The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Discoveries . . . America: Michigan Discoveries . . . America: Wyoming Review by Christine Hindle

Kelly Watt
Bennett-Watt HD Productions, Inc
13021 244th Ave SE
Issaqua, WA 98027
425 392 3935

These are two DVDs in a series that encompasses all 50 states. Each DVD takes on an individual state and tells all the unique things about it. Each one is approximately 30 minutes in length, and the producers pack a lot of information and beautiful film footage into that time.

I enjoyed the Michigan DVD because of the diversity in the state of Michigan. It covered many different locations in Michigan--from the Motor City, Detroit, which is as modern as any city in the U.S., to Mackinac Island, where the only modes of transportation are horses, horse-drawn vehicles, and bicycles. One fact that was presented was that there are 3,000 miles of freshwater shoreline in Michigan (think Great Lakes), making this state the boating capital of the world. Along some of this shoreline are some huge sand dunes that provide a recreation area for locals and tourists alike. In addition, the filmmakers made stops at the birthplace of Lionel toy trains, the Greenfield Village historical site (which contains Thomas Edison's lab), the Henry Ford museum (another place to find living history), the cherry-producing area of Michigan, and more.

The Wyoming DVD showed a vastly different part of the country. This one made me want to live there or at least visit! The Grand Tetons provide some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and Yellowstone Park (the 1 st National Park in the U.S., est. 1872) provides some of the most unique phenomena in the world (geysers, mud pots, etc.). The lifestyle is definitely along the lines of the state's cowboy heritage, which was made famous by native son Buffalo Bill Cody. Rodeo is still the sport of choice in Wyoming, and tourists love the cowboy experience. Wyoming also boasts Devil's Tower in the Black Hills, which was the first National Monument in the U.S. (Wyoming is proud of its "firsts.") Wyoming was the first state to let women vote, and it granted that privilege 50 years before any other state caught up - 1870. They also can claim the first woman governor and several other "firsts" for women in public office. One fact that I was not aware of is that Wyoming is one of the biggest coal producers in the world. It was encouraging to see that they were restoring the land as they finished mining it.

Theses DVDs are $24.95 each, and therefore it may be too costly for the average homeschool family to own all 50. But they are definitely worth owning if you are studying your own home state or other states of interest. I would recommend them for public libraries and homeschool co-ops so that homeschoolers could take advantage of this rich source of information when studying U.S. geography. I have enjoyed the ones I have reviewed and will continue to enjoy them. They make the study of geography much more interesting than just reading from a textbook.

Product review by Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2010