To be honest, the seeds of our decision to homeschool were planted long before this moment, but here I had to face a choice: who was going to spend every day raising my daughter, helping her to be a saint? It had to be me. I was going to be the one to expose her to the good, the true, and the beautiful.
And so here I am, Veronica Moreno, mother of five, former special education teacher, wife, and cantor at the local parish. I’m not the most pedagogically-savvy, nor the most talented musician, but I currently live where education and music meet, and so I wanted to share some thoughts about that.
BEFORE STUDYING ACADEMICS, but after teaching the Faith, I wanted my children to meet the sacred in all of the arts. For this reason, we listen to and recite Dickinson’s poetry, we have artist studies where we observe and live with Vermeer’s paintings, we have composer studies where our ears drink up Mozart’s sonatas, and we have a piano teacher who visits our two oldest once a week. But there is something different about sacred art.
Especially sacred music. Most astoundingly, when the music is for the Sacrifice of the Mass.
So, in preparing for this past year’s hymn-chant study, the materials provided by CCWatershed have been invaluable. As a busy homeschooling mom, having an easy-to-print pdf document of various ancient hymns and chants (especially those in neumes) has made my school planning easier. Additionally, there’s often recorded music to download or stream!
I am not the best sight reader, so instead of sitting at the piano plunking out the notes, these recordings help me and my children learn the hymn/chant much quicker.
At the start of this year, we learned “Ave Maris Stella.”
The chant might be easy to find, but where else can you versions like what CCWatershed provides? That may be four versions of ancient manuscripts; an accompaniment for keyboard; a 16th century part book corresponding to the setting by Victoria (a Spanish priest), a modern version; to say nothing of the practice videos they created for the Victoria Mass based on “Ave Maris Stella” such as this one.
My own children get to experience the rich tradition of our Church; they encounter the sacred. In turn, as a cantor I am also able to take these hymns and ancient chants to sing where they were meant to be sung: at the Holy Mass. In this way, we keep the faith alive at the kitchen table and at the altar.