking Page
A Mighty Fortress Notebooking Page
A Mighty Fortress Notebooking Page
A Mighty Fortress Notebooking Page
A Mighty Fortress Notebooking Page
Hymn Study Notes
Hymn Study Notes
Holy, Holy, Holy, Notebooking page
Holy, Holy, Holy, Notebooking page
Hymn Study Resources
Hymn Study Resources
Martin Luther Notebooking Page
Martin Luther Notebooking Page


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you so much for the hymnsforkids link which you have mentioned in your site . I was desperately looking out for free sheet music of some favourite hymns to help my son in learning who has cleared his Grade 1 ABRSM recently . This morning after a close to an hours search in google i prayed "Lord please help me find a good site where i can get what iam looking for" and God has given me more than what i was looking for . I thank God for listening to even my simple prayers ..i don't leave any comments usually in any site but today iam leaving this comment mainly to tell you that your site is a blessing ..keep up the good work .. i have not explored your site fully iam going to do that when i find some more time .. Thanx a lot .may god Bless you abundantly .

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for the great ideas! We are just starting hymn study in our homeschool and this is just the ticket.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the many great resources for a hymn study. I had been wanting to start but couldn't get my mind wrapped around how to do it. I'm hoping to introduce hymns chronologically as the author lived. Does anyone have a resource to help me map hymns chronologically?

    • Violin-Student profile image


      8 years ago

      Very good lens. I've often said that one of the problems with modern worship choruses is the lack of theology involved. (Not all, but many.) They often seem rather shallow to me. I will definitely be using this as inspiration to continue my quest to get local churches to sing music written before Bill Gaither was born. We had a worship leader at a church I attended who would discuss the history and theology involved in at least one hymn a week. Sadly, he has moved on to other ministries. I learned a great deal from his three minute talks each week.

      I also dislike the removal of hymnals from the pews. Many people develop at least basic skills at reading sheet music through the printed music in the hymnals. That doesn't happen when the lyrics are projected on a screen.

      I don't mean that to sound like a rant, but it probably does. Thanks for this page!

      --Art Haule

    • yayas profile image


      9 years ago

      This is great. I don't home school, but I'm always looking for new ways to learn interesting things. Thanks for the great printables, too.

    • iijuan12 profile image


      9 years ago from Florida

      Great lens (as usual)! We love the Mr. Pipes series by Douglas Bond. A grandfather figure, Mr. Pipes, takes a young girl and boy on various adventures as they study the background and history of many of the wonderful hymns. We own "The Accidential Voyage: Discovering Hymns of the Early Centuries," "Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers," and "Mr. Pipes Comes to America." Blessed.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      I have always loved singing hymns. In fact, by singing hymns at church and in the choir I became fluent at reading. I remember running into new vocabulary words and pondering about them throughout the sermon until I could ask about them in the car on the way home. It bothers me that my children are not learning these beautiful songs. I like the idea of learning a hymn a week. Thank you for creating this wonderful resource.

      Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful lens! I love the old hymns and often find myself singing them in my head at difficult times.

    • James M Becher profile image

      James M Becher 

      9 years ago from South Florida

      Thanks for this great lense. I lensrolled it to and featured it on my lense: Great Hymns Of The Faith

    • blessedmomto7 profile image


      9 years ago

      Oh how I miss the hymns. I actually have used Hymns for a Kid's heart in my homeschool. Love the idea of using them for copywork. You have many great resources here, thanks. Blessed!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      9 years ago from So Cal

      Had to come back to bless this lens. Great job, great information!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      9 years ago from So Cal

      I like this one two levels. I am not happy that the hymns are now considered too old to use in church so I am happy to see someone stating the obvious. I like the whole homeschooling aspect that I will add to my child's public school education. Thanks for a great lens!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love that homeschoolers use multiple intelligences to explore a topic, hymns being one example.

    • dustytoes profile image


      9 years ago

      This lens has been reviewed on Squidoo Lens Review. Come get your badge if you'd like.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      9 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      This is great! Children would actually learn what the hymns are about with this method, as well as learning all kinds of other useful things. Great job!

    • dustytoes profile image


      9 years ago

      When I sang in the children's choir, a long time ago, I remember that I really didn't pay much attention to what I was singing. Using hymns for teaching is such a fantastic idea. Covering history, writing, music and faith all at once. Your little girl (?) certainly looks proud of her achievement.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Oh, this is nice . . . you took the words about why the hymns are incredibly important and sorely needed today right out of my mouth. The resources are first rate (I love how there are lead sheets and chords and demo MP3s in the RUF Hymnbook online, so I'm linking to it from my The Free HIMbook lens), and, if the Lord grants me to be a mom someday, I will be rolling back here for some resources to supplement my homeschooling materials. I'm favoriting you, and Lensrolling you to all 14 of my hymn-related lenses (and the 15th, when it is done). Keep up the good work, to the glory of our great God!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I love this idea of Hymn Study and it could even be used as a project for Sunday Schoolers. Lensrolled to my Sunday School Songs and Blessed.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Love this lens. thanks for doing so much research and putting great resources here.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 

      10 years ago

      This is brilliant! I love the old hymns.

    • Everyday-Miracles profile image


      10 years ago

      Oooh! I like this, Jimmie! I never would have thought about something like this. Thanks for sharing it with me.

      Evy's still very young yet, but I am looking for ways to build her faith through our home schooling. Not exactly sure where to start since she's still only 2, but looking forward to the journey (thanks to you and others like you, I feel confident that I'll be okay).

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      10 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Jimmie, this is wonderful!! The "Hymns for a Kid's Heart" series is fantastic. I've used them with my kids and the choir kids at church for devotionals. Thank you for collecting these resources and sharing them so the world may know God a little better. :D

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 

      10 years ago

      Great lens, Jimmie. I really think that children should study hymns with their parents, to improve their cultural understanding of history, arts etc. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 

      10 years ago

      This is an excellent lens on hymn study for homeschooling. I'm going to pass this on to some homeschooling friends. Blessed by an angel.


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