Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Diana Waring's Experience History Through Music Review

I recently received the newly released, restored, and updated Experience History Through Music 3 Book and CD Set to review as part of the Diana Waring Presents Launch Team. Be sure to read the article title, A Story of Restoration, on Diana's website which discusses the remaking of this these products. We haven't focused a lot of attention on American History this year, but I knew I wanted to expose my daughter to the topics in a fun, engaging way while integrating literature at the same time during the summer months. Experience History Through Music was the answer to our summer learning curricula dilemma. History is not my best subject and this set allowed me to keep things simple yet still make learning effective. Teaching educational concepts using music can definitely help younger children learn more advanced topics.

About the Author
Diana Waring is the author of Beyond SurvivalReaping the Harvest and Diana Waring's History Revealed world history curriculum. She 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. Find out more about Diana and her products by reading the author interview recently posted.  
Meet Diana: Highly Energetic and Fun Lovin'
Experience History Through Music is a 3 Book and CD Set Including:
  • America 1750-1890: The Heart of a New Nation 
  • Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West 
  • Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder 
The print book and CD sets allow you to literally "Experience History Through Music" as implied by the product's name. Each title contains one book and one CD. A brief introduction to each book title is included at the beginning of the book. The pages of each book hold numerous black and white historical photos, sketches, or paintings in addition to heartwarming stories that will help you connect each of the songs to that moment in history. The short stories are about 1-2 pages in length. These insights will enable children to understand our history better. The book is divided into two parts. The first part includes the stories and the second half contains sheet music. Information about the authors, photographers, and musicians can be found towards the back of the book with the acknowledgments.

One of the unique features of each book is that the sheet music with lyrics and chord charts are also included making it easier for children and adults learn the words or play the music. The CD's are professional recordings with amazing vocalists and instrumental sounds that tend to draw in all listeners. The CD's are placed in a plastic sleeve on the back cover keeping everything in one safe place. You'll find sheet music for 13-16 songs on each CD giving you approximately 45-50 minutes worth of high quality music.  

The two combine for fond memories and a grand, knee-slapping good time. You can't resist tapping your toes while humming or singing along. 

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.

The songs in the book, America: The Heart of a New Nation rang in a sense and feeling of familiarity. This familiarity made the songs even more meaningful to my daughter. I remember singing several of these songs to her as a baby and a toddler. I was glad that she had the opportunity to reconnect to the song titles. The ones that stood out the most were "Yankee Doodle," "Star Spangled Banner," "Oh, Susanna," and "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain." We used to have a geography toy that sang the "Star Spangled Banner." Alyssa chimed in as soon as she heard it playing on the CD player. What's your favorite patriotic song?  

The CD contains 16 classic and patriotic songs:
  • Yankee Doodle 
  • Star Spangled Banner
  • Erie Canal
  • Oh, Susanna
  • Sweet Betsy From Pike
  • All Night, All Day
  • Old Dan Tucker
  • Wade in the Water
  • Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
  • When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  • Shenandoah
  • Got Along L'il Dogies
  • Drill Ye Tarriers
  • Polly Wolly Doodle
  • She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain
  • Old Joe Clark
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.

Our favorite book by far was Westward Ho! All of them are great, but the music genre captured our attention. The history behind the stories was indeed fascinating. Did you know that the Homestead Act of 1862 enabled anyone who was at least 21 years of age, the head of a family, a citizen, and who had never borne arms against the U.S. to claim 160 acres of free public land if they agreed to live on that land for 5 years while making improvements? Wow! The houses built on that land were made of sod. The song, Little Old Sod Shanty, opens your eyes up to the realities of life for Plains settlers. I don't think I could handle living with the creatures in my home. I also doubt that I could have dealt with the realities they faced during that time period. I found this factoid to be of great interest. I loved seeing the neat old photographs of the sod house.  

"Boll Weevil" was a humorous yet historical account explaining the origination of the boll weevil and its invasion on the Texas cotton fields. This song was fun to sing yet informative. It's the little things in life that we don't pay much attention to but later find out they had a big impact on our lives in the past. Here's a video of Alyssa singing part of the silly "Boll Weevil" song. She had a blast singing and dancing to it! 

Gooey Duck . . . all I can say is WHAT? I never knew this clam creature even existed! After reading the story and singing the song, Alyssa 's interest was sparked. She immediately researched geoducks (gooey ducks) online. She watched several videos and read articles to further enrich the topic. She even learned how to cook a gooey duck. I had to pull her away from the computer. 

This CD contains the following 14 songs:
  • Apple Picker's Reel
  • Boll Weevil
  • Missionary's Farewell
  • Oh, California
  • Ho! For California
  • San Juan Pig War
  • Chisholm Trail
  • Westward Ho!
  • Home on the Range
  • Little Old Sod Shanty
  • Strawberry Roan
  • Old Settler
  • Gooey Duck
  • Little Cabin in the Cascade Mountains
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.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder CD introduced us to many songs we've never heard before. It was also the home of a few of our favorite tunes including "Wait for the Wagon," "Pop! Goes the Weasel," "The Old Chariot," and "Sweet By and By."  I can't wait to read aloud the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie book series to my daughter while using this resource. I want to read the history behind the stories and listen to the songs as they are mentioned in each book. I bet it'll bring a new understanding to book series. I am including a video of my daughter singing part of her favorite song, "Wait for the Wagon." Listen to the background to hear a sample of the music on the CD.   

The CD contains the 13 following songs:
  • Wait for the Wagon
  • Green Grows the Laurel
  • The Old Chariot
  • Buy a Broom
  • Sweet By and By
  • Rock Me to Sleep
  • Buffalo Girls
  • A Railroad Man for Me
  • Beware
  • Pop! Goes the Weasel
  • Oft in the Stilly Night
  • The Girl I Left Behind Me
  • My Sabbath Home
How We Used Experiencing History Through Music
I used this product with my six-year-old daughter (Alyssa) as a supplement to our current American History studies. We decided to read up to five stories aloud each day from at least two different books a day. However, we read stories in all of the books each week. You do not have to go in chronological order. You can start reading anywhere in the book. 

Alyssa wanted to take turns reading the paragraphs. This really helped with keeping her attention. I assisted her with reading the more difficult words. We looked up the dictionary meanings of any unknown words. We read the stories first and played the accompanying CD songs afterwards. After reading the fascinating stories, we danced together while listening to the catchy tunes. We also listened to the music CD's in the car, during our breaks, during art time, or while lapbooking. It wasn't a surprise to me that she chose these CD's to listen to during her free time. We enjoyed the music so much that we played them during chore time. This was Alyssa's idea after reading about workers singing while they work to pass the time. Sure enough . . . my daughter did finish her chores at a faster pace with the music playing.

Our Thoughts Overall
We thoroughly enjoyed Diana Waring's approach to learning American History using music and stories. I believe all home educators will appreciate the method, especially those using a Charlotte Mason, Delight-Directed, or Unit Study approach. I can't wait for Diana's American History curriculum to release!!! I bet they will complement the Experience History Through Music set. 

Furthermore, these products can be used by ALL families regardless of whether they homeschool or not. Why not sneak in a little learning while listening to music? This could easily become a family night activity for individuals who play musical instruments. I wish I knew how to play an instrument. The approach was fun and very engaging. Alyssa and I both learned new information by reading the stories behind the songs. Diana Waring truly awakens the spirit of children and brings history to life. 

My daughter was motivated to enrich and further investigate the topics discussed in the book. Many times she would run to the computer to research information mentioned in the book. She enjoyed researching information about boll weevils and even completed a research paper on it. Rabbit trail unit studies can include Presidents, Historical Names in History, Pioneer Times, Early Settlers, American Revolution, Civil War, Oregon Trail and Territory, Westward Expansion, Chisholm Trail, California Gold Rush, and more.  

I can't tell you how many times I caught her singing the words from the songs or humming the tunes. She dressed up in her cowgirl boots and hat on many occasions ready to perform her favorite songs. Slower ballads or lullaby songs were sung into the ear of her teddy bear as she rocked it back and forth. I also heard her humming and passionately singing tunes in the shower. I appreciated the variety of genres recorded on the CD's. The familiarity of several tunes and the rhythm of the music will make you want to get up and dance.    

We also took the books to her piano teacher and asked her to play a song at the end of her classes just for fun. The notes were too advanced for Alyssa right now, but they definitely gave her something to look forward to and gave her a goal to aim for in the future. 

Do you like folk music and patriotic songs? This set will help you pass on America's heritage for generations to come! Imagine the lasting childhood memories you can create now while enabling your children to understand America's history better.   

I truly appreciate the fact that the sheet music was included in the book. However, there were times when my daughter lost her place while following along. She wanted to sing and learn the lyrics without the musical notes. If they ever reprint the series again, I suggest having a separate page for the lyrics making sure they follow along with the song on the CD in addition to having the sheet music accessible to young musicians.

Special Sale Price for the Month of July 
You can purchase the complete 3 Book/CD set for only $50 in July. You also have the opportunity to buy each title separately for $18.99 each.

I HIGHLY recommend ALL of the Experience History Through Music books and CD's for children and adults of ALL ages. The set would complement and supplement ANY American History study or curriculum. It is also a wonderful way to teach music appreciation while integrating history into your day. Younger children can simply listen to the music and sing the songs. Older and advanced children will appreciate the stories. You can always read aloud or summarize the stories for your children too.

You won't be disappointed in this set! It is of great importance that our children learn American history! I wish I had the opportunity to learn this way as a child. I believe it would have made learning history more fun. You can help teach your child by taking a step forward and utilizing these resources during your day.

Social Media Links

Oh and before I say goodbye for the day . . . there's still time to enter the Diana and Friends Experience History Through Music Giveaway. You won't want to miss this one! 

And . . . Don't miss out on my Encouragement for Homeschool Moms Collection Giveaway! We could all use a little encouragement during our homeschool adventures. 

1 comment:

  1. I just love the old songs. I got used Fireside Songbooks on eBay that have so many of fun old folk songs. Modern music is fine, but we should never forget our historical music.