Sunday, September 16, 2012

Marshall Publishing

According to Marshall Hall Publishing, they produce CDs, Audios, and DVDs that will amaze, amuse, entertain, and educate.  You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel at to view clips and previews of their programs.  The DVD sells for $19.95 at the Marshall Hall Publishing website and includes a study guide.

We reviewed The History of The Oregon Trail (36 minutes) & The Pony Express DVD (16 minutes).  My 6th & 8th grader did not make it through the entire DVD.  However, they chuckled at some of the funny voice changes that periodically occur during the video.  My husband & I finished the entire video. 

Oregon Trail was the last book we read during the last school year so we were familiar with a lot of the information.  What you miss from a book is a picture of the scenery that words can not fully describe.  You see the picture in your mind but it can’t be compared to the awesome shots of beautiful mountains, prairie land, and rivers that are shown throughout the video.  I enjoyed that the most.
It is amazing to think of the sacrifice so many made to take the 2,000 mile trip across rough terrain, facing Indian threats, and enduring scarlet fever in search of better opportunities for their family.  Even more astonishing is of all the individuals who set out on the trail 90% actually made it.  There are many reminders along the trail today that give tribute to the pioneers’ great sacrifice.
We learned a great deal from the Pony Express video as I didn’t know too much about it.  The video takes you from the beginning of how the Pony Express started to the very end – the bankruptcy of its owners.  The onset of civil war and a political election took precedence over the government’s support of the private financiers’ business which ultimately bankrupts the company.  During its short life span of 19 months, the Pony Express met the growing needs of an expanding country.  I enjoyed the detail of how the operation was set up with stops every 15 miles or so to change ponies with an overnight stay at the 70 mile post.  Riders received only 2 minutes to change horses before setting off for the next stop.  What an efficient operation.  We got a kick out of seeing the newspaper ad the owners ran looking for employees that stated, “young, skinny, wiry men not over the age 18.”   Similarly, the oath employees made after hire attesting to not taking to “strong drink, remaining honest, and not quarrelling with other employees” was interesting.  Can you imagine such practices in today’s workplace?  That is a lawsuit waiting to happen in today’s environment. 

Final thoughts:  Didn’t really hold my kids’ attention.  I think today’s kids are so accustomed to sophisticated animation and graphics in film that anything less just doesn’t work.  The graphics are a bit dated in this DVD.  As an adult, we are a little more forgiving as we are more interested in content.  To really amaze, amuse, and entertain Marshall Publishing should update their approach to present this material in a kid friendly manner.  I’m not sure what that would mean technically in the world of video production but it is hard to compete in educational media with older technology.  

See what my other "crew mates" thoughts of Marshall Publishing here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


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