Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Animated Hero Classics

Years ago, I borrowed a video about Benjamin Franklin from a friend.  The kids and I watched it together and I was impressed with how engaging it was, and not at all... corny.  Let's face it, many educational cartoon videos are not the best!  Well, I'm here to say that this series totally rocks!

Animated Hero Classics is what they are called.  Many libraries have them to borrow, but our library doesn't have many of them.  So, it became my mission to find these gems and purchase them.  They were not easy to find at the price I was willing to pay!  Then, walking through the homeschool convention last month, it was as if bright lights were shining on this booth and drawing me near.  There they were, laid out atop a table with a small TV next to them that played one of the DVDs.  Yes!  DVDs replaced the video cassettes AND when you buy them, you also get a hefty activity pack for each video, which also totally rocks!

I didn't buy any that night.  I wanted to, but I didn't want to impulsively make a large purchase like that.  Because, of course, I want ALL of them!!!  I think that's something like 56 DVDs!  So I went home that night and told my husband about the greatness of these videos and he wondered why I didn't get them.  When I told him the price for the entire package, he understood.  :)  We decided to pair it down and get a portion of them.  But which ones?  Oooh, decisions like this do not come easy for me!

In the end, I chose the Hero Classics over the Bible stories.  Partially because that is originally what I was interested in and didn't even know that these were available in Bible stories.  And partially because if I had chosen the Bible stories, I would have had to decide which set to get: the Old Testament or the New.  If you don't understand my decision-making challenges, please join my husband! 

So, I went back the convention the next day and placed my order.  For a short time after, I felt a tiny bit guilty over spending more than planned.  (Note: I got a great deal by buying them at the convention! - half off!!!)  But once the DVDs arrived and we watched the one on Galileo, any feelings of guilt were quickly erased by the high quality DVD, interactive on-screen quiz, and awesome activity pack.  I'm hooked!  And, I suppose most importantly, the kids like it, too!  When the DVDs first arrived in the mail, Emily was less than enthused.  After all, it is educational!  But after we read about Galileo in our history lesson, I popped in the DVD during lunch, and she became a more interested.  What really grabbed her attention was the interactive on-screen quiz.  What a creative way to engage kids and encourage them to pay close attention!  She hasn't seen the activity pack yet, but I believe that she will enjoy most of it.

Using these DVDs in conjunction with the multi-level activity packs would make for a fun co-op class, too.  The videos are about 30 minutes long, plus time to take the quiz.  In a co-op setting, I would probably view the video during the first class, work on activity sheets for a few weeks, and then go back to the video to take the quiz at the end of the unit.  Or, assign some sheets for homework which would shorten the span of each unit.  Activity packs also include quizzes so the teacher will know what each child is learning and retaining.  The creators say that "when we see, hear and do, we retain 90% of the information."  Reading alone produces 10% retention; hearing, 20%; and seeing and hearing, 50%.  I think the creators were smart to develop something that works with many learning styles. 

Of course, now I want the Bible Stories too!  [...sigh]


  1. We have watched a few AHC that our library has. They are good and the children do like them. Good for you for finding them at the convention. I'm sure they will greatly enhance your chidlren's learning.

  2. Hi Lisa! Nice blog you have. Are these Nest videos? I agree with the creator of the videos that involving as many senses as you can helps in retention.