Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Experience History Through Music - A Review

History and music are two of our favourite subjects. If you ask Bob he will tell you that history is his favourite subject. If it is a song with foods, Miss K will learn to sing it. So when there was an opportunity to review Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring I knew it was something that we would enjoy.

There are three books in the Experience History Through Music series.

America - Heart of a New Nation

Westward Ho! - Heart of the Old West

Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Each of these books includes a CD and has a short story about the song, what was happening at the time, or about the author. There are even some photos that illustrate the song. Also included in the book is the music for the songs. So if you want to pluck out the song on the piano, you can.

I learned some new things in these books. We spent some time living in the northwest but when we read Westward Ho! I learned a bit about the San Juan Pig War. Did you know about the pig that started a war? The San Juan Islands were claimed by both America and Great Britain. The Hudson's Bay Company has livestock there and Lyman Cutlar had settled there. The livestock were getting into his fields. He made a formal complaint and was told, "It is your problem to keep your potatoes out of my pig!". Well, on June 15, 1859 he had enough and he grabbed his rifle and shot the pig. Now you know about the war that a pig started. There were no other shots fired and the land dispute was settled in 1872 by the German Emperor as he was asked to determine where the boundary line was.

Many of the song in Westward Ho! were new ones to us so it was nice to have the CD to listen to and sing along with.

America - Heart of a New Nation has lots of songs that we know but we enjoyed reading a bit about the story of the song what was happening in that time and how it relates to the song.

If you are a Little House on the Prairie, you will enjoy Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder as this brings songs from that time period.

Diana Waring is the author of History Revealed. She began homeschooling her children in the early 80's. I loved hearing her creativity. Here is a bit of a story that she shared as to how this series came to be.

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 there were NO history workshops. At that moment, an idea was born.

Why not teach American history though 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.

The series is available from Diana Waring's website.  In July there is a special of $50.00 for all three books.

These books are a great addition to your history learning. It is a fun way to learn about history. It will be a grand knee-slapping good time.

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