Today’s review of Experience History Through Music is not just for homeschoolers. All families will love learning about American history through these book/CD sets!
There are 3 to choose from:
America 1750-1890: The Heart of a New Nation
Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder
There have been two great things about this launch team that I have enjoyed. One is listening to the music while driving around town and reading through the books at home. But a close second was getting to know Diana Waring better. She is the lady behind Experience History Through Music. You can read more about how the final product came about at this post. But let me tell you one thing about Diana. She is a great storyteller! And it is really fun to read about the great stories of our country’s history in the Experience History books while listening to the songs that talk about that history–some of which were even sung at that time!
As the name of this series implies, these book and CD sets allow you to Experience History Through Music. Each title 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 a grand, knee-slapping good time. I enjoyed the variety of arrangements on the CDs: various instruments, solo singing, groups singing in harmony, and even some sung a cappella. There are humorous songs and sad songs. There is also a wide variety of song genres: fun folk songs that we don’t know who wrote them, songs written in the 1900s about historical events, spirituals, hymns, ballads, lullabies, and patriotic songs. These are songs your kids need to know. We used to learn these in school, but I don’t think they are commonly taught anymore. It’s easy to teach them yourself with these resources.
See below for specific descriptions of each book.
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.
The songs included in Westward Ho! are
1. Apple Picker’s Reel 2:25
2. Boll Weevil 2:18
3. Missionary’s Farewell 5:01
4. Oh, California 2:17
5. Ho! For California 4:20
6. San Juan Pig War 2:47
7. Chisholm Trail 2:52
8. Westward Ho! 5:12
9. Home On The Range 5:02
10. Little Old Sod Shanty 3:18
11. Strawberry Roan 3:16
12. Old Settler 4:52
13. Gooey Duck 1:55
14. Little Cabin in the Cascade Mountains 2:34
The one I loved the best was Gooey Duck. What a funny little song about digging for giant clams–which were the main source of food for some of the pioneers who lived in Puget Sound.
I also loved the San Juan Pig War, which tells a story about an island near Vancouver, Canada. It was many years before the inhabitants knew for sure when they were in America or Canada.
Other songs/stories talk about cowboys riding on the Chisholm Trail, the California Gold Rush, the boll weevil’s invasion of Texas cotton crops, and how apples came to Oregon.
It was so interesting to read about some history I had never heard before!
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.
I have been reading the Little House Books to my girls lately. We’re now up to “The Long Winter.” We have also had the opportunity to see the houses in De Smet and Laura’s last house in Missouri. We even saw Pa’s fiddle–the real one! I can’t tell you how much I LOVE Laura’s books! And what a joy now to get to hear the songs that Pa and Laura sing in the books. I also enjoyed seeing photographs of the houses where she lived.
1. Wait for the Wagon 1:48
2. Green Grows the Laurel 4:04
3. The Old Chariot 1:45
4. Buy a Broom 2:14
5. Sweet By and By 3:55
6. Rock Me to Sleep 4:03
7. Buffalo Gals 1:58
8. A Railroad Man for Me 1:45
9. Beware 2:55
10. Pop! Goes the Weasel 1:03
11. Oft in the Stilly Night 2:45
12. The Girl I left Behind Me 2:29
13. My Sabbath Home 4:12
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. These are some of my favorite songs of all time: Yankee Doodle, Shenandoah, and Polly Wolly Doodle!
The songs included in America are:
1. Yankee Doodle 1:39
2. Star Spangled Banner 2:39
3. Erie Canal 2:12
4. Oh, Susanna 1:55
5. Sweet Betsy From Pike 3:17
6. All Night, All Day 3:50
7. Old Dan Tucker 1:52
8. Wade In The Water 3:41
9. Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier 1:41
10. When Johnny Comes Marching Home 2:23
11. Shenandoah 2:20
12. Git Along L’il Dogies 3:44
13. Drill Ye Tarriers 1:56
14. Polly Wolly Doodle 2:15
15. She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain 1:38
16. Old Joe Clark 2:09
One thing I especially liked about the books were the photographs. You’ll see places mentioned in the songs (like a low bridge on the Erie Canal or a sod hut) and see people that the songs talk about. The photos really help to bring the history to life when you listen to the songs at the same time.
Suggestions: If they ever do a revision, I would recommend making sure all sheet music is written in good keys for kids to sing in. Some of them are written too high. (Or if they are in a good key, they printed the music an octave too high.) I would love to have a 4th book in this series: History of the 20th Century Through Music!
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