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February Learning Calendar with DVD Resources

by Diane Flynn Keith
Author of Carschooling

There are historic and important events to commemorate nearly every day of the year. This Learning Calendar will help you note events and people that impact our lives with recommendations for DVDs, CDs, books, and websites to further learning and boost your student's knowledge of the world. All of the DVD, CD, and book recommendations are available through our affiliation with Amazon.com -- just click on the links to make a purchase that allows us to continue to provide this resource for free.

Homefires' February Learning Calendar

  1. The Supreme Court convened for the first time in 1790. Get The Supreme Court PBS Miniseries starring David Strathairn. This four-hour documentary examines the history of the United States Supreme Court, and includes interviews with Sandra Day O'Connor and current Chief Justice John Roberts. Or, watch this DVD designed for students, Just The Facts: Understanding Government - The Judicial Branch.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

    Learn More About the Supreme Court:

  2. Groundhog's Day in North America. The groundhog is said to wake from winter hibernation and crawl out of its burrow. If the groundhog sees his shadow, he gets frightened and returns to his hole for another six weeks, prolonging Winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, he emerges from his home and Spring begins.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

    Bonus resources:

  3. Norman Rockwell, American illustrator, born 1894. Known for Saturday Evening Post covers depicting average Americans at work and play that defined American values for the ages. The documentary DVD, Norman Rockwell: An American Portrait features archival newsreel and TV footage of the artist as well as rarely-seen sketches and paintings from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Download the resource packet for educators.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  4. Charles Lindbergh, aviator who made the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1927, born 1902. Meet Charles Lindbergh in The History Channel's DVD Lindbergh Flies Again. Charles Lindbergh, an unknown pilot with a dream, made history when he flew nonstop from New York to Paris in 1927. 75 years later, his grandson Erik attempts the same perilous flight. Join this heartfelt tribute from grandson to grandfather as we follow the 2002 flight of the "New Spirit of St. Louis" — from the building of the aircraft to Erik's landing in France.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

    Bonus resources:

  5. Moon Walk by astronaut Alan Shepard in 1971. The DVD, Journey to the Moon: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 chronicles one of the greatest technological achievements in history, when the lunar module Eagle settled onto the moon's surface on July 20, 1969. This DVD chronicles America's "one giant leap for mankind" from launch to landing with comprehensive footage from the film and videotape records of Apollo 11.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

    Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, arrived in America in 1631. Kids can learn more at America's Story: Roger Williams. Older students may want to visit Roger Williams' Family Website.
  6. Further the Learning with These Resources:

  7. Babe Ruth (a.k.a. George Herman Ruth), arguably the greatest baseball player of all time, born 1895. Watch the HBO documentary DVD, Babe Ruth: Life Behind the Legend. This is the extraordinary biography of the man who changed the face of baseball forever.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  8. Charles Dickens, prolific English author born 1812. In 1833 Dickens had his first story published in the Monthly Magazine. Using the pen-name of 'Boz'. These stories were so popular that they were collected together and published as a book entitled Sketches by Boz (1836). As part of your literature studies read a Dickens novel and then watch a film based on the book. The following titles are recommended for students of all ages: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Great Expectations, and David Copperfield.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  9. Jules Verne, science fiction author, was born 1828. As part of your literature studies read a Verne novel and then watch a film based on the book such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Then watch Journey to the Center of the Earth, where four people attempt to reach the centre of the world by entering into a world of caves by way of a volcano. On their journey they discover prehistoric animals like in the novel of Jules Verne four persons try to get to the centre of the world by entering into a world of caves by a volcano. On their journey they discover prehistoric animals, such as dinosaurs. Join them on their adventure.
  10. Further the Learning with These Resources:

  11. President William Henry Harrison was born in 1773. He was the 9th U.S. President and the first to die in office. He had only served one month of his presidency before dying from pneumonia. Learn more about the life and times of all of the U.S. Presidents in the PBS Box Set: The Presidents Collection.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  12. The French and Indian War ended in 1763. Homefires recommends The War That Made America - The Story of the French and Indian War. What if the French had won? Almost 250 years ago, French and English armies clashed in the primeval forest of western Pennsylvania as they struggled to control the most important piece of real estate in 18th century North America. The army that controlled the forks of the Ohio, held the gateway to the entire continent. Native Americans boldly tried to manipulate the balance of military power between the English and the French.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  13. Thomas Edison, homeschooled American inventor of the phonograph and incandescent light bulb, was born in 1847. History of Motion Pictures - Early Films by Thomas Alva Edison 1899 is an innovative DVD, which features some of the earliest motion pictures made by legendary inventor T.A. Edison. Included are 39 short films of various lengths and themes, each reflecting the stage at which cinematographic technology was back in the 19th Century. Then watch Biography: Thomas A. Edison - Father of Invention to learn more about this facinating historical figure.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  14. Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809. Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He presided over The Civil War, signed the Emancipation Proclamation (ending slavery), and was assassinated during his second term of office. Explore Lincoln's legacy in the film documentary, The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns. Learn more about the life and times of President and Mrs. Lincoln in the DVD, Abraham & Mary Lincoln: A House Divided as seen through the eyes of his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  15. Grant Wood, the artist best known for his painting "American Gothic" born in 1892. Homefires recommends the DVD Dropping in on Grant Wood. This cleverly animated DVD about the artist Grant Wood reveals interesting events in his life and explains how he developed his unique style of painting.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  16. Valentine's Day. According to legend, a Christian martyr by the name of Valentine fell in love with the sympathetic daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed on February 14th, he professed his love to her in a farewell letter and signed it, "Your Valentine." Delight the kids with an animated Valentine's Day celebration on delightful Valentine's Day DVD selections: Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1967), Barney: Be My Valentine and Alvin and the Chipmunks - A Chipmunk Valentine.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  17. Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer, born 1564. (Also see February 19, the birthday of Copernicus.) Use these events to expand your students' knowledge of the universe with these two remarkable titles. First, we have NOVA - Galileo's Battle for the Heavens, based on Dava Sobel's best-selling biography Galileo's Daughter. This two-hour film offers a vivid re-imagining of Galileo's incredible achievements that forever changed the way we view our place in the universe. Then take a tour back in time with Cosmos: Carl Sagan to explore how Copernicus and Galileo developed their theories. Dr. Carl Sagan, as the moderator, is amazing in his ability to explain the "Wonders of the Universe" in terms that anyone can understand and enjoy!

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  18. Tomb of King Tutankhamen unsealed in Egypt, 1923. Homefires recommends the History Channel's Mummies & The Wonders of Ancient Egypt. Journey to Ancient Egypt and explore The Great Pyramids, The Sphinx, Hieroglyphics, and King Tut. Join us as the world's greatest Egyptologists and the latest computer technology bring this extraordinary world to life.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  19. Michael Jordan, generally considered the greatest player in basketball history, born 1963. Led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles. Watch this fun film that combines animation with live action as Michael Jordan shoots some hoops with Bugs Bunny among other cartoon characters in Space Jam.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:


    Marian Anderson, first black singer to appear in the Metropolitan Opera, born 1902. Read Anderson's Inspiring Biography.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  20. The dwarf planet Pluto was discovered in 1930. Although Pluto was demoted as a planet by astronomers in 2006 Watch this International Film & Video Festival Silver Screen award winner for computer animation: Our Solar System DVD, as it takes you on a tour of the solar system to meet the planets. There are the terrestrial planets -- Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars; and there are the Jovian planets -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Then be sure to view these fascinating DVDs: My Fantastic Field Trip to the Planets and Voyage to the Planets and Beyond.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  21. Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish astronomer, born 1473. (Also see February 15, Galileo's birthday.) Use these events to expand your students' knowledge of the universe with this DVD title, Cosmos: Carl Sagan. Dr. Carl Sagan explores how Copernicus and Galileo developed their theories. Then go on an adventure to the stars with, The Standard Deviants - Astronomy Adventure. Aimed at accomplished high-school students, this award-winning series uses humor, whimsical graphics, and a lot of quick cuts to make academics accessible--even fun.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  22. John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth in a spacecraft, 1962. NASA: 50 Years of Space Exploration!, is a film that documents U.S. space exploration including John Glenn's historical flight, the first space walk by an American, and the harrowing experiences of the astronauts as Gemini VIII wildly gyrates through space following a major malfunction.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  23. The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels was published. One of the most influential publications in history, it proclaimed that the working class or proletariat, would put an end to a class-based society forever. Communism spread to all of the continents of the word, lasting through four generations and over seven decades. Check out Faith of the Century: A History of Communism that chronicles the history of Communism in Russia.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  24. George Washington, first President of the U.S., born 1732. Get The Crossing by A&E Network Studios, and follow Washington and his out-manned troops as they cross the Delaware River on Christmas night, 1776 and launch a surprise attack on the Hessian mercenaries at The Battle of Trenton. The Crossing was adapted from the bestselling novel by Howard Fast and stars Jeff Daniels as Washington. A Peabody Award winner.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  25. George Frederick Handel, composer of The Messiah (includes the popular "Hallelujah Chorus") born 1685. One of the most famous pieces of music ever written, Handel's Messiah, began its life in Dublin in 1742. Remarkably, not a year has gone by since without Messiah being performed some where in the world. Today, beloved by millions, it stands proudly as a keystone of Western classical music. This sumptuous recording took place at the historic St Patrick's Estate (Recipient of a Cultural Heritage Conservation Award by UNESCO). The Cerretti Chapel's glorious setting prefectly offsets Handel's music in this exhilarating performance.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  26. German author, Wilhelm Grimm was born in 1786. Together with his brother Jacob, he collected hundreds of folktales and published them in a book titled, Grimm's Fairy Tales. Broadway Theatre Archive: Story Theatre depicts the classic tales by the Brothers Grimm in an innovative theatre production that includes a variation of: "The Golden Goose," "The Clever Gretel," "The Goose Girl," and "The Bremen Town Musicians." Utilizing gestures, mime, music and the actors' own imaginations, this unique theater piece brings these timeless tales to life.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  27. Pierre Auguste Renoir, master French impressionist painter, born 1841. Learn more about this great master painter. Homefires recommends A&E's The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution. It tells the story of the first truly modern artistic movement, focusing on five of its most important practitioners: Renoir, Monet, Degas, Pissarro and Morisot. Their determination to remain true to their convictions--and the price they paid as a result--is vividly captured in their own words, taken from letters and diaries, while the world's foremost authorities offer fascinating insights into their lives and work.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  28. Buffalo Bill (a.k.a. William Frederick Cody) was born in 1846. A mail carrier for the Pony Express, he hunted and killed over 4,000 Bison (buffalo) to supply meat for railroad workers in Kansas. He formed a traveling Wild West Show, boasting appearances by Sitting Bull, the Sioux Chief who defeated Custer, and sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Get these two films: Young Buffalo Bill starring Roy Rogers in a bio-flick that stretches the facts a bit, and Annie Get Your Gun, an Academy Award-winning movie about a spunky backwoods girl who dares to challenge a sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to a match. Great family entertainment.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  29. John Steinbeck, American novelist born 1902. Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1940 for Grapes of Wrath, about the plight of migrant workers during The Great Depression. You can get the film, Grapes of Wrath, based on his book. We also recommend the film Of Mice and Men, based on another acclaimed Steinbeck novel.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  30. Kalevala Day. In Finland people celebrate their country's folklore about "the Land of Heroes" (Kalevala) with parades, music and parties. We suggest 7 Days: Finland that takes you on a virtual tour from Helsinki through Turku the oldest city in Finland. Finland is a land of a thousand lakes and eternal forests, a land of log cabins and Orthodox churches and much more.

    Further the Learning with These Resources:

  31. Leap Day! That's right, 2012 is a Leap Year with 29 instead of 28 days in February. Get some fun trivia facts to share with kids of all ages at LeapYearDay.com.

Do you have young children?

Check out the Preschool Learning Calendar!

Going on a Road Trip?

Carschool on your next trip! If you like this calendar, you'll love the Carschooling Calendar for learning history on the go! You can get it delivered to your email inbox every month by subscribing to the Carschooling Ezine — it's free! Sign up now by clicking here.

More February Selections