Sunday, September 16, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Marshall Publishing's History of The Oregon Trail &The Pony Express

I love it when a plan comes together.  This year we are studying explorers at Long Leaf Academy and learning about the origins of our great country.  It has been most interesting for us to discuss pilgrims and pioneers and discover how much their lives have impacted ours and influenced the way we think and feel and do things today.  Because of our studies this week, we made butter the "old fashioned" way with a Mason jar and heavy whipping cream.  It was HARD WORK, but tasted so much better than what we buy at the grocery.   {The kids enjoyed it so much that they made more the very next day.}  The Princess has even learned to crochet and is making me a washcloth.  They've had fun experimenting with things of old and I have enjoyed watching the spark in their eyes when our daily history lessons come to life.

I like it when we can add hands-on experiments, games, computer resources and movies to our daily lessons.  It helps to bring a lesson home when we have several opportunities to experience it -- through reading, watching, doing and listening.  With our exploration studies, we've been able to include all of these means of learning and our entire family has developed a new appreciation of history.  It is fun to watch my children smile and laugh and it is most rewarding to know they are understanding things in a whole new way. They've especially enjoyed watching movies to go along with our studies this year and Marshall Publishing has some of the finest.


We were first introduced to the wonderful educational videos at Marshall Publishing last year when we reviewed George Washington Carver (affectionately known as the Peanut Man around my house).  We really enjoyed studying Mr. Carver and you'll never guess the video that I most wanted to study next when we finished it.  Or maybe you will if you read that review.  In that review, I said I'd really like to view The History of The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express -- the very video we were chosen to review this year.  Isn't it fun when GOD's plan is a blessing?  Like I said, I just love it when a plan --HIS Plan -- comes together.

The History of the Oregon Trail & The Pony Express is really two separate programs on one DVD.  Filled with live re-enactments, beautiful photography, animated maps and old photographs, the videos make history come to life and take you on an exploration adventure.  Perfect for learners from 4th grade up, this engaging film kept us all entertained, interested and attentive.  The videography was good, the narrator pleasant, and the music and scenery delightful.

 Just a little over 47 minutes long, Marshall Publishing's The History of The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express DVD has touched our hearts and opened our eyes.  We were especially moved as we watched the movie and saw where pioneers etched their names in just about anything they could find in an attempt to make their mark on the world.  The emigrants made every effort to let people know where they had been (and where so many had died) as they traveled their way West.  They made an effort to reach out and touch the world -- and prayed they would not simply be forgotten as they forged ahead.  We were saddened to see that they had carved their names into rock, wheels or trees so as not to lose hope as they searched for a better life and a better way for their families and we determined to never forget their hard work and sacrifice.

In a world of super heroes with super powers, we often forget all those who worked so hard and truly deserve to be called hero.  The History of The Oregon Trail was eye-opening to my kids and gave us all a new appreciation  for our forefathers.  Being able to "see" the thousands of miles of the trail through desert and prairie and over mountains gave us a true feel for the rough terrain faced as the settlers yelled "Westward, Ho."  The Boy Scout deemed it "most interesting" and watched {and re-watched} the videos often.

He and the Princess take turns getting our mail from our mailbox each day.  Our mailman is one of our very favorite people.  We like to see what comes and look forward to receiving packages of all shapes and sizes. As we watched The Pony Express video, the Boy Scout said "inviting people to your tea party sure was more difficult then."  In our world of instant gratification and immediate satisfaction, it was quite refreshing to watch as it dawned on my children that life hasn't always been so easy.  They have a new appreciation for our mail carrier now, too.  So many changes have been wrought by so many who were willing to fail.  {And the Princess also liked the horses that made up The Pony Express.  She is crazy for horses so they were an added bonus for her viewing pleasure.}  We are definitely more forgiving around here after seeing the struggles of those that came before us.

As if all of that were not enough, Marshall Publishing even provides a Study Guide for viewing enrichment that you can use before, during and after you watch the DVD.  Students can role play {or dress their dolls up, if they choose, like we did}, make a relief map OR plan their trip out West before they watch the movie.  Discussion questions are included online to help students understand and grasp what they are watching as they view the video.  After they have watched the video, students can write diary excerpts as if they were actual emigrants on the trip and are encouraged to further their studies through research questions and biographical sketches.

The History of The Oregon Trail & The Pony Express can be purchased from Marshall Publishing to help bring history to life in your home.  The normal price for the DVD is $24.95 but it is on sale right now for $19.95.  You can also get FREE First Class shipping if you use the Coupon Code TOS27.  This is a good deal and well worth your money.  Order yours today.

Westward, Ho . . .  because This Day Has Great Potential.



~Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to review The Oregon Trail and The Pony Express by Marshall Publishing as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  The opinions stated are mine and mine alone.  I was not paid to share my thoughts and feelings with you.  I received this video in exchange for my honest review.  You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this and other products by Marshall Publishing.~

Pin It Now!

1 comment:

  1. I thought I might want this one to go with our American history studies this year, now I am sure I do. Great review!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your heart with me!