History through Music…A Review

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

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.

westward ho

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.

laura ingalls wilder

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.

now available

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!

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A 2 Week Recap

In my life this the past 2 week(s)…
It’s been a crazy, busy two weeks.  I really did sit down last weekend and start my journal for the week.  And then I got called away for something and well, I never finished it.  So now I am recapping for 2 weeks, which I, honestly, have a hard time remembering sometimes.  We enjoyed our visit with my mom weekend before last.  It’s always good to see her, however, as always, the kids were not ready to see her go.  I continue to be thankful that the Lord saw fit to move us back to SC a few years ago so that we can see family more often.
 
 Despite the fact that I often tend to over commit myself, both weeks went well.  They rolled along with our normal activities sprinkled with the fun of babysitting a sweet 6 month old three days over the span of two weeks.  I have always admired my friends with many children.  I now have a new appreciation for those who homeschool with a wide variety of ages.  Friday the 11th we took the day off from school to attend a ballet.  We took three of Leah’s friends with us to see Robin Hood.  It was presented by the Columbia Classical Ballet and was really good.  After the ballet, we grabbed lunch and headed to a park to eat and to have a little time on the playground.  Oh and I treated the girls to Krispy Kreme on the way to the ballet and to a Frosty from Wendy’s for each of them after playing on the playground.  They loved it but their mom’s may never let me take them for the day again.  {{smile}}
 
Last Saturday was spent with the whole family working the yard.  We have a long way to go but great progress was made.  Today we spent the morning at church in a training session for Billy Graham’s “My Hope America” that our church is participating in.  The rest of the day has been spent with a little of this and that.
 
In our homeschool this the past 2 week(s)…
I decided that our school work needed to not take place all over the house.  I think our week went better.  We seemed to stay focused and get things accomplished at a better pace.  It is taking some adjusting but it’s working.
 
Wyatt has finished To Kill a Mockingbird and is moving on to Jane Eyre in English.  In Geography, he is studying Australia.  He’s doing Rosetta Stone Spanish this year and really doing well with it.
 
Leah is still loving Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  She’s learning all about thousands and their place value in math and we are studying explorers in History.  She also studied very hard for an upcoming Latin test at co-op.  This is how we found her the night before the test.
 
leah sleeping
 
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
We use Quizlet.com to make flash cards when we need help studying.  It’s a great resource.
 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Robin Hood ballet.  Dinner with friends to celebrate the husband’s birthday.
 
My favorite thing this the past 2 week(s)…
A chance to talk to a friend from KY on the phone.  We don’t get that chance often so it was nice to chat and catch up.
 
My kiddos favorite thing this the past 2 week(s)…
Babysitting.
 
Questions/thoughts I have…
Is it too early to start thinking about curriculum for next year? 
 
Things I’m working on…
An update to my blog.  Coming VERY soon. 
 
I’m reading …
Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas
 
I’m cooking…
Crockpot Lemon Chicken, Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes, Hamburger Steaks with Brown Gravy, and these:
 
apple cinn rolls
Easy Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls (I didn’t have the stuff for the caramel sauce so I made a powdered sugar glaze and they were delicious).  And they look really messy but they were REALLY good.  All of these recipes can be found on my “So Yummy!!! (now in our family recipe box)” board on Pinterest.
 
I’m grateful for…
Life.  My children.  My husband.  The grace and mercy of Jesus.
 
I’m praying for…
Two elementary age boys in our church whose dad was killed in a car accident this week. 
  
A photo, video, link, or a quote to share…
I am working my way through Psalms in my Bible study time right now and as I do, I am writing down the attributes of God.  As I came to Psalm 18 this week, I was a little more creative in writing them down.  This is the result:
 
attributes
 
 
Thanks again for joining me on my homeschool journey.  I’m linked up with The Homeschool Mother’s Journal  and Homeschool Review
 
HSMJ link up
 
Joy to You!
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Our Week in Review (9/27/13)

In my life this week…
We had company last weekend which was a wonderful treat to see good friends.  They spent most of the day on Saturday with their college age son and called to let us know that they were about an hour away. As time got closer for them to arrive, Wyatt discovered that the mouse from last week, had been building a nest in his closet.  Our guests arrived to find the contents of Wyatt’s closet and things he had under his bed piled on one end of our school room.   I’m happy to report that we caught the mouse Saturday morning.  Yay!!
 
On a more pleasant note, I ended up with not one but two evenings out this week.  Both were a special treat.  On Monday night, I had the pleasure of having dinner with a dear friend.  It was nice to spend some time relaxing and chatting.  On Tuesday night, I was given a ticket to go see Kirk Cameron’s Unstoppable.  That was a real treat.  There will be another showing of it across the country, in select theaters, this coming Thursday night, October 3rd.  If you did not get to see it, or don’t know what it’s all about, you can get more info here on Kirk Cameron’s website.   
 
Violin lessons also started back this week for Wyatt.  I just love to hear him practice.
 
In our homeschool this week…
Leah presented her Sarah Plain and Tall project at co-op on Monday.  She made a movie poster to present to her class.
 
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We’ve now moved onto Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Her assignment this week was to read the first five chapters.  She liked it so much that she read the whole book.  I love that she loves to read.
 
Wyatt has been working on his Africa map project that will be presented next week at co-op.  He made animals to go along with his presentation.
 
africa animals
 
 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
We took a family field trip yesterday but I will write more about that next week.
 
My favorite thing this week was…
Dinner with my friend on Monday evening.
 
Questions/thoughts I have…
I just discovered that I am the highlighted blogger for the week over at The Homeschool Mother’s Journal.  What a treat!  
 
 Things I’m working on…
Because of the mouse, I spent a lot of time cloroxing my counters.  I need to do a good wash down of all the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen.  Maybe next week.
 
I’m cooking…
I made a childhood favorite this week – cube steak.  We don’t have it often but on occasion I crave it and it was really good.
 
I’m grateful for…
Friends that I can really talk to, sharing my heart and knowing that she will not pass judgment or discuss what we talked about with others!
 
I’m continuing to pray for…
Friends and family facing health issues.
 
A photo, video, link, or a quote to share…
During the live Unstoppable event on Tuesday night.  Warren Barfield sang a beautiful song.  It’s called “The Time is Now”.  Click here to see the YouTube video of it.
 
Thanks again for joining me on my homeschool journey.  I’m linked up with The Homeschool Mother’s Journal  and Homeschool Review
 
HSMJ link up
 
Joy to You!
 
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This time every year

In my life this week…
This is the most emotional week of the entire year for me.  That may sound strange but it’s true.  This week one of my dearest friends would have had a birthday – she passed away in 1996.  I still miss her.  Fourteen years ago this week, my dad went home to be with the Lord.  I still miss him.  My grandfather would have celebrated a birthday this week – he passed away several years ago.  I still miss him.  I always find myself reflecting a lot of family and friends and the importance of the people in my life this week every year.  Being extra emotional had an effect on the rest of my life this week.  I just have to accept that this is who I am and move on hoping next week will be better.
 
I also started a part time job this week.  I am very excited about it.  I am working as a mission team assistant for Impact Ministries in Myrtle Beach, SC.  I work from home and my schedule is very flexible.  My job is to help recruit teams to come and do mission work in Myrtle Beach during spring and summer breaks.  The founder of Impact grew up with my husband and is like a brother to him so it is very cool to be a part of something that I believe in and have supported for years. 
 
Oh, and we have a mouse in our house.  We’ve not caught him yet and I REALLY wish we would.
 
In our homeschool this week…
Our routine was off this week.  Our co-op had to meet on Tuesday, instead of Monday.  While it was nice to be home on Monday, having co-op on Tuesday really threw our whole week off. In spite of that, we rolled right along and studied hard. 
 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
We are preparing for friends to come to town this weekend.
 
My favorite thing this week was…
A good long chat with my friend that lives in Texas.   
 
 
Things I’m working on…
Unfortunately, sanitizing a lot because of the mouse in the house.
 
I’m reading …
I am reading back through Unglued as I go through the study guide with a precious group of ladies at church on Wednesday nights.
 
I’m cooking…
Not much this week but I did try a Pampered Chef recipe and my family LOVED it.  It’s called “the big enchilada”.  It’s definitely going on the recipe rotation at our house.
 
enchiladas
 
 
I’m grateful for…
Answered prayer.
 
I’m continuing to pray for…
Family members dealing with health issues and a dear friend who is dealing with cancer.
 
A photo, video, link, and a quote to share…
On Saturday last week, we discovered a flower growing where we had never had a flower before.  I’ve kept an eye on it over the week and this is what I have blooming right outside my back door.
 
flower collage
 
Thanks again for joining me on my homeschool journey.  I’m linked up with The Homeschool Mother’s Journal and Homeschool Review
 
HSMJ link up
 
Joy to You!
 
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And it all begins (9/13/13)

In my life this week…
Most of our extra-curricular activities started back this week.  Awana. Swim Team. Ballet. Children’s Choir at church.  It makes life busy but we don’t mind.   We’re still working out when violin for Wyatt will start back.
 
                                    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA swim team
 
In our homeschool this week…
We are getting into a routine that works for us.  It’s taken us awhile but that’s okay.  I’ve mentioned before how much of a blessing our co-op is to me and the kids.  This year the classes they are taking are wonderful.  They are both being challenged and enjoying their classes so much.  They are excited about the things they are studying which makes my job so much easier!
 
On Thursday, we met up with some friends and toured the local museum in our little town.  We had been before but what a treat to brush up on our local history.
 
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Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
We discovered Kids’ Zone http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/index.asp   this week while Leah was learning about bar and line graphs.  While I did have her draw her own graph, this is a cool site where you can input information and then have it build the graph for you.  It also has other math related activities.   For us, it was a great way to help her visualize exactly how a bar or line graph really works.
 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Besides getting back to the extra-curricular activities mentioned above, we also had the chance to see my mom this week.  She was on her way to the beach with a friend so they came through on Saturday and had lunch with us.
 
OUR favorite thing this week was…
We have a sweet lady in our church that is very kind to our family.  She came over on Friday night with all the fixings for homemade banana splits.  After sub sandwiches for dinner and a wonderful ice cream treat, we played a few rounds of Guesstures and a few quick hands of 21 (the card game), which is a great way to keep your mental math skills sharp.  We laughed and laughed. 
 
wyatt banana split
 
 
What’s working/not working for us…
We had a small victory this week in getting up and getting going a little earlier.  Next week, we may revert back to struggling but this week, it worked!
 
Things I’m working on…
I’m trying (really hard) to get back to couponing.  When I made the effort in years past to coupon, I wasn’t one of those get $150 worth of groceries for $30 but I did okay.  I am making the effort and hoping to really save money.  It is time consuming but it is worth it when I know I’ve really saved on something! 
 
I’m reading …
Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke.   This was required reading for Wyatt over the summer for his English I class at our co-op.  He really enjoyed it and since he knows I love to read, he suggested that I read it too. 
 
I’m cooking…
Nothing fancy and no new recipes this week.
 
I’m grateful for…
I am becoming more and more aware of how many people really struggle in their marriages so this week I am specifically grateful for my husband and our marriage.
 
I’m continuing to pray for…
Family members dealing with health issues and a dear friend who is dealing with cancer.
 
A photo, video, link, and a quote to share…
This is our turtle.  We caught him standing up!  Well, not really standing…more like leaning. I think he’s trying to escape.
crush
 
Thanks again for joining me on my homeschool journey.  I’m linked up with The Homeschool Mother’s Journal and Homeschool Review
 
HSMJ link up
 
Joy to You!
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Back to a normal routine

In my life this week…
My hubby and I celebrated 18 years of marriage.  We went to our favorite little Mexican restaurant in town with our kids and his best friend from when he was a boy. Our friend just happen to be passing through town so we invited him to have dinner with us.  I had a few somewhat shocked reactions to our anniversary celebration being with the kids and a dear, life time friend but as I think about it we really celebrate every day of the year.  Maybe I should define “celebrate”.  Every day of every year, for 18 years, he has told me that he loves me and that he thinks I’m beautiful.  Many times every week of the year, he tells me that he is glad I am his wife.  He loves and honors me in so many ways.  I’ll take that on a daily basis over a fancy dinner anytime.  Besides, we really love our kids and like to share our joys in life with them.  As for our friend, he was at the wedding so why not celebrate the anniversary with us?  Right?
 
In our homeschool this week…
Our co-op started back on Monday.  It was wonderful!!!  And now we feel like we’re back in our normal “school” routine.  I’m not sure who is more excited about it, me or the kids.   The kids were, of course, glad to see friends that we had not seen over the summer but they were also glad to be back in class.  Here is a photo of our group during our “first day back” orientation. 
 
orientation
 
 
I’m teaching Geography to a sweet little group of K5 and 1st grade students.  I can’t wait to help them learn more about the world that God created.  I am also the parent “helper” in Wyatt’s Physical Science class and in Leah’s Literature class.  I just love being with my kids and seeing first hand what they are being taught at co-op.  The advantage is that it helps me with their work at home during the week.
 
With assignments from our co-op classes now on our weekly schedule, we’re getting into the routine of school for the year.  Leah is gaining independence in her work, coming to me when she needs help – especially with IEW.  Wyatt is finding that he prefers to work in his room or the family room.  We’re all over the house and that is just fine with me.
 
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
www.donnayoung.org  is great for homeschooling resources and pintables. If you’re not familiar with it, take a peek.
 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Other than our anniversary dinner out, we didn’t really go anywhere.  It was nice to just be at home after a busy summer.  I even managed to only go to Wal-Mart once this week! 
 
My favorite thing this week was…
Co-op starting back.
 
My kiddos favorite thing this week was…
I think it’s the same as mine.
 
What’s working/not working for us…
Doing school all over the house & even in the yard in the sunshine.
 
Things I’m working on…
I am preparing to lead a ladies group at church on a study of the book Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst starting in September.  I cannot wait to see what the Lord is going to do in my life by going through this with my sisters in Christ.
  
I’m reading …
Prep material for the Unglued study.  Oh, and Leah and I are still reading Anne of Greene Gables.
 
I’m cooking…
I actually cooked a lot this week.  My favorite was Cinnamon Roll Waffles that I found on Pinterest, of course.  And Wyatt is becoming quite the omelet maker so I am sharing my kitchen!!
 
cinn waffles
 
 
omelet
 
I’m grateful for…
18 years of marriage and a man who loves me despite my faults and failures.
 
I’m praying for…
A decision that I need to make.  Not one of those huge ones, but a decision that I want to be sure I’ve sought the Lord on.
 
Something I am ogling or have my eye on…
My waffle maker broke in the process of the Cinnamon Roll Waffles cooking so I suppose that I will be needing a new one sometime soon.
 
A photo, video, link, and a quote to share…
Just for fun, here is one of our wedding photos.
 
wedding
 
Thanks again for joining me on my homeschool journey.  I’m linked up with The Homeschool Mother’s Journal  and Homeschool Review
 
Joy to You!
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School is back in!!

In my life this week…
I’ve been working on stuff.  My list consisted of all the necessary items for our co-op “sign in/welcome” table,  a menu for the Annual Ladies’ Christmas Dinner at church, and lesson plans for the class I am teaching at co-op.  
 
Our church is hosting a youth conference this weekend so Wyatt and my hubby have been involved in that.  That leaves Leah and I to watch all the American Girl movies we want;  “Samantha” is my favorite!!  We had popcorn and chocolate chips for dinner on Friday night. 
 
 popcorn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Does that make me mom of the year or what?  {smile}  
 
In our homeschool this week…
We’re back to school and yet “summer” still lingers.  We’re easing in and I’ve decided I like it.  This is our 3rd year homeschooling.  The first 2 years I was VERY rigid about starting on the day that I set to start.  This year, I am not being slack, I’ve just realized that it’s okay to ease in.  And it feels really good.  Part of our reason for easing in is that our co-op has not started yet.  That’s next week and then we’re full speed ahead.
 
Wyatt has been finishing up his English summer reading and honors credit projects.  He takes this class, using IEW’s Window’s to the World through our co-op.  This summer he has read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain – and written a paper about telling why it is considered a classic, The Screwtape Letters by  C.S. Lewis – and drawn a movie poster for it, and Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke – and completed a study guide.  He has also annotated  Twain and Lewis’ books. 
 
The co-op we belong to had a gathering Thursday night so that we could meet new families that have joined and reconnect with families that we’ve not seen over the summer.  It was really fun and has me ready to get back in the swing of things.
 
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Easing in has been a wonderful thing for me this year.
 
My favorite thing this week was…
A long conversation with a dear friend.  AND playing Phase 10 with the kids at lunch three days this week.
 
phase 10 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 My kiddos favorite thing this week was…
Wyatt – the youth conference
Leah – seeing her friends at the co-op gathering
 
What’s working/not working for us…
This week, not being on a rigid schedule. 
 
Questions/thoughts I have…
I’ve decided that I need to REALLY get serious about couponing.  What are your favorite websites for couponing tips?
 
Things I’m working on…
Stuff for co-op.  Trying to mark off a least one more project from my summer “to do” list and well, it just didn’t happen.
 
I’m reading …
God’s Word.   And Leah and I are reading Anne of Green Gables together.  
 
I’m cooking…
Parmesan Chicken Bake with Sautéed Orzo and Green Beans.  Lots of eggs.  A cake.  And some cookies.
 
I’m grateful for…
Friends, both near and far and the ability to keep in touch.
 
I’m praying for…
Friends and family dealing with difficult circumstances.
 
A photo, video, link, and a quote to share…
“Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.”  ― from Anne of Green Gables
Below is a drawing that Leah for the book.  I think she did a pretty good job.
 
anne of green gables
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks again for joining me on my homeschool journey.  I’m linked up with The Homeschool Mother’s Journal and Homeschool Review. 
 HSMJ link up
 
 
Joy to You!
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