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My Canadian Time Capsule Review by Annette Vellenga

Lisa Marie Fletcher
Canadian Homeschooler
Ontario, Canada

Lisa Marie Fletcher wanted to break people out of the idea that Canadian history is boring and she has done so with this website based subscription program.

Every month a new history adventure awaits the family about to set out on their Canadian Adventure. Available for $9.99 per month or $99 for the year, hands-on elements war with online adventures, which option will your students choose first?

Month One: 1896 The Klondike Gold Rush

Eleven options await you.  Click on them and a new tab opens (with the exception of Primary sources).

  • Watch a Video – classic video to watch with questions to answer
  • Mapping – printing out a map and mapping out the Gold Rush and trails there
  • Webquest – using eleven questions and a list of websites to use, create a newsletter
  • Primary Sources – going through original sources to learn about the Gold Rush.
  • Pan for Gold – videos on ways to pan for gold
  • Play a Game – two on-line games to play
  • Buy an Outfit – go shopping with a list.
  • Read a book – three books suggested for different age ranges
  • Illustrate – create a new book cover
  • Write a letter – send a postcard home from the Gold Rush
  • Make a diorama – several options for making a diorama

Each of these options will appeal to different students, for instance my lad had zero interest in the making or creating an outfit, but panning for gold, mapping, videos and games ... RIGHT up his alley, and in the process of doing so learns and Canadian History is no longer boring. My lad really enjoyed the primary sources, going through each document carefully.

We could only get one of the on-line games to play, the other was interesting for me, the lad got a bit lost in it a couple of times. The game gave us good information about the Klondike Gold Rush. The buy an outfit quest I could see being a lot of fun to do with a group of children. My lad had zero interest in doing it but if he were doing it with friends and trying to find the best prices, he would have been totally into that. 

Month Two: 1810 Les Voyageurs

Again, eleven options, click on them and a new window opens.

  • Watch a video – two videos with questions
  • Mapping – map out different canoe routes
  • Webquest – 10 questions, provided websites, answer: could you be a voyageur?
  • Primary Sources – Links for contracts and books, warning given about suitability or not for younger children
  • Canoe and Portage – videos on making a canoe, learn how to paddle, and carry a heavy pack
  • Play a Game – a single game
  • Music – listen to two videos of music from the voyageurs
  • Read a book – Three books, different age categories
  • Make a Craft – learn finger weaving
  • Cook a Meal – cook a meal like what the voyageurs ate
  • Hudson’s Bay vs North West Company – This game is a mock friendly competition between both companies.

I could not get the game to play for me, nor could my lad.  My son found it interesting looking at the original contract for the voyageur and then learning what it meant in English.  He liked the webquest this time, discovering that he’d have to work up to being a voyageur but would find it an interesting life because there would be so much to see.

I loved that each month is not a cookie-cutter of the month before it.  The good variety in activities helps keep the interest levels high.  I particularly appreciated, that even though this on-line based subscription program is geared for grade five, that books for various age levels were included. I found my lad (grade 8) ho hum about some of the activities and yet intrigued by others.

I have to admit, part of me wants to grab some of the ideas that Lisa Marie Fletcher has put together and teach a co-op class with them. It would be too much fun to have that friendly battle between the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company, don’t you think?

Having each section open into a new window makes it really easy to follow along.  This allows the student to just close out the new window and pick a new option to complete. Do you have to do everything? No, just like with any curriculum you can pick what you want to focus on.  I do think it’s important to the learning process to complete the maps, videos and books.  Primary Sources, if appropriate add a depth you may not find elsewhere.  Everything else just helps to broaden the horizons as you follow rabbit trails through a particular moment in Canadian history.

This is not a complete history program, but it is a fun way to look at vignettes of Canadian history throughout the years.  Some examples of topics are Women & the Vote, The Vikings, The World Wars, First Nations, The Great Depression as well as many others.  Events aren’t studied in order of history but will bounce around showcasing important parts of Canadian history in a manner guaranteed to intrigue your students.

-Product review by Annette Vellenga, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2018