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!
Diana Waring has not set their biography yet

What's In YOUR Cupboard?

What's in Your Cupboard

What are the things that make you uniquely you? And, how do you share them with your children?

Fortunately, despite the title, this is not one of those how-to-make-a-meal-from-whatever-you-can-find-in-your-cupboard-when-you-should-have-gone-to-the-store-yesterday blogs. Although, if I were to be truly transparent, I might be considered an expert in putting off going to get groceries. . .

Instead, it's a mental morsel to munch on as you go through your day, loving your kids and doing life.

When I was a young homeschool mom, it became SO intimidating to listen to others talk about all of the things they were doing:

"My son is studying with a Ph.D. scientist at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry."

"My daughter is studying Chinese and Arabic with native speakers."

"My children study dance at the Pacific Northwest Ballet."

"My children are taking private harp lessons from the symphony harpist."

I mean, how could I possibly do all of those things for my children? Thinking that those activities were what we needed to be doing—though impossible for us at that time—brought a level of burden and guilt that nearly crushed me.

You with me so far? Does this sound familiar to you??

Well, dear one, let me share something that was a great antidote to this "comparison trap."

Think about what's in YOUR cupboard when it comes to your heritage, your interests, your experiences, your knowledge.

For instance, we have friends who love to snow ski. And they are good at it. REAL good. It was a joyous part of what Bruce and Barb did in the early years of their relationship, and it became a natural part of their homeschooling journey. I was constantly amazed to hear about the incredible places they skied, the wild adventures they had, and the way it knit them together as a family.

I don't ski.

Lake Louise with Warings We have other friends who live in the Canadian Rockies. They intentionally chose to make the most of the great outdoors where they lived, learning as a family how to camp, canoe and hike in a wilderness setting. Daryl and Kathy shared extraordinary stories with us as we drove along the Ice Fields parkway, providing not only a vista to the Rockies, but a glimpse into the incredible experiences of this family.

I don't camp.

Good friends of ours spoke Hungarian at home. When their children were little, they chose to begin teaching them both Hungarian and English. This wildly difficult langauge to learn became part and parcel of two little boys' lives because their mom and dad knew the langauge.

I don't speak Hungarian.

But, when considering what was in MY cupboard, I realized that music was something that we could actually give to our children. My husband, a band teacher, brought a variety of musical styles and a knowledge of music history to our kids, while my love for folk music (playing folk guitar and singing) provided an opportunity for them to play with—and enjoy—a unique interaction with music.

At last, something I could do.

For instance, when teaching our children how to sing harmonies, I used humor, rhyme and rollicking musical fun in this ridiculous round (which my middle child vigorously protested):

The African Crowned CraneMy dame had a lame tame crane. My dame had a crane that was lame. Come Mistress Lane to my dame's lame tame crane. Feed it and return again.

That was us, the uniquely Waring family, giving to our kids something they would not get anywhere else. It helped define who we were as a family, it provided engagement and interaction, and it was a LOT of fun!

So, what about you? You may not snow ski, camp, speak Hungarian, or sing. But there are amazing things you bring to the table—fabulous gifts to give your children—that no one else can give them in your unique way. Looking at yourself, your spouse, your extended family through appreciative eyes, consider the treasures you have to share with your own children. Ask yourself: What ethnic heritage, particular passion, interesting experience, or fascinating knowledge do I have to give to my children? In other words, what's in YOUR cupboard?

For more on this topic, watch this video blog, "What is Your Family Culture?"

Continue reading
761 Hits
9 Comments

A Story of Restoration

America Cover page

For the past few weeks, I have been sharing back stories for the 62 bloggers on our Experience History Through Music launch team.  By request, I would like to share it with you:

So, more back story. . .this one brings us up to the present—with a bit of a miracle thrown in!

Sometime in the mid 1990s, the partnership that had originally produced "America," "Westward Ho!" and "Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder," decided that it was time to let a "real" publisher take over. So, we signed contracts with a company that was quite large in the homeschooling movement at the time. We were excited to have others doing the day-to-day details, as I had moved from the Portland area to South Dakota, and this was going to make things so much easier for us all.

However, when this business went bankrupt in the late 1990s, something happened that was past my comprehension. I still don't know why, but when they declared bankruptcy they simply threw everything in the dumpster—including our masters. When I heard this, it utterly devastated me. These wonderful projects were gone, and to reproduce this again seemed too hard without the audio masters. Between having to start over from scratch with all of the images and graphic design and having no audio masters, I thought the entire project was gone forever.

People would ask us about them from time to time, as they had read about them, or heard of them, or had owned the original cassette tapes, but we always told them sadly, "I don't think they will ever come back into print."

Then, several years ago, Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse contacted me to see if we might have any remaining stock of this product. She had heard of a family who had gone through a fire and lost everything, and her company was trying to help them rebuild their lives. I guess that the mom specifically talked about these American folk music in history books/audios, and this prompted Gena's call to me.

Westward Ho Cover pageI contacted the former partner who owned the recording studio to see if he, perchance, had somehow saved the audio files to digital. At the time, Tad was quite busy with other things, but he told me that he thought he might have saved a FEW songs. Since it didn't sound promising, I thought it was probably a dead end. And I was sad all over again. It seemed like such a waste of a really fun product, that families had thoroughly enjoyed for years! And, of course, these were the first books I had ever written. . .

Why I tried again two years ago is a mystery to me. I just took the notion to contact Tad once more and ask if he had discovered whether or not he had saved any of the songs. This time, as we talked, Tad realized that there were possibly some ways he could "pull out" the recordings from the antiquated DAT machines. However, he was in the midst of some medical issues, and was not sure how much time he would have to devote to the project.

It took two years. And then, suddenly, I had an email in my inbox. The songs had ALL been digitally restored, remastered for CD, and were ready to go!! I could hardly believe my eyes. After fifteen years, these products were going to have a new life.

I can hardly describe what this means to me, personally. But, maybe I can share with you what happened a few months ago to illustrate. Our business phone rang one day, and a woman began excitedly talking to my husband. As he heard what she was saying, he suggested that I would like to hear her story directly. When I took the phone, this is what she said:

Musical Memories Cover"Diana, I met you fourteen years ago at a convention. When I told you that our family absolutely LOVED 'Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder,' you told me what had happened when the publisher threw your masters away. You asked me to pray that somehow it would all be restored. . . And, I have been praying!! Each time I walked by the cassette tape, I was reminded to pray. . . for FOURTEEN years!!"

She went on to say that she had just read on social media that the products were coming back into print, and she was so excited to see that her prayers were finally being answered. Together, we shared a few tears and a few amazed words of joy at what was taking place before our very eyes.

And, now, YOU are all a part of this restoration!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

Continue reading
545 Hits
2 Comments

Today I Choose Joy

I love this week's topic. Experiencing the bubbling up of real joy is one of the most precious, wonderful gifts life has to offer, isn't it?

Joy is possible at all ages, in multi-faceted ways.  Consider these few:

      • successfully riding a bike for the first time;
      • picking up a squirming puppy who happily licks you;
      • seeing a sparkling hummingbird sip from your feeder;
      • hiking up a mountain to a spectacular vista;
      • promising "I do" to the one who has captured your heart;
      • holding your new born child.

But joy is not limited to wholly happy situations.  Joy is possible in times of difficulty, as well.  And it is as much a gift in that time, if not more, as it is in times of happiness.

Continue reading
552 Hits
0 Comments

Today I Choose to Love

Image-1-14

Sitting by the beach at Lake Erie only a few days before Mother's Day, I am pondering the concept of "choice" in love.  In the English folk song, "Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier"—which was a favorite tune during the American Civil War—a young woman determines to sell her spinning wheel in order to buy her beloved a weapon of defense in a time of war.

I have a spinning wheel, two, in fact.  The novel experience of spinning wool into yarn is usually fun, though I seldom make the time.  In fact, it took me eight years to spin enough wool to knit my husband a sweater!  Fortunately, since spinning is just a hobby for me, we have the opportunity to buy sweaters in a store.

It was not the same for the woman in the song.  In her era, a spinning wheel was a dearly held necessity.  Though it is hard to imagine now, a spinning wheel was once the technology that allowed one to make yarns/fabric/clothes and, for many, it was the critical piece of equipment for earning a living.

She chose to sell it in a breath-taking act of sacrifice.

Why?  Because of her love for Johnny.

Real love is photo-8not mere words. Instead, love is a day-by-day choice, most clearly discerned through generously unmeasured acts that benefit the loved one.

Today I choose to love.  How about you?

Diana

P.S. If you are in the Harrisburg, PA, region, I would love to meet you at the CHAP convention this weekend!  Be sure to catch my mini-concert at noon on Friday, featuring some of the stories and songs from the Experience History Through Music series.  Bring your sing-along voice, as it will be an audience participation concert! 

Continue reading
418 Hits
1 Comment

Today I Choose to be Brave

I choose to be braveI have been thinking a lot about the realities of life for a slave in America, prior to the Civil War.  Research on the slave spiritual, Wade in the Water, reveals a connection between the experiences of the ancient Israelites as they fled enslavement in the Exodus, and the experiences of American slaves, who fled captivity on the Underground Railroad.  It took courage to leave the only life they knew, despite its brutality, and to flee into the unknown. And the leaving was not easy, as terror followed close behind—Pharaoh's army for the one, brutal slave-catchers for the other.  

What made that possible?  Why did some slaves in America brave the terrors of the trail while others remained behind in the familiar difficulties?

For me, the answer lies in the strength of the vision before them.  For those who fled, there was a soul-stirring hope that life could be different, that it could hold a freedom and joy beyond imagining. . . And it was vision that gave them the courage to leave, it was hope that emboldened their hearts to face the journey, despite the terrors following close behind.

There are many ways to be enslaved today.  And the answer is still the same:  with the courage borne of hope, take your first steps towards freedom, regardless of obstacles before you or  terror behind.

It is not easy.  But it opens the door to a life beyond our wildest dreams.

Today I choose to be brave.  How about you?

Continue reading
451 Hits
0 Comments