No matter what homeschooling method your family uses, if your home has a TV, it’s a sure bet that your family can benefit from educational videos. Around here, though we intermittently watch movies as we get them from the library or stream them over the internet, our favorite time to curl up with a movie is when the weather turns cold and stormy. It’s a great way to add history and science without increasing the curriculum load.
We recently received for review a biographical video about George Washington Carver from Marshall Publishing. I was pleasantly surprised, for the movie doesn’t just present historical fact; George Washington Carver: His Life and His Work, does a fine job providing a sense of what he was like as a person and an educator. The inspirational quotes, many taken from his writings, give clear indication of his inner drives and thought processes.
George Washington Carver: His Life and His Work, like all of Marshall Publishing’s products, is appropriate for all ages. Though George Washington Carver was born into slavery, and suffered decades of racial prejudice, this product doesn’t focus on that side of his story. Carver felt that if he became involved in fighting for rights, he’d had little time for his own scientific endeavors that he considered his real life’s work. True to his beliefs, the video narrowly sketches out his background, focusing instead on all of his accomplishments. If you have younger students that have not yet encountered lessons on slavery and prejudice, the movie covers these lightly enough that minimal explanation would suffice if questions are asked. This video would, in fact, be a nice, gentle introduction to these topics.
Marshall Publishing provides a free study guide on the product page that provides a concise summary of the information presented on the DVD, along with a list of questions that could be answered individually or as a group. Discussing the questions verbally after watching the video worked well for us; it helped to clarify and reinforce the primary information presented, without interrupting the casual family movie time feeling.
George Washington Carver: His Life and His Works runs approximately 30 minutes. It is in both color and black & white; many actual photographs of Carver are included. Interspersed with these are gorgeous modern photographs highlighting subjects that he studied. Sections of the video include: Inspiring Words, Early Life, College Years, Tuskegee Years, and Final Years.
The only unusual detail I noticed, which the kids didn’t even pick up on: throughout the video, an actor narrated much as the movie as if it were spoken by Carver. The actor has a great voice, very smooth and understandable – but when, near the end of the video, a short video clip featuring Carver’s real voice is played, it is drastically different than the actor’s, so much so that it jarred me back into real life. Though I appreciate the desire for authenticity, in this case, it might have been better to use the actor throughout.
George Washington Carver: His Life and His Work, is available from Marshall Publishing for $19.95. Marshall Publishing also offers numerous educational videos suitable for all ages. Other Homeschool Crew families had the opportunity to view Lots and Lots of Fire Songs & Safety Tips, along with a book, Lots & Lots of Fire Trucks and Firefighters. To see what other crew members had to say, check out the TOS Homeschool Crew blog post, Marshall Publishing & Promotions, Inc.
**I received this product for free as a member of the 2011-12 The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew so that I could provide you with an honest review of it by our family.**