It’s summer. We don’t have to do school, right?
Maybe not officially, but I like to make sure we’re still learning. Recently, I’ve had a great opportunity to sneak a little history into my family’s day.
Experience History Through Music
I don’t know if your kids are like mine, but I cannot watch a video or play any song on my computer without everybody running to see what I’m watching or listening to. It can be annoying, but it does have its uses – like if you want them to watch or listen to something. It’s the perfect way to introduce the music portion of Experience History Through Music to unsuspecting children.
Another sneaky thing I like to do is leave interesting books lying around. Especially if they have an interesting cover and photographs on the inside. The saying about not judging a book by its cover is good advice, but a good cover is definitely a plus. That’s how I got my 14 year old daughter to read Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder from cover to cover without even asking her to. It’s also why I’ve seen my 12 year old son flipping through the books and reading sections from time to time. That works until they disappear into my daughter’s room so she can try out some of the songs on her violin.
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
I love the format of these books. Each contain a 1-2 page illustrated spread that tells the story behind a song. These stories typically give both specifics about the history of the song, and a more general description of the events in history that the song pertains to. The short length of each segment makes it easy to either very quickly read a small portion, or as time allows, to continue reading multiple sections.
I also love that the books include simple sheet music for the songs. In our home, my older daughter plays the violin, and my middle son plays the piano. Both are able to (fairly) easily play the music in these books.
The accompanying music cd’s are professional, high quality recordings. They are a vitally important part of this study. It seems pointless to study about a song without listening to it! We honestly don’t listen to a lot of music in the house, but these are going to have a rotation in the car once we start back to school with all the short trips we make to classes, lessons, etc.
America – Heart of a New Nation includes many familiar songs like Yankee Doodle, the Star Spangled Banner, and Oh! Susanna. It focuses on the time period beginning at the American Revolution through the Civil War. Westward Ho! has some overlap in time period with America – Heart of a New Nation, but its focus is on songs related to westward expansion like the Oregon Trail, cattle drives, and even sailing songs (Before the railroad, many goods were transported west by sailing around South America). I wasn’t familiar with any of the songs in this volume except for Home on the Range. Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder also overlaps the Westward Ho! time period, but it details specific songs and facts related to the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I enjoyed reading all these books, but especially Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have loved everything Little House on the Prairie since childhood and have a collection of various books and videos about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have also visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri and hope to visit some of the other home sites and museums in the future.
These books would make a fantastic addition to any homeschooler’s library. They could be used to supplement any American History curriculum, as stand-alone unit study spines, or as inviting coffee table books.
The books are $18.99 each and are available at from DianaWaring.com. For the month of July, you can purchase all 3 books for $50.
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.
Disclaimer: I received the complete set of Experience History Through Music in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.