June 30, 2014

History Thru Music Diana Waring (a Product Review)

Last week I shared that I was part of an incredible launch team that is working with the amazing Diana Waring to kick off the release of her *NEW* history curriculum Experience History Through Music....and this is LAUNCH WEEK! Throughout this week, my fellow reviewers for this curriculum will be sharing our thoughts and experiences as we tried this curriculum out in our own families--and we hope that you will be inspired to pick up these books for yourself!
experience history through music review

Who Is Diana Waring?

It's only fair that I start with a little background on this series creator Diana Waring. 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.

Diana shared a bit with our launch team about how she got started doing convention seminars and the idea of using music to teach history...

"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 husband 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."

She hasn't slowed down since she started and she's in high demand every year because people just LOVE her teaching style and curriculum!

Here is a shot from a recent convention that she shared with us--see how much fun she is?!

What is Experience History Through Music?

As the name of this series implies, these book and CD sets allow you to Experience History Through Music. Each title in the series 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 you will be catching yourself humming these songs for years to come!

There are three books in the series:
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.
Westward Ho!: The 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.

America 1750-1890:The 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 regular price for each 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!

How Did We Use the Product?

When these books arrived, I let my oldest son pick which one we did first. Because we read On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, he quickly chose the Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder as his first choice. I popped the CD into my laptop and made sure to rip it to my hard drive for easy access. It started right up, so I paused it and open the book. Each "chapter" of the book is a short essay or story about the history behind a song--or time period the song was popular. Song #1 on the CD matches story #1 of the same name in each book. Once I determined this, here is how it usually worked for us:

We started by reading the story. I read it aloud to the boys and then we looked at the photos and talked about it. Once the story was read, we played the song. At the back of each book you can find sheet music and/or chord sheets to go with the song as well as complete lyrics. They are also in order of appearance in the book--thus easy to find. While we listened to the song, we followed along with the words on the sheet music. 

After we listened to the song we chatted about the lyrics and then whether we liked or didn't like the song and why. 

This is the routine we followed for each of the books--many times we listened to a song more than once. I also took the boys and the books to the piano so that we could play for ourselves the songs we enjoyed. 

So which songs and stories did we enjoy the most?

*From Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder
We kicked off our listening experience with song/story #1 "Wait for the Wagon". In the book, the author references the Little House books that the songs were mentioned in or how they are connected. We remembered that Wait for the Wagon was mentioned in our book On the Banks of Plum Creek. Once the boys heard this song, they were in love...and it has rapidly become the overwhelming favorite of all the books and songs.
The story of the song

The sheet music in the back of the book
You can hear me and Baby Britches singing it aloud in this little video I took. I was playing the piano and using the sheet music for the song from the back of the book.

Since he learned the chorus to that song, he has taken to singing it anywhere at anytime for anyone...much to my husband's dismay..."Why didn't you teach him any other words?!" LOL!

Little Britches took a liking to The Old Chariot from this book. It's also got a catchy beat and I hear him singing it throughout the house while he does his chores.

I really enjoyed the song Rock Me To Sleep. It is such a sweet lullaby and the lyrics are so dear. 

*From Westward, Ho!
Another favorite song was the San Juan Pig War from Westward, Ho! As soon as I read the boys the title, they were dying to know what it was all about. We read the story and then listen to the song and laughed.

The story...
...the song.

From the same book, another favorite was Gooey Ducks. Little Britches thought the story was interesting, the clams gross and the song fun.

*From America
Baby Britches found another favorite with the song Yankee Doodle. It has always been one of his favorites and he was happy to hear yet another version of it. 

I love the song Shenandoah. It's always been a favorite of mine. I also like hearing Old Dan Tucker since I know it was *the* song to play at social gatherings during that time period. 

What Are Our Thoughts on This Product?

We loved the Experience History Through Music series and I'm so happy that we were able to participate in this launch! The books provide excellent supplemental material to history lessons and we always love new songs! Because we were jumping around in the book, we still haven't listened to all three CD's in completion yet...so Little Britches reminds me every day that we need to listen to another one. So we always start with a "favorite" and then move on to something new. I love that it's so easy to add in--we typically listen/read to it during lunchtime when we are sitting together at the table. I now have all three CD's ripped to my laptop which means we can take them outside with us too!

The books are incredible because of being jam packed with history lessons. Between the three books you have the pioneer era, the westward expansion and just American exploration in general covered. The back stories to the songs or song settings are very valuable to helping lessons become even more fun and taking them to another level. I really enjoyed all the photographs. I love old photographs and each book was full of them.
Photos of the Ingalls family
I have a feeling we will be singing these songs for many years to come---and I'm combining all our favorites into a playlist! One last thing I was happy to see--full lyrics! A lot of these songs we only knew one or two lines, but with these books you get the complete lyrics.

Would I Recommend Experience History Through Music?

Without a doubt I think these books are valuable to any history lover--much less a homeschool family. I recommend them with my big stamp of approval because our family has gotten such enjoyment from them. This was my first experience with anything from Diana Waring and I know I will be seeking her products out in the future! 

Just a reminder that for the month of July 2014, you can snag all three book/cd sets for just $50! They are regularly $18.99 ea, so this is a great deal! 

Want to Learn More about Diana Waring?

You can stay connected with Diana Waring and all her products through these social media outlets:
Website: http://dianawaring.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/dianawaring
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DianaWaring
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dwaringpresents
Google+:   https://plus.google.com/b/117887965102531201372/117887965102531201372/posts
Newsletter Subscriber Link:  http://www.dianawaring.com/resources/newsletter

And don't forget the big Launch Party!

Lots of great giveaways and an amazing collection of door prizes (freebies for everyone!) Invite your friends to come by for some fun and fellowship as we celebrate with Diana Waring!

 photo namegraphic2_zps8625728e.png

No comments: