America: The Story of Us– A great overview of American history for all ages, though older kids might want something more in-depth. There is a little violence, but I would not describe it as bloody or over the top ( if your kids are sensitive, you might want to preview first). My five-year old does tend to be sensitive, but enjoyed watching with us. The only part that bothered my kids at all was the discussion of the Donner party which went on a bit long for their tastes. We all learned a lot from this one and I plan to watch it again with the kids when we do Core D (American history!) next year.
Mankind: The Story of All of Us– We had high hopes for this one, but it is much more graphic than The Story of Us and just didn’t work for us. I will say my boys enjoyed it, but Grace was pretty grossed out by it and Rose didn’t want to sit in the same room when it was playing. We only watched the first three episodes, though so this might not apply to the whole series. The episode about Jesus and the crucifixion was too graphic for my crew. And after the part discussing how many women Genghis Khan raped and the image of a woman throwing herself off a wall when she knew he was coming, we had had enough. Not saying this is a bad series ( it is well-reviewed on Amazon!) but beware with younger/sensitive kids. If I had had more time I would have liked to preview the rest of the series to see if it could work for us.
Modern Marvels: The Great Wall of China–I found this on Netflix. It is a good, short program (about an hour). I would not buy it to own and I doubt we will watch it again, but it was informative, nicely done, and the kids enjoyed it. No real concerns here for younger kids.
Wild China– This was a huge hit! It is a long series-about six hours total- but we were still sad to see it end! I especially enjoyed this one because I am used to sitting on the edge of my seat when watching nature documentaries with little kids. You just know that as soon as they start smiling at that baby panda a tiger is going to swoop down and carry it off… but happily, there was none of that here except for one very short scene in the last episode where a snake catches a bird. This is just a beautiful series. The scenery, the wildlife, the people and the narration all added up to make us feel like we had taken a little field trip to China. It was an awesome way to end our China unit for Core F, especially since so many of the things mentioned in our books were included. We also really enjoyed watching “Hunting Dragons”, the special feature on the last disc which shows the challenges involved in making the film.
So next up, we are still watching Cosmos and just started The Story of India. We are really enjoying both.
Till next time!