When I was about six, I had the chance to be part of the sunday school Christmas presentation. I was the M of “MERRY CHRISTMAS”. But I wasn’t getting on stage to wish Jesus a happy birthday if my salvation depended on it. I had a bout of serious shyness (hard to believe when you meet me now, but I am telling the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me…unless you ask me to get on a stage, then I don’t need help).
Though we educate our children from home, they are fully imbued with the benefits of education in the community. There have been piano recitals, violin recitals, dance performances, gymnastics and soccer demonstrations, community theatre presentations, and choir performances. My kids have the performing bug.
And it ain’t coming from my husband or me. Neither of us are natural performers. Though I played a part in a few church choir performances, dressed for a couple fashion shows and spent six years playing clarinet in the school band, I was exposed to the stage, but happy to be surrounded by many.
Our kids’ natural performing penchant definitely originates in them. There were so many performances they created in the living room, with tickets, entrance fees, and special seating, way before we got them involved in out of home activities.
Church Christmas plays and choirs, right from playing the baby Jesus (though our baby had blond hair & blue eyes) to narrating the entire Christmas play.
Piano and violin recitals. In my early homeschool zeal, I conceptualized all solid homeschooled kids learned to play an instrument. I’d read piano or violin were the place to start. I gave my eldest the choice. She chose violin. There is no greater commitment to child musical training than to rent a violin, bow and buy some of that horse wax stuff so that your kiddo can squeak out Frere Jacque a half an hour every day.
I had all three girls pick up the violin at some point, but I had my first play until she complained loud enough for me to discuss her reservations with the instructor. If it were his child, he wouldn’t force it, he said. So I returned her violin and bow to the music store, said goodbye to the local symphony concertmaster and the girls’ teacher and said hello to household quiet.
Until she asked to play the guitar six months later. I knew this independent- minded child wouldn’t want a traditional music theory and practice approach, so I found her a musician that would teach her to play her favourite Taylor Swift pieces and away she went. She never publicly performed, but she enjoyed it while she did it all the same.
Our second and third daughters, on the other hand, had loads of piano recitals and festival competitions.
Choir performances. And did I tell you about the fabulous youth choirs, led by Alison Girvan, that our daughters have been part of since we moved into this artistically endowed town? These choirs have brought them to performances across Canada, to weekend retreats and social connection and mentorship that facilitates a healthy youth identity.
Dance performances. Frankly, I’ve been in awe of what our girls have accomplished on stage in dance. Every showcase I am surprised again at the efforts and creativity that their dance teachers, led by Slava Doval, have facilitated in them. They’ve been mentored in spirit and in dance by encouraging mentors and have been given opportunities to TA younger dance classes too.
Theatre presentations. Our home learning community puts on a week of family entertaining performances. Over the years, they’ve presented The Tempest, The Most Amazing Birthday Party Ever, Captain Bree & Her Lady Pirates, Princess Whatsername, and Tut Tut. The costumes, the sets, the lighting, the direction, the music, is beyond anything I would expect in a schooled play (and if you’re a parent of these kids, you are the ones making it all happen).
Community theatre. Every summer, our artistic community offers a student youth theatre in our town and for a few years, our kids participated in a summer music school with community performances to finish.
Performance opportunities have abounded in our homeschool world, because the kids sought them out. Be a homeschooler and perform on stage? Yup. Where there’s a want, there’s a way.