Monday, September 17, 2012

Marshall Publishing "The History of The Oregon Trail and The Pony Express" Schoolhouse Review Crew 2012

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   My boys enjoy History quite a bit, me not so much but I am learning to appreciate it a little more. My boys do get a little bored when we are reading through our History books. When I can add in a video opportunity I jump for it. Watching History unfold on a DVD is so much more exciting and I feel the boys learn so much more, and retain what they learn by hearing and seeing the stories not just reading them. I was given the opportunity to review for Marshall Publishing last year for their George Washington Carver DVD and this year we were given the choice of 4 DVDs as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. We chose The History of The Oregon Trail and The Pony Express.

  We have been studying The Pony Express this year and how the whole US mail system began and creating a time line of the mail service. This review came at a great time as it slipped right into our studies we were already covering. Marshall Publishing has many DVDs to choose from and range in audience ages from toddlers up to adults. We particular like the History DVDs as they are depicted in the era in which they are covering and the actors are quite good. The bonus is they also have study guides that go along with the movies. So you can watch the movie and then complete the study guide to get a full lesson out of it. I feel that when my boys watch a movie and then use a study guide to go along with it they retain much more information than if they were just reading a book and answering some questions about what they read. My boys are what you call visual and auditory learners.

     My boys have been fascinated with the mail system since I can remember, they love to get mail and send mail and have always had a curiosity about how it all got started. Add in some horses and shoot outs and you have made 2 boys very happy. They were intrigued to find out that The Pony Express ended up in failure  and bankruptcy.  This portion we were sad to see only last 16 minutes, we wished it had covered a bit more but we enjoyed the lesson and DVD nonetheless.

  The Orgeon Trail is something we are just getting started on and were happy that this story was on the same DVD as The Pony Express, this portion lasted 35 minutes and covers the story with beautifully depicted scenery and tells of the hardships and joys told from the emigrant diaries. It was as if we were being told the story from the actual person that had endured the journey over America's most longest and famous trail.  The boys listened intently as they story was told and then we worked on some in depth questions and answers and turned it into a lapbook. They wanted to make this one into a unit study after watching the short movie. We have continued to study The Oregon Trail and the boys have been soaking it all up. Who would have though that a movie could spark such passion in my boys.

     Marshall Publishing sells The Oregon Trail and The Pony Express for $19.95 and has a study guide available as well This DVD and Study Guide is geared for 4th Grade and up, my boys are in 8th and 9th grade and enjoyed the DVD tremendously. With any curriculum or educational products it is up to the parent to decide what their child's maturity level is when choosing the product. Some items may have a recommended age but could be used for younger or older children than intended. The study guide has research questions and discussion questions, and then enrichment activity suggestions for before and after the DVD is viewed. This can be a complete unit study and opens the door for more exploration.
    If you are not studying The Oregon Trail or The Pony Express please visit the website to find the perfect History DVD for your homeschool that will fall right into your current lesson plans. There are many educational and historical topics to choose from. The Schoolhouse Review Crew members were able to choose the DVD that best fit their homeschool learning so be sure to click on the banner below to visit all of the reivews to see what everyone chose and how their family enjoyed their DVD.


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