A few days ago, I mentioned that the release of Diana and Friends Experience History through Music was coming soon. It’s here and I am so excited to be part of the review team for these incredible books. The difficulty is condensing what I want to share. It’s all just so good!!
I also mentioned that around our house, we love – and I do mean LOVE – music. This automatically gave me a connection to Diana Waring, contributor to the series both in writing and performance of the music on the CD’s that are included with the books. When asked what her life was like musically growing up, Diana says, “I ALWAYS loved music. . . I was always singing”. That’s how it is around our house too. My kids are ALWAYS singing!!
Diana began playing instruments in the 4th grade and hasn’t stopped. She plays clarinet, oboe, guitar, mountain dulcimer, recorder, and banjo but says that her “real instrument” is her voice. This is evident when you hear her sing on the CD’s that go along with all three books. She also loves history. She says that her “favorite period of history is the one that I am currently studying”. As the author of homeschool curriculum, she has always made history come alive through music. The Experiencing History through Music set is not exception.
The 3 Book/CD set includes:
- America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation
- Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West
- Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder
I admit History was not my favorite subject growing up. I tried to learn the facts. I tried to learn the dates. And I do have memories of the events that formed our great nation, but oh to have had a resource like Experiencing History through Music to help in making connections to these great happenings.
America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation just might be my favorite of the three books. With songs like “Yankee Doodle”, the “Star-Spangled Banner”, “Oh! Susanna”, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, and “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain” I found myself singing along and feeling rather nostalgic. What I loved most about this book in the series is learning the history of the songs and music styles. How cool to learn that the British originally wrote “Yankee Doodle” to poke fun at the American soldiers and that Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the British attack on Baltimore. I especially like that this book goes in chronological order. It begins with the French and Indian War and goes all the way to the transcontinental railroad. Maybe it’s because I seem to remember the lessons from this time period more than others that this book is already a favorite.
The musical journey in Westward Ho! takes us on quite a ride. It’s full of firsts for our nation too. The first apple seeds brought to the West, the first missionaries to the Native Americas of the Oregon Territory, the first man to find gold in California, and much more. We learn about the fur trading business, the boll weevil that reeked havoc on the Texas cotton crop, the invention of barbed wire and it’s effect on the range, the expansion of the railroad, and geoducks (this was a lesson for me)!! In every story, and through the song that goes with it, you get a feel for what life must have been like for the people who pioneered the West. It must have been quite a journey.
I, like many little girls, grew up wishing I could run down that hill with the Ingalls girls. I thought it would be so cool to live on the prairie. I remember when I realized that the Ingalls were real — that theirs was not just a made up story for TV!!! The things on the show, and in the books, really happened. It was quite a revelation for me!! Laura, Mary, Nellie, Almanzo, Ma and Pa really had those joys and sorrows. Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a treasure. To read about the life of the Ingalls family and to learn just how much music meant to them. I enjoyed the music in this book as much as the photos that show their homes through the years. I also loved reading about their faith, the things that were important to them. After reading through this book, and listening to the songs that were important to them, I feel like I have visited with an old friend.
While these books are not meant to be a stand alone curriculum, they are certainly an addition to American History that can not be matched. I highly recommend the set to supplement in your homeschool classroom. I love how Diana describes the set. She says, “You might describe it as a sort of “stealth academics,” meaning that your kids will be having so much fun singing the songs, they won’t even realize they are learning”. And of course, you will learn right along with them. One of the GREAT benefits and blessings of homeschooling, right?! My only regret in this post is that I couldn’t have the music playing in the background for you so you could “experience” this great resource too. Unfortunately, I’m just not that tech savvy.
These books are regularly priced at $18.99. Each book includes a CD and has sheet music for all the songs. Isn’t that a treat! For the month of July, the 3 book/CD set is on sale for $50. You can purchase that at DianaWaring.com.
You can learn more about Diana Waring here. I invite you to hop over and take a look. Get to know her. You will love her passion for history and for learning!
Joy to You!