By Mark and Georgi Marquisee
Master Communications www.familiesoftheworld.com
4480 Lake Forest Dr., Suite 302
Cincinnati, OH 45242
Families of Canada is the newest in a series of 24 different Families of the World videos. I was at first disappointed to be reviewing Families of Canada - after all, Canada is so much like the US. How could it possibly be very interesting. But then we watched it.
It follows two families, one from coastal Nova Scotia and the other from suburban Toronto, with widely different lifestyles. It explores not only the child's school experience but the family lifestyle, including how they celebrate a national holiday, in this case Thanksgiving. The first child is Hannah, who lives in Nova Scotia. She takes two busses and a ferry to go to her school on an island every morning. Her father is a lobster fisherman, and her mother works at a dentist's office. That is certainly different from our life in rural Iowa. My son was fascinated; and when he picked up the DVD case just now, he began telling me what he remembered from watching the DVD more than two weeks ago.
The material covered is quite extensive considering that the DVD is only 30 minutes long and covers two families in two quite different lifestyles. Free online teacher's guides are offered at www.familiesoftheworld.com. In looking over the one about Canada, it included scripts of the video, basic facts about the country, map, and a couple of quizzes to see if you were listening. The website also shows all the different DVDs available, and my son picked out only 5 or 6 he wanted to watch first. At that point I noticed the website said the series was being shown on some PBS stations. Our local channels, unfortunately, were not.
This is a well put together film with lots of activity narrated by the children themselves. I would definitely recommend this series as part of a geography curriculum if there were a place they could be rented or they could be seen on PBS. They are rather pricey at $29.95 each.
Product review by Nancy Wagner, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, June 2006