Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

Today I choose Freedom

Today I choose freedom

The word “freedom” is a loaded term.  In America, it evokes images of everything from the first day of summer vacation to the slaves being freed after the Civil War, and everything in between.

Since you and I have never lived under the helpless, hopeless, demeaning, overwhelming burden of slavery, we might not ever truly appreciate the experience of exquisite, life-giving, unhindered freedom. I would like to share with you a taste of what it meant to one who knew it first-hand.

A few weeks ago, researching the song All NIght, All Day for the upcoming book & CD, America, I happened upon an account of Josiah Hanson, a slave from the day he was born in 1789, until his escape to Canada in 1830. There was a vivid description of slavery—the real kind, being owned by some other person—which not only inflicted tremendous damage on this young man but continued to hinder him after he escaped to freedom.  His words indicate that, as an older man, he became more and more aware of the mountainous obstacles he faced through the lack of an education. (To read his story, click here.)

It made me think of a quote from Lois LeBar's classic, Education That Is Christian, words spoken by Daniel L. Marsh, president of Boston University in the early 1900s.

"Education should make us live life with zest, with gusto, with exuberance.

But so much that passes for education takes away the wonder of life, and

puts us in deadly peril of things named and classified. So much that

passes for education is only the smoke of a futile fire. . ."

That is true freedom, friends! Not enslaved by what "passes for education," we can, instead, be prepared through learning to thrive in whatever careers and service we find.

Today, I choose to walk in the amazing freedom of a life filled with zest, gusto and exuberance.  How about you?

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Today I Choose to Embark

I choose to embarkYou know, I love reading about the courageous adventures of pioneers who crossed rugged mountains, forded torrential rivers, and made it through dangers and trials all the way to their new homes--people like Sweet Betsy From Pike . .

I love reading about them from the comfort of a plush sofa, with Starbucks' cappuccino providing the energy to turn the page.

It is a different experience to be the one embarking on the adventure.

Let's see. Crossing the Great American desert in a covered wagon?

Okay. That means walking 2,000 miles. . . in 6 months.

Then, there's the small matter of eating food without the benefit of grocery stores, restaurants, or fast food joints. Hmmm.

Suddenly, embarking sounds like a lot of work. Without the comfort of guarantees, embarking means facing dangers, having adventures, and, occasionally glimpsing spectacular vistas unseen by those unwilling to take the journey.

But, all romantic ideas of glorious vistas aside, the point of embarking, at least for pioneers like Betsy, the folk-song heroine, was to get there. In her case, the hope for better opportunities made embarking worth the risk.

So, what is important enough to get us off the couch and into the adventure?

___ Better parenting?

___ Better education?

___ Better finances?

___ Better career?

___ Better health?

___ Better _______ ?

My choice today is to embark on the journey--leave where I sit to go where abundant life awaits. New freedom, better opportunities, great life!

What about you?Diana Waring singing
Part of my own embarking on a new journey is to bring back into print the tremendously fun products, America, Westward Ho!, and Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Folk songs, like Sweet Betsy From Pike, will not only bring musical delight into your homes, they will also give you a front-row glimpse into American history.

Coming soon to Diana Waring Presents.  Stay tuned.

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Today I Choose to be Authentic

Today I choose to be authenticThere is something remarkably healthy about being yourself. Whether quiet or talkative, constantly moving or peacefully still, seriously studious or spontaneously fun-loving--being the unique person you are adds a vital richness to those around you. You can bring to the world an authenticity that is recognizable -- and wholly your own.

Think about this from a musical standpoint. If bagpipes play, what country do you think of? Or, if you hear a twangy banjo, what region of America does that represent? I don't know about you, but I never get those mixed up! Bagpipes ALWAYS speak Scottish, don't they?

So, today, I would like to consider a popular American composer of the mid-1800s, Stephen Foster, because his unique sound exemplifies this. Foster grew up near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where many of the workers were immigrants from various cultures, with their own unique music and sounds. As Foster was exposed to the melodies of Italy, Scotland, England, Germany, and Ireland--along with the spirituals of African slaves--it inspired him to write his own melodies, ones that reflected his unique approach to music, ones that remain recognizably, authentically, Stephen Foster songs.

What happens when you and I are free to be fully and authentically ourselves? Where we do not have to fit into cookie cutter molds? I believe that it sets others free, inspiring them to be authentic, as well. Just like a toe-tapping, guitar-strumming rendition of Oh! Susanna gathers a crowd of smiling folks, being authentic—being you—is contagious!

Coming soon from Diana Waring Presents:  Experience History Through Music series! 

America: Heart of a New Nation

Westward Ho: Heart of the Old West

Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Today I Choose to NOT be a mule

Today I choose to not be a mule

4 mph.

That was about how fast the mules and horses, harnessed to barges, moved people and goods along the canal.  I once had a friend tell me old family stories about moving to the far west -- Ohio! -- by means of the Erie Canal.  He described how his great-grand-relatives used to step off the slow moving packet boat to pick a few ripening apples from a neighboring tree, before stepping back on.  It is hard to imagine the leisured pace of these mules, who were changing the nation.  Without mule- (and horse-) powered canal boats, America's development would have slowed drastically.

With gratitude to these beasts of burden, let me respectfully say again: being a mule is great, if you happen to be a mule.

We, however, are people.  Unlike mules, we were not designed as beasts of burden, to plod along the same tired paths year after year.  We were not designed to be driven, harnessed to a never-ending load, nor hindered from creative imagining and freedom to choose.

It was not mules that envisioned an Erie Canal, nor surveyed the land for the best route.  It was not mules who designed the canal, nor constructed it. It was not mules who dreamed of a new life, staking their fortunes on a several hundred-mile move to the west to establish a farm or mill or export company.  

People did that.  

As people, we were designed to choose.  We can choose to be strong, not stubborn. We  can choose to envision, to create, to try, and to build. We do not need to mindlessly plod the same paths over and over again, harnessed like a beast of burden.

Today, I choose HOW to not be a mule.  I am going to dream, create, and try new things.  How about you?

For more, read the story and hear the song in chapter 3 of America: The Heart of a New Nation, one of the new titles in Experience History Through Music series by Diana Waring Presents.

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Today I Choose to Fly

As a nation, we have had many moments of inspiration beyond the writing of our national anthem.  What happens to your heart as you read these important words from U.S. history?

"Fourscore and seven years ago. . . "  Abraham Lincoln

"Ask not what you can do for your country. . ."  John F. Kennedy

"I have a dream. . . "  Martin Luther King, Jr.

"That's one small step for man. . ."  NeilToday I choose to fly Armstrong

Do they encourage your perseverance, move you towards service, motivate you towards compassion, rouse you to greater actions?

Powerful words, spoken during momentous times, affect people long after their initial utterance.

Obviously, words are often inspirational.  Let's face it, though.  Our words inspire far less than our deeds.  Sometimes, it seems like we think our multitude of words will be what inspires the next generation to live nobly, righteously, and justly.  But, have you ever noticed the daunting reality that, "Children learn more from what is caught than what is taught"?  That puts the greater impetus on our actions, lived out day-by-day.

Inspiration is a tricky thing, isn't it?  One does not wake up one morning and say, "Today I choose to inspire the world, or my community, or my children."   Inspiration does not work that way.  It is not a tool we can manipulate, like power or wealth.  Instead, it is more like a river that flows out of daily living—gaining momentum and strength as we choose to live each day with courage and compassion.

That is how we choose to FLY!

 

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