Friday, January 13, 2012

TOS Review: Learn Our History

Learn Our History was launched this past year by Governor Mike Huckabee and Brad Saft to try and get children excited about American History. They strive to offer fact-based, unbiased presentations of history that children don't always get in school and offer homeschooling parents a tool to add to their curriculum.

We reviewed 2 of their DVD's, one we got in the mail and one that was accessible online. The video series is titled "Learn Our History: TimeCycle Academy." The TimeCycle Academy is a group of children who have turned a bicycle into a time machine and travel back in time to experience history first hand.

Gesserine did seem to enjoy the videos and she actually learned from them. There are animated shows that she just won't sit through, so the fact that she watched them, comprehended what she saw and even talked about them later told me that she enjoyed them.

The first video we watched was the one we received in the mail, The Birth of A Revolution. I did love the historical content and utilizing the time travel aspect of the video did seem to help Gess remember where things took place. In fact, when Gess saw the word Boston in a totally unrelated context she immediately remembered seeing that on the screen in the video and recalled that the kids traveled there in the movie.

Here is a preview of The Birth of A Revolution

The other video that was available to us online was 9/11 and The War on Terror. Here is a preview for it.

While the historical content of both of the movies was relatively good (though I wouldn't call it unbiased), I was generally unimpressed with the quality of the animation and disappointed in the character development. One of the characters in the movie (Connor) is somewhat of a bully and is pretty rude to the other children calling them names like "loser." They even attire him in a shirt demonstrating that behavior displaying "I rule, you drool" on it. Having a special needs child that mimics behavior whether it's on TV or in real life, that's not something I want her spending a lot of time viewing. In fact, she already started to pick it up and giggle at a couple of his comments. I was just very disappointed to see that behavior in an educational video. I also found Barley way too stereotypical in his overalls and southern accent.

The Learn Our History series can be ordered online or by calling (877) US HISTORY (that's 877-874-4786). When you sign up you get an introductory video for $9.95 plus shipping and handling. They usually offer introductory specials so be sure to check their website for the most current offers and pricing.

Once you are a member you will continue to get a new DVD each month. They choose a DVD for you and contact you and tell you when it is ready to ship. Each subsequent DVD costs $11.95, plus $3.95 shipping and handling. They always notify customers at least 10 days prior to the shipment so they know it's about to ship. During that time, you have the option to skip the shipment or cancel from the series, both of which are done by contacting the 24/7 customer service department.

As long as your account remains active you are able to stream each DVD title you have purchased directly from within your account on the LearnOurHistory web site. This allows you to view the video from any device, such as a computer, iPad or iPod.

I would have loved to give this a better review because Gess did like it and learned from it but unfortunately not everything she learned was positive. I also personally do not the like membership method of ordering. While the pricing seems to be somewhat reasonable I do not find it convenient to have my DVDs selected for me. I like to order the products I want, when I want them. Besides, having to wait for the next DVD in a series or for the topic you really want makes it difficult to use them as a teaching tool. However, if you find this to be a convenient and easy way to add to your video collection, this might be a good option for you. It's just not for me.

To learn more visit the Learn Our History website.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a free copy "The Birth of A Revolution" DVD for giving my honest opinion and assessment of this product in my review.

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