Do you love history? Do you love music? Do you struggle with including music in your curriculum? If you answered yes to any of these questions you are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE Diana Waring’s *NEW* history curriculum Experience History Through Music. We sure do!
To be honest, we have been trying to do a better job at including songs into our curriculum. You know, learning folk songs, patriotic songs, things of that nature, as part of our schooling. So, I was hopeful this would be a great way to include them. And IT WAS!
About Diana Waring and Experience History Through Music
First, let me tell you a little about Diana Waring, the author of this fantastic curriculum.
Diana Waring is the author of Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest and Diana Waring’s History Revealed world history curriculum, Diana discovered years ago that “the key to education is relationship.” Beginning in the early ’80s, Diana homeschooled her children through high-school—the real life opportunities to learn how kids learn. Mentored by educators whose focus was honoring Him who created all learners, and with an international background (born in Germany, university degree in French, lifelong student of world history), Diana cares about how people learn as well as what they learn. Audiences on four continents have enthusiastically received her energetic speaking style.
Now, here’s a little about the curriculum itself. Experience History Through Music is set of 3 books: America, Heart of a Nation, Westward Ho!, The Heart of the Old West, and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Each title contains one book and one CD, with 13-16 songs per book. The first half of each book shares the stories behind each of the songs, with great photos, drawings, and paintings to accompany it. The second half of each book contains sheet music for the songs. If you play the piano or an instrument the music is there for you to play and sing along with your family. The CDs are great – good quality and fun to listen to.
I mentioned the set includes 3 book/CD combos. Here’s what they cover.
Westward Ho! Heart of the Old West – America’s westward expansion is amazingly rich in stories and songs. In Westward Ho!, you will find the pioneer spirit that stirred the hearts of thousands of Americans to leave the safety and comfort of home expressed in folk songs of or about that time. Now you can experience the pioneers’ adventures, dangers, joys, sorrows and hopes as you join in and sing along.
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder – The well-loved stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder will come to life all over again as you listen to the songs that were a part of life for the Ingalls and thousands of other pioneering families. Written by William Anderson, noted Laura Ingalls Wilder biographer, the book also includes beautiful photos by internationally known Little House photographer, Leslie A. Kelly.
America: Heart of a New Nation – From the French and Indian War to the first transcontinental railroad, America is a chronological tour of American history through its music. Enjoy the songs and stories of our past that have been shared from generation to generation—songs that make you laugh, make you cry, and make your patriotic spirit soar.
How We Used Experience History Through Music
We had to much fun with these books and I see so many fun uses for it. First, I envision using this next year as we revisit American History, Exploration to Current times. As we study the Westward Expansion and the Pioneer Age, I see us using these books to further our studies and dig a little deeper. I see these books being an EXCELLENT resource for any history curriculum or just as a way to include a folk song study in your homeschool. These books are THAT versatile.
As soon as we received the books my daughter say “Laura Ingalls Wilder” and shrieked. They just love it when they recognize something they have read or studied, don’t they? It’s fun to see the connection and excitement. So, needless to say, that’s where we started (probably not too uncommon).
The Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder would be an EXCELLENT resource to accompany the reading of the Little House books. It would be fun to stop in the books and look at the history behind the songs that are mentioned in the books. In many cases, the book tells which Little House books mention the songs or explains at what time period the song was popular.
For instance, when we were reading about the “sugaring off” party in Little House in the Big Woods, I had mentioned songs like Buffalo Gals to my daughter. This is a song included in the Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We had fun listening to it and singing it. It makes it easier to hear the excitement of the “sugaring off” party. Not to mention, its just fun to sing!
Westward Ho! was fun to listen to and learn about. We had previous studied the song Home on the Range so reading about the history that inspired the song Home on the Range. And my kids really enjoyed Gooey Duck because, well, it was funny 🙂 The history behind the song was interesting and serious, actually, but….kids just can’t NOT giggle when singing “dig a duck, dig a duck, dig a gooey duck.” Ah, the fun of folk songs!
America: The Heart of a New Nation explores the history around songs like The Star Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle, and Oh! Susanna. My kids know these songs but not necessarily the history so that was nice. And songs like When Johnny Comes Marching Home and Old Dan Tucker were good. Incidentally, we watch Little House on the Prairie on TV from time to time and my daughter remembered that Mr. Edwards sang Old Dan Tucker once or twice. I thought that was pretty cool!
Our piano is currently in storage (LONG story) but we have a keyboard. We played a few of the songs on the keyboard but mostly used the sheet music to sing along with the songs so we could read the words. I liked that. And I can’t wait to have these books on our piano for use too.
The great thing about these songs and accompanying “lessons” is that they are typically just a 2 page spread on each song, including pictures or artwork, and easy to read. We read it as a family and it would only take a few minutes and then we would discuss it and play the song. The kids almost EVERY TIME asked me to play it again.
Overall, we LOVED Experience History Through Music and can see so many used for them. We had fun with them. Listening to good, wholesome, old-time songs as a family, in the car, or whenever. We learned a lot from the history and loved the illustrations. We were very impressed with the books and would recommend them to anyone wanting to add folk songs to their school or just supplement their American history curriculum.
The regular price for each Experience History through Music set is $18.99, but for the month of July you can get the complete series (3 books w/CDs) for just $50. That is a great savings for these amazing books!
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And don’t forget the big Launch Party!