Monday, September 29, 2008

Passing on some great links

While searching for images of the cave drawings in La Marche, France, I stumbled across a fantastic website with links and images to over 42 Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic archeological sites in Europe, Russia, Asia, and Australia. This website has great photos for the kids, along with articles that explain the period. Have your kids drop by. For that matter, I recommend that you drop by even if you have no kids.

The world’s many Stone Age archeological sites:

Venus figures from the Stone Age:

Paintings, engravings, and sculptures from the Stone Age

Stone Age plants, animals, people, and geography

Stone Age tools and decorative objects

Archeological forgeries, hoaxes and curiosities

Maps of the Earth Children’s Series showing the extent of the last Ice Age and more

Modern Paintings depicting Stone Age life

Thanks and Happy Historybusting...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

On Line Version of the Timeline

Greetings Historybusters...

We are posting an one-line version of the extended timeline...

You can access it at the following link

Have fun and happy Historybusting

Curriculum Update

We have updated the look of our curriculums. Please take a look and tell us what you think...Here is a sample of the new 300 curriculum.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The World's Longest Timeline Unveiled

Recently Historybusters unveiled the World's Longest Timeline in an effort to provide kids and their parents with some visual historical perspective. After all, we hear historians toss around the names of various historical eras all the time, but they mean nothing until we can put them into context. The Timeline does just that. Here are some pictures of the event...

Wandering through time...
Asking questions...
Pointing out moments...
On a 74.3 yard Timeline!

We will be posting video on U-Tube.
As soon as its ready we will post a link to it here.
In the meantime,
here is a close up of one century in the timeline...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We have set up a discussion page on Facebook

Greetings Historybusters

In order to facilitate discussions between members, we have set up a Groups Page on Facebook. You can start a discussion topic, reply to questions, post pictures, post videos, invite your friends, and even post links to site you think other members can use. Take a look at

Hope you find this new tool helpful and happy historybusting...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In honor of the Cambodian Killing Fields and their survivors

The Killing Fields tells the true story of New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg and his Cambodian assistant Dith Pran, who was left to the mercy of the Khmer Rouge after Schanberg was evacuated. Filmmaker Roland Joffé, previously a documentary producer, made his feature film debut with this account of Dith's survival in the ensuing madness of the Khmer Rouge's genocidal campaign. This film has violent and mature content. Click here to preview a video download of The Killing Fields

Swimming To Cambodia: Humorist Spalding Gray sits behind a desk throughout the entire film, recounting his exploits and chance encounters while playing a minor role in the film 'The Killing Fields'. While making us laugh, Gray manages to give one of the clearest explanations of the events leading up to the Cambodian killing fields that I’ve ever viewed on film, allowing his audience to understand why such an atrocity happened. This film has mature content.

The Flute Player is a profound one-hour documentary about the life and work of Cambodian genocide survivor Arn Chorn-Pond. Arn was just a boy when Cambodia's Khmer Rouge military regime took power in 1975. For four long years, Arn followed the strict orders of the Khmer Rouge — doing whatever it took to save his own life amidst torture, murder, starvation and brainwashing. While imprisoned in a labor camp, Arn participated in the execution of others in order to survive, and he played propaganda songs on his flute for his captors' entertainment. At fourteen, Arn was forced by the Khmer Rouge to fight against the Vietnamese when they invaded Cambodia in 1979. After seeing his friends killed on the front lines, he escaped to the jungle, eventually finding his way to a Thai refugee camp. Two years later, an American refugee worker adopted Arn and brought him to the United States. Today at the age of 38, Arn has taken his very tragic past and turned it into something inspirational. A true must see for anyone wanting to understand the impact of the Cambodian Killing Fields on the future, this documentary is family friendly. Click here for a complete study guide for grades 9-12.

To purchase a copy of "The Flute Player" contact:

Nicole Tse
Distribution Associate
Center for Asian American Media
145 Ninth Street, Suite 350
San Francisco, CA 94103-2641

Phone: (415) 552-9550
Fax: (415) 863-7428

Note: Center for Asian American Media is formerly NAATA.

For additional information, or if you would like to schedule director Jocelyn Glatzer or Arn Chorn-Pond for a speaking engagement please see: or contact

If you are interested in learning more about Arn's programs in Cambodia please visit: or contact:

Beni Chhun
Cambodian Living Arts
World Education
44 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210 USA
Phone: (617) 482-9485
Fax: (617) 482-0617

In honor of September 11

The anniversary of September 11 is almost upon us. In honor of that fateful day, Historybusters would like to recommend any or all of the following:

9/11 - The Commemorative Edition

On the morning of September 11, 2001, two French brothers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, were working on a documentary about a rookie New York City firefighter. Hearing a roar in the sky, Jules turned his camera upward--just in time to film the only existing image of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. In a fateful instant, Jules and Gedeon became eyewitnesses to the most shocking and defining incident of our time. With cameras rolling, the Naudets followed NYC firefighters into the heart of what would be known as Ground Zero. What emerged is an unforgettably powerful visual document and a stirring tribute to real-life heroes who, in their city's darkest hour, rose to extraordinary acts of courage and compassion. This film is family friendly. It is perhaps the most powerful and honest production of this day recorded.

Looking For My Brother

An incredibly moving documentary about one man's search for his brother in the aftermath of 9/11. Family friendly, but with mature content.

Flight 93: The Movie

Flight 93 is an intense made for TV movie about the events that took place on Flight 93 on the morning of September 11, 2001. Originally broadcast on the A & E Network, the drama focuses on the passengers who attempted to take back the plane from the terrorists – they include Tom Burnett, Todd Beamer, and Mark Bingham. However, the action also reveals the chaotic nature of the ground response, from the White House bunker to the offices of the Federal Aviation Agency. Director Peter Markle and screenwriter Nevin Schreiner stay rooted in the facts as we know them. Speculation is necessary for some of the dramatic details, but Flight 93 has the unmistakable ring of truth. Produced with the cooperation of the family members of those who perished on Flight 93, this well-crafted Television movie handles difficult material with respect. This film is family friendly, but with mature conflict.

Meeting Osama Bin Laden

An extremely informative documentary about the life, works, and philosophy of Osama Bin Laden. If the saying is true, “know thy enemy as thyself,” then this important documentary tracing Bin Laden’s life is a must see. Family friendly, but with mature content.

Frontline: The Al Qaeda Files

An exceptional Frontline episode examining the birth, religion, extremism, and politics of Al Qeada.

The 50 Years War - Israel & The Arabs

The 50 Years War examines the conflict between Israel and its Middle Eastern neighbors. Using archival footage and extensive interviews with participants, this two-video set produced by PBS begins by explaining the conditions in Palestine at the end of World War II and the crisis created by the exodus of European Jews immigrating to the Middle East after the Holocaust. It explains the withdrawal of the British, the formation of Israel, the local struggles intensified by the cold war, the Six Day War, and more. This skillful, dramatic, and balanced production is a must see for any young person studying the history of today. Family friendly, but with mature content.

The best way to teach Geography

The other day, I saw a three year old on Oprah who could point out every country on a world map. The entire audience was amazed. I, on the other hand, was not. Every two year has the capacity to learn geography. They love color, they are infinitely curious, and they love interaction. All they need is a map and a parent who tells them what the counties are. Their ability to absorb information at that age will do the rest.

In other words, if you want your child to know Geography, you need to get them a world map. My mother likes to tell me about the map puzzle she had as a child. I have put together a widget to get you started. I particularly like the map placemat and the wooden world map floor puzzle, but all of the products are good.

Happy historybusting...

Again I have been reminded why Historybusters exists

Just yesterday I was helping a new student with his History and English assignments. A young Freshman who knew nothing about the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, or the Reformation. In the back of my mind, I couldn't help but think, if only he had seen the film Luther, he would have a concept about the Reformation. The film Kingdom of Heaven would have given him a background for the Dark Ages. Any one of the many movies about Henry VIII would have explained the break with the Church of England. He could have a broad spectrum of images and ideas to build on if only someone had taken the time to introduce them to him through film. As it is, he has one school year to learn a tidal wave of information from a dry old history book. No wonder he finds history boring. Too many facts to memorise and nothing exciting to tie the facts to.

Please don't let this happen to your kids, make a point of showing them quality historical films from a young age. Make a point of showing them maps, pictures, and timelines. Don't force them to start history class without a basic understanding of history to build upon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Answer to Pamela's question

Pamela C. has asked me a question. She has a fifteen year old boy and wanted to view some samples of the video downloads.

Pamela, not all of the movies I recommend can be downloaded, but all are available in DVD or VHS format. It depends on the movies. I have put together a widget of films that can be downloaded. If you click on an image, it will take you to the site and let you see a sample. I have also provided a link to's Frontline. You can view any of the episodes for free at any time. I hope that gives you the samples you need. I've tried to select a few things that I think might interest a fifteen year old.

Here you go:

Turtles Can Fly: Too few films capture war from the point of view of the children who endure it--perhaps because it's awful to contemplate. But Turtles Can Fly manages to be both heartbreaking and galvanizing in its depiction of young Iraqis waiting for the U.S. Army to roll over their village on the border of Turkey. Since the U.S. has linked its fate with that troubled country, learning a little about the Iraqi people would be good for everyone involved; fortunately, Turtles Can Fly is more than just an educational opportunity. Rich humor helps balance the harrowing circumstances, making the movie a riveting experience. It is subtitled and family friendly with some mature content. Once you get to the site, look to the left for the link to the video download.
First Churchills: Here are the first two episodes, takes you back to the world and politics of 16th Century Britain
Battlefield Britain: Here are the first two episodes, features kid friendly documentaries about major British battles
In Search of the Trojan War: Here are the first two episodes, this documentary features ancient classical history
Enemy at the Gate: A film that takes you into the world of Stalingrad during WWII. It is an excellent movie to introduce the harshness of Stalin’s regime. It contains mature content, so be aware.
Flags of Our Fathers: A film that takes you to the Battle of Iwo Jima during WWII. It contains mature content, so be aware.
Auschwitz: Very nice documentary series about Auschwitz, this link is to the episode entitle escape from Auschwitz

Here is the link to Frontline:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This years' Movie Curriculums

I’ve been asked to provide a list of the movie curriculums that Historybusters will be providing this year. We will be focusing this year primarily on European and American History.

September will feature classical World History focusing on Greece and Egypt.
October will feature Roman History.
November will deal with the Dark ages and the Crusades.
December will look at the Renaissance.
January will explore the Reformation.
February will focus on the Age of Expansion and Exploration.
March will look at the American Revolution.
April will deal with the French Revolution and Napoleon.
May will focus on the Industrial Revolution and Colonialism.
June will focus on the Build up to WWI.
July will introduce the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression.
August will deal with WWII.
September will deal with the Cold War.

World History will be our focus next year…

Hope that gives you some idea of what to expect. By the way, each curriculum will recommend more than one movie from the period to be watched either independently or as a set. For example: the complete Greek curriculum will provide background for several Greek myths, 300, Alexander the Great, a few Greek plays, and several documentaries, while the Roman curriculum will provide background on Julius Caesar, Caesar and Cleopatra, Cleopatra, Anthony and Cleopatra, I Claudius, The Warrior Queen, Attila, and several documentaries. Obviously, you won’t have time to get to them all, so pick and choose as you see fit.

Take care and happy historybusting...

Answer to a question about the AP History Exam

Tandy C. sent me a great question about AP tests for home schoolers, and I want to post it and our answer.

Her question:

I'm intrigued with your well-researched list of films and the opportunity that this provides for families wishing to do AP History at home without having to go through a virtual charter school. Question: When student are through going through this Kaplan program, how do they go about registering to take the AP History exam and get credit for it as other "regular" students?

Our answer:

Homeschooled students can still take the exams by arranging to test at a participating school.

§ Call
AP Services no later than March 1 to get the names and telephone numbers of local AP Coordinators. Prepare a list of the exams you plan to take prior to calling so that the appropriate Coordinators can be identified

§ Contact the AP Coordinators identified by AP Services no later than March 15.

When calling Coordinators to arrange testing, make sure to tell them:

§ You are trying to locate a school willing to administer exams to homeschooled students or students from schools that do not offer AP.

§ You will use a different school code so your exam grade(s) will be reported separately from the school at which you test. (Homeschooled students will use the state homeschool code provided by the Coordinator on the day of the exam; students attending schools will use their school code.)

§ The exams you plan to take.

Once you locate a school willing to administer the exams, that school's AP Coordinator is responsible for ordering your exam materials, telling you when and where to appear for the exams, and collecting your fees, which he or she may negotiate to recover additional proctoring or administration costs. That school must administer the exams for you; it cannot forward them to you or your school for handling.

Hope that helps.