Hymn Studies

First thing in the morning, we work on our morning meeting. This has been a wonderful time; the kids love it. We learn about truth, beauty, and virtues. We dedicate part of our morning to singing a hymn and studying it together.

Our first hymn that we studied was Be Thou My Vision. Such a beautiful hymn! We talked about the words, tried to understand them in our limited ways, listened to the song on YouTube, and sang along while holding/reading our copies. It was wonderful. We sang it in the car, when we were working around the house, and I asked our church to sing it one Sunday. We spent weeks learning it; I really wanted to teach these hymns from rest, and while my impulse is to learn as many as possible, I want us to really learn the words. So we take our time. And it's been just lovely. The kids loved singing it at church, where they don't always know or can read the words to the songs we sing, but they knew this one!
The hymn we started last week is It Is Well With My Soul. Goodness, when you hear the story behind that one, it will really amaze you! I cry almost every time we sing it now. This is a video with the story of the author, Horatio Spafford.

Really changes the way you read the words, doesn't it?

Our first week has us singing the first verse and refrain while we're working and cleaning. Sometimes Jeremy will be home while we're listening and singing it in the living room, and it's a little family worship. Even Esmond will hold his copy of the hymn and sing along with us.

So why study hymns? Hymns were used throughout church history, not only to praise God, but also to memorize theology. Our church doesn't sing hymns very often, but I wanted my kids to know how to read a hymnal and have some hymns memorized. Plus, hymns have rich meanings that we don't always see in today's modern praise and worship.

As in "when sorrows like sea billows roll," Spafford is talking about the sea billows that took his daughters. But he doesn't write of drowning in those sorrows...he goes on to say "Thou hast taught me to say, it is well with my soul." Hopefully, the lesson the kids and I are learning is to rest and have peace in whatever our circumstances.

This hymn study is a variation of the classical method of studying classical music, and it has been rich. I still believe studying classical music is important, but we're learning so much more than just music appreciation. I simply find the hymn on YouTube to listen and sing along with, and I find free copies of the hymn music to read. I look for a little background on each hymn (author, history, etc.) to read at the beginning of our study. I have also printed off staff paper for Eowyn to use to copy the music. This gives her a little extra piano/music reading practice. But it's all free!

What do you think? Is a hymn study something that would fit in nicely with your homeschool? Or even if you aren't homeschooling, I think studying these hymns and memorizing the words would help bring a little peace to homes. Who can yell at kids when they are singing "It is well with my soul?" (Now if I could just get them to sing those words all day long, we really would have lots of peace! And, yes, I need to sing those words all day long, too.)

*This post was moved over from Homesteading on Grace from last year. We studied several hymns using this method and loved each and every one of them. I moved this post over because it was such a special time for us, and I'm excited to share it with you and start studying hymns in our morning meetings again now.


  1. I just recently started hymn studies and I love it. I discovered the Olney Hymn Book (John Newton) and hymns and poetry by John Bunyan and have fallen in love with those also. Thanks for sharing how you study hymns with your family.