Thursday, August 8, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder DVD

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“As you read my stories of long ago I hope you will remember that things truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then. It is not the things you have that make you happy. It is love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good. ” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

I'm a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and count all of the Little House books among my very favorites.  I devoured each of them as a young girl and even asked for the complete set as a young mother.  Although my girls were too young to start reading them then, I wanted to make sure we had them on hand the minute they were ready.  I've been working on plans for our new school year and am so excited about where we are arriving in history.  This year we will begin in 1850 and move to present times.  Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 so we will spend a big portion of our time studying through the years of  her life.  I enjoy being able to make history come to life for my children and  love when "characters" step off of the pages of our history books and become "real people" that we know and love AND I especially like finding great resources to help make this transition.

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The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder ($24.95) was filmed by Dean Butler (you'll remember him as Almonzo Wilder from the Little House television series) for Legacy Documentaries. This one hour DVD presents the personal story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the WRITER, to families in a conversational tone that draws you in and makes you feel at home from the very beginning as you meet Laura--the wife and mother-- and "curious Yankee woman."

The beautiful music and breathtaking landscape coupled with real-life photos and re-enacted videos make for a wonderful cinematographic experience that all students will enjoy.  Actually, all Laura fans will be simply fascinated with this behind-the-scenes look at Laura's married life and writing career.  (You can preview the DVD trailer and get a small glimpse at the majesty contained within.)

Beginning with stories of her birth and education, The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder shares the places she lived, the people she loved, and the past she brought to life through stories of her marriage, motherhood, and migration across the country.   The video is visually appealing and moves at a steady pace.  It is never boring and all of my family found it quite enjoyable.  My always-on-the-move 12-year old was even able to sit and watch with interest (spellbound, without moving around), so I know that much younger children will enjoy it as well.  If your children are able to listen attentively to a read-aloud of any of the Little House books, they will most definitely be enamored with this DVD.

I am excited to bring this living history into my home and share it with my family.  Although we own all of the Little House television series DVDs and all of the Little House books, I realize that I've really had a Laura Ingalls Wilder FAIL over the years.  My oldest admitted the other day that she'd never actually read any of the books.  She recalls watching only a few episodes of the series.  Her sister said she read ONE book--Little House on the Prairie.  She recalls watching the first season of the series and the Christmas special.  My youngest  two children said they had SEEN the books on our shelves but really didn't even know who Laura Ingalls Wilder was until she was in the Famous Authors mini book in our 20th Century Lapbook we worked through in the Spring.   Like I said, MASSIVE FAIL on my part.

I realized then that we needed some Laura in our life and The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder was the perfect introduction.  We began by watching the Legacy Documentaries video and then spent time discussing WHO Laura Ingalls Wilder was and WHY she was important to America.   I loved sharing Laura's Legacy with my family and discussing how she touches us all today.  Through her writings, we learn how to make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in and we are encouraged to look at life through a lense of perseverance and a dream of a better life.  These are lessons that touch us all today.  I want my children to look at life and know that there is POTENTIAL there for all of us.

It is interesting to note that Laura, the writer, used composite personalities to shape many of the characters throughout her books.  She was encouraged to write and publish those writings by her daughter, Rose.  This fact was most impressive to my writer-daughter and we took the opportunity to discuss how the people that we surround ourselves with now will affect us for a lifetime AND we discussed the importance of being encouragers to one another.  Isn't it wonderful when history can bring about such discussions in a family?

 photo almanzowilderlifebeforelaura_zps15bde20c.jpgThe stories and character of Laura Ingalls Wilder were a great influence on my life growing up and still today tugs on my heartstrings.  I am delighted to share this piece of history with my children and look forward to watching them turn into true Laura fans as well.

If you're a true Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, I'm sure you'll also want to check out Mr. Butler's Almanzo Wilder:  Life Before Laura documentary ($21.95) as it gives a great look at the history behind Laura's true love, Almanzo, her Farmer Boy.  Together these two DVDs will add a unique perspective to your family's studying and understanding of history and will foster an even deeper love for all things Laura.

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 I was given the opportunity to watch and review The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder from Legacy Documentaries as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

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