Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Experience History Through Music, by Diana Waring (a product review)

As you know, we've been blessed with the opportunity to preview Diana Waring's new Experience History Through Music series. You entered the giveaway, right? And read my author interview last week?

Maybe you wonder why and how Diana got started in speaking at homeschool conventions. She shared with the launch team this story:
Back in 1989, after I had been struggling for about three years with homeschooling (my kids and I were ALL bored!!!), a friend suggested that I attend the state homeschool convention (in Tacoma, WA). . . In those days, the main way to learn more about homeschooling was to attend a convention—oh, how times have changed!!

The problem was I couldn't afford it. My dh was a public school band teacher, we were single income, and there simply wasn't anything extra in the budget. When I voiced that concern, my friend said, "Oh, you should teach a workshop! That way, they pay you $50, give you some mileage to get up to the convention, and you get in FREE!!" Looking at her in amazement, I asked, "What on earth would I teach????"

She pulled out the previous year's convention schedule, with its varied workshops, and handed it to me. Quickly glancing down the list, I noted that the ONLY music workshop was using classical music in the home and that there were NO history workshops. At that moment, an idea was born.

Why not teach American history through its folk music?

That was the start of twenty-five years as a homeschool speaker (yes, the convention wanted my workshop) and as a homeschool writer/ curriculum producer.

Never saw this coming, but, oh, what a life we have shared!!
And here is how you may see her at conventions today! Doesn't that look fun?!
Experience History Through Music contains 3 book/CD sets:
America 1750-1890:The Heart of a New Nation
Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

As the name of this series implies, these book and CD sets allow you to Experience History Through Music. Each title contains one book and one CD. The pages of the books hold dozens of historical pictures; bright and interesting stories connecting each of the songs to its moment in history, even sheet music and chord charts! The CDs are rousing , professional recordings that draw in all listeners. The two combine for fond memories and a grand, knee-slapping good time.

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.

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.

What we thought of Experience History Through Music

History is one of our favorite subjects to study around here. Add music, and it has even greater appeal for Little Bit. That boy can dance! (Sadly, he was too shy to let me video him for the review...)

For the purpose of this review, we buzzed through each of the books pretty quickly, reading several selections from the books each day, and listening to each song we read about.

We were excited to see, in Westward Ho!, one of the photos that went with the song for "Strawberry Roan" was of the rodeo in Choteau, Montana...where we used to live.

When we learned about Stephen Foster, who wrote "Oh! Susanna" in America The Heart of a New Nation, I remembered that he also wrote "Old Folks at Home," of which the opening lyrics are: "Way down upon the Suwanee River..." Well, we cross the Suwanee River every time we go visit my folks; they live not far from the Suwanee! Also, it's the state song for Florida; we really miss Florida!

I think our favorite book and CD set, though, is the Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I've been a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan nearly my whole life, and I've passed on that love to all my children! The boys and I have yet to read through all of her books, but now when we do, we can use this resource to learn more about the lyrics she shared throughout her books.

I can see these sets will be great resources to have on hand as we delve more deeply in to US history. It will be great to add more depth to our timeline entries, and we can look up things on the map, such as the Chisolm Trail, and the Oregon Trail, etc.

Each book/CD set can be purchased for $18.99. For the month of July, though, you can purchase all three sets for only $50.00! Go over to Diana Waring Presents to make your purchase today.

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