I don’t know about you all, but there are so many hymns that I am not familiar with, nor are my children. These are songs that are not sung as often in church (at least in mine) as they used to be. I liked the idea of introducing my kids to the old fashioned hymns, while learning some myself.
We do hymn study on Wednesdays. It only takes about five minutes. I use the outline provided by SCM. The Center for Church Music offers a lot of the words, music and history for the hymns Sonya recommends. If I couldn’t find one that was on her list, I just substituted another. The site also offers a devotional you can read if you choose to.
I print out the words ahead of time for the entire year-six hymns total. Then the first time I introduce one, I have the kids listen to the short (about 4 minute) history for the hymn on the website. The narration is interspersed with the hymn being sung. So the kids read along with the song and get the history all at once. In the following weeks they listen to the hymn a couple of times through. Usually by the 3rd week they’re singing along; although, sometimes they get a little silly in trying to keep up with the high notes!
As a side note, I also do our Trial and Triumph reading on Wednesdays, and we come across hymns written by some of the martyrs that we’ve read about. It’s a neat way to tie the history of the songs into the lives of the people we’ve read about.