Review ~ Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring

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We had the blessing of reviewing a brand new product just released by Diana Waring called “Experience History Through Music“. We received physical books and cds for both Westward Ho! and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We received the cd and ebook of America: The Heart of a New Nation.

All three books share a short history lesson (several paragraphs to a couple pages) for each song written within the book. In the back you can find the sheet music! For our family, we read the history story then listened to the cd while using the sheet music to sing along. They are quick and simple and focused…fun ways to learn about our history. This would be VERY APPROPRIATE for Charlotte Mason type learning which we LOVE!

Our personal favorite of these three is “America” only because it had the most songs of which we were already familiar — but we LOVED them all! Although we really liked America, the other two were extremely educational as well and we found ourselves saying, “WOW! I never knew that!” to so many of the stories. Also, it is REALLY amazing to see how much songs tell our history if we listen to the right ones. Something I honestly never thought of before listening to these. I LOVE that!

Each story contains at least one black & white photo to help with the lesson. We really enjoyed SEEING a real-life picture to illustrate the story and song. Just another “simple” yet very effective way to learn history. Although they are black and white there is GREAT DETAIL in the pictures…they are a VERY NICE addition!

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The cds are approximately 40 – 50 minutes of folk music. Now…in case you aren’t “in to” that type of music…DO NOT close your mind to these. Our family doesn’t “do” this type of music either but we still enjoyed these! That is what a lot of “the music of the time” was therefore it fits perfectly with the themes and stories of the books.

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading my post titled Diana Waring “Miracle Story” as it tells some of the history about how these came to fruition FINALLY (it truly is an astonishing story!).


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Here is a little bit about the author, Diana Waring (these are picked out by me, for this post, from an “author interview” we [the Launch Team] were provided):

How did you start writing history books?

The very first book I wrote WAS a history book—an earlier version of “America.”  As I have shared in the back story, when a friend suggested that it would be beneficial to attend a homeschool convention—and the only way I could afford to get in was to become a workshop presenter—the idea of marrying American folk music to American history seemed like such fun that I had to write a book!  (And help create the folk music recording!!)

One thing often leads to another.  Doing workshops on making history come alive using music exposed me to the notion that there are many other wonderful ways to make history come alive, like literature, geography, the Bible, science, art, architecture, cooking and more.

All of this melded together when I started teaching my own children world history in 1992.  There were so many things I wanted to know about how events recorded in the Bible impacted the ancient cultures of the time. . . seeing the “secular” civilizations through Scripture and better understanding Scripture in light of those civilizations.

I was SO excited about what we were learning that I started telling others at homeschool conventions. . . which led to the History Revealed curriculum (20 years in the making). Nine books in that series (plus nine sets of audio CDs), plus two of the three American folk music/history books (and CDs) make a grand total of 11 books on history that I have had the opportunity to research and write!

Goodness!  I had no idea when I started homeschooling that I would learn so much.  🙂

Of all the songs in the three new books, which songs are your favorites?

I LOVE “Ho for California” in Westward Ho!  Somehow, this one became my favorite. . . I remember the day we drove across the Sacramento River as a family, on our way to a homeschooling event in California, singing at the top of our lungs, “Then, ho, brothers, ho, to California go.  There’s plenty of gold in the world we’re told on the banks of the Sacramento. . .”

“Gooey Duck”  was, by far, the most popular song that we performed in our concerts.  There is something so catchy about this song!  Also, as I was writing the originalWestward Ho! book, I chatted with my grandfather about gooey ducks (giant clams).  He chuckled and told me that though they were plentiful in Puget Sound waters when he was a lad, they were SO ugly that people avoided eating them unless they were desperate.  That has tickled me ever since. . .

“Sweet Betsy From Pike” is another favorite, included in America. It is such a singable ballad, and full of humorous possibilities.  It was a delight to sing it on the recording!!

Which of the songs in this series of books resonant the most with your life and why?

As a musician and storyteller, I love the possibilities of telling stories in music—ballads are an incredible art form.  “Old Settler” and “San Juan Pig War” are the two that I most enjoy singing for others, as they tell such memorable stories. . .

And, I love “Sweet By and By.”  We used to end our “Yankee Doodle Tells A Tale” concert with this song, and it never failed to bring me to tears. . . singing of our “bountiful Father above.

What value do you see in students learning America’s folk songs?

How many opportunities do we ever have to actually DO what our ancestors did?  As a real and normal part of our lives?  You and I live in a world that is vastly different than the time period represented in America, Westward Ho! and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  And, yet, we can still sing and enjoy the very same songs they did, we can taste a tiny bite of history through the medium of folk songs, and we can experience America through it’s music!

Plus, it’s part of our American heritage.  It’s part of our history.  And what could be more fun than learning history through songs you can clap to, stomp to, and sink your teeth into??  🙂


All three of these are incredible additions to ANY family! OUR FAMILY WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THESE TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE! They are appropriate for all ages and run $18.99 per book/cd set…but for JULY 2014 ONLY you can get the set of all three for only $50!

You can see a list of songs within each book by looking HERE and scrolling down.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway we have going on which offers a set of these books/cds as well as almost $700 worth of other homeschool items! Check it out HERE. Giveaway ends Friday, July 4th so head over now!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this free in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.




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