Monday, September 10, 2012

The History of the 1880s – a Decade of Change - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

We first watched movies by Marshall Publishing when my son was very young. At that time he could not get enough of movies like Lots and Lots of Trains (when we could find it at our local library). Later we had the opportunity to review Lots and Lots of Firetrucks, but by that time he was older and didn't enjoy the movie, which seemed suited for kids younger than he was. But Marshall puts out an amazing variety of media. They have animal DVDs, comedy and game show DVDs, educational historical documentary-type DVDs, as well as their "Lots and Lots of" series that I mentioned before of Trains, Firetrucks, Monster Trucks, Jets and Planes, Motor Sports and RC Crafts, Rockets and Space, and Penguins.  Marshall Publishing has the goal of creating lots and lots of fun, amusing, amazing, entertaining, educating forms of media to the public, and they do a great job.
In our homeschool this year we will be wrapping up the 1800's, and studying the 1900's to present. I was very pleased, therefore, when I was given the opportunity to review a DVD by Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc. called The History of the 1880s – a Decade of Change.  
I was waiting with anticipation, when the DVD arrived, and watched and waited for an opportunity to sit down and view it. Our week days were full, but Saturday afternoon rolled around, and there was time. I popped it in and sat down to watch.  
My son, who disdains anything that smells at all educational, promptly quipped, "Do we have to watch this?"  I told him he didn't have to watch it, but I was watching it.  My sister, my adult daughter (college grad, major of History), and my husband all sat watching it, enjoying the way it was put together. My son, insisting he wasn't watching or paying attention, still managed to pay attention and make comments about parts of it. At certain points during the viewing, he would surreptitiously appear from around the corner (where he was on the kitchen computer) and watch sections of the documentary.  
The History of the 1880s – a Decade of Change is 60 minutes long. The DVD is broken into "Chapters" (not quite as easy as a book to switch between chapters, but helpful when targeting a specific section of the DVD).  This DVD targets 4th Grade through adult. Some younger might be interested, and some right in the target range (like my son) might not.
The website for The History of the 1880s – a Decade of Change has, below the product information, a Study Guide to help in using the movie. Since my son really didn't enjoy this movie to sit down and watch it through, I will break it up next time and we will just view each  topic at the time we are studying it.  
Here are sections within the movie that we will use to just watch that section when we cover the material in our current studies of the 1800's:
  • This week we will watch a small section that talks about the 1800's being the height of the Victorian Era. We read, on Friday, about Queen Victoria's being crowned at a young age, and her reign being called the Victorian Era, so this section will be an excellent supplement to add to our studies tomorrow. This section also covers the fashion of this decade.
  • There is a section that talks about the great cattle drives of the 1880's, and how the once massive herds of buffalo were in danger of being wiped out. This will dove-tail well with the book we are reading, Little Britches: Father and I were Ranchers, and I will have him watch this when we get to the next book, Man of the Family, where Ralph starts herding cattle. (Even though it is a different time period, it will be a good fit.)
  • Immigration, and unions forming to fight low wages. I'm not sure when we will be covering this, but when we do I will pull this section of the DVD out for us to view.
  • Statistics and Information: I think we will view this section when we are leaving the 1880's and entering the 1890's in our studies.
  • The time line will also be helpful. It mentions that in 1880 the Salvation Army was formed and Garfield became President. This helped me to realize that this is the year I want us to read the biography about the Booths, who founded the Salvation Army. Also, when we are covering Garfield we need to be quick, because he had a very short Presidency. (I don't remember right this second, but I think he was assassinated.)
I could continue, but you can see from the above how the Study Guide on the website is helping me plan out my use of this DVD.  I also own the Marshall Publishing DVD of George Washington Carver, which I will pull out for us to use soon when we read our biography of George Washington Carver.
The History of the 1880s – a Decade of Change sells normally for $24.95, but is currently on sale for $19.95. In addition, there is currently a coupon code for free shipping!  TOS27
Most of my family really enjoyed this DVD. My son, the reluctant student, fights me at almost every turn, says he hated it. (I guess he would rather read some dry, dusty book. HA! -- No, he would rather be off at the creek trying to catch turtles or snakes.)   
The History of the 1880s – a Decade of Change is a documentary. Documentaries have their place, and some hold my son's attention better than others. (He can watch animal documentaries better than he can watch historical documentaries.) The rest of my family (all adults) really enjoyed The History of the 1880s – a Decade of Change (as we also enjoy most documentaries, historical or otherwise.)
DISCLAIMER:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the DVD The History of the 1880s – a Decade of Change in exchange for my honest, uninfluenced review. The opinions expressed herein are my own. I was not told what to say.
 This has been a Schoolhouse Crew Review. 

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