Today was one of those days. Two of the kiddos were up half the night with a stomach bug and miserable. The others had a serious case of the ‘cranks’. And yes, I’ll admit it… my ‘teacher hat’ got tossed in the laundry around 4 a.m. with the last pile of bedding. This was a good – no, make that a ‘Tony the Tiger – GREEEEEAT!!!’ – plan to tap the TV to help educate today!
While I wouldn’t recommend full-time use of the ‘boob-tube’, (ßgosh in today’s time isn’t THAT name fitting!), we have found it extremely useful on occasion during our years of homeschooling. We’ve used to supplement and breathe life into lessons. We’ve used to expand interests and learn new hobbies. (I have one kid – age 11 – teaching herself how to play everything from classical Beethoven to the Beatles from YouTube. I’m in awe!) Obviously, it can be a mom-saver on days like today.
Recently I reached out to fellow members of our Military Homeschool Community for suggestions on ‘educational’ programming. Below you’ll see their recommendations combined with some of our family’s personal favorites. (This is one you’ll want to bookmark or save to your computer for quick reference!) Most of these series are available on Netflix, Amazon or YouTube. Grab your remote, snag your comfy spot on the couch with the kids and feel good about what’s on the screen!
|Category||Show||Brief Descriptive Comments|
|1||History||Mysteries at the Museum||Like Paul Harvey’s ‘…rest of the story’ – this series takes a far deeper look behind the treasures housed in America’s museums. Intriguing!|
|2||History||10 Things You Don’t Know About||This series from the History Channel dives into historical events and figures you *thought* you knew, uncovering hidden secrets from long ago.|
|3||History||Expedition Unknown||Explorer Josh Gates goes globetrotting in a quest to uncover buried treasure, lost cities, ancient mysteries and more!|
|4||History||How the States Got their Shape||When putting together a jigsaw puzzle of the U.S. have you ever wondered why each has its shape? They didn’t all come from ‘Mother Nature’!|
|5||History||Ken Burns PBS History Series||There are a number of these available – covering the Civil War, Wild West, Great Depression, etc… or notable figures such as the Roosevelts, Mark Twain and Lewis & Clark. Ken Burns captures these time periods and people in a way like no other!|
|6||History||Drive Thru History||Told from a Christian worldview, this series provides an overview of ancient civilizations, the Holy Land, founding of America and more.|
|7||History||Liberty’s Kids||This PBS Series brings historical figures and events to life in a kid-friendly animation.|
|9||History and Science||Crash Course||Created by author John Green. It is fabulous and breaks down complicated history and science topics into bite-sized, fun chunks.|
|10||History||Horrible Histories||A fun, at times obnoxious (read gross!) look at various points of history which captures kids’ attention and satisfies parents with ‘facts’ that kids truly do remember!|
|History||Disney Educational Productions||History (Presidents, time periods in U.S. History, etc.), Grammar, Science, Math and more – all covered by a variety of Disney Productions you can feel good about being ‘kid-safe’.|
|12||History (Art)||Art with Mati and Dada||This animated series introduces kids to various famous artists and their unique styles. (Available on YouTube)|
|13||History, Science, Math, Grammar||School House Rock||Short, educational clips on a variety of topics (history, math, science, grammar) At times these can be described as earworms since the tunes will not get out of your head!|
|14||Miscellaneous||Ted Talks||Is there a subject your kid is interested in? There is probably a relevant TedTalk available! You can even build a lesson plan around it via http://ed.ted.com/|
|15||Miscellaneous||Wishbone||This adorable canine makes classic literature relatable to kids in the modern world.|
|16||Science||Survivorman||No camera crew here! This guy treks into the wild in various locations throughout the world – showcasing how to survive the elements and provide the basics (food, shelter, etc.) on his own.|
|17||Science||Good Eats||This is great! Kids can learn food chemistry all while whipping up dinner! A win/win!|
|18||Science||Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild||We travel with Jack Hanna’s family to ‘meet’ fantastic creatures throughout the world!|
|19||Science||Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown||Another look at wildlife – with Jack Hanna’s countdown (Top 10 or less) along with his personal anecdotes!|
|20||Science||Brain Games||And you thought your brain only had five senses! Mesmerizing stuff!|
|21||Science||How it’s made||A cool inside view into the makings of everyday objects!|
|22||Science||National Geographic||These various series immerse viewers IN the experience — including weather forces, deepest oceans, in the ‘wild’ (animals), inside the human body and more!|
|23||Science||PBS Nature||Bringing the wonder of nature into your living room!|
|24||Science||Wild Kratts||The Kratt Brothers go animated – presenting lessons on biology, ecology & more. Each also showcases how kids can make a positive difference through small changes or actions.|
|25||Science||Magic School Bus||Ms. Frizzle leads kids up close and personal with the scientific world around (and IN) them!|
|26||Science||Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin||Jeff Corwin showcases a fantastic view of the underwater world while stressing the value of conservation.|
|27||Science||Blue Planet||Produced by the BBC, this series explores the wonders of nature throughout the world.|
|28||Science/Nature||Rock the Park TV Series||This series proves to inspire – exploring the breathtaking beauty and at times ‘quirks’ to behold throughout our national park system.|
|29||Science/Pop Culture||MythBusters||The duo digs into long held beliefs from popular science and culture. What they find is fascinating!|
|30||Science/Technology||Popular Mechanics For Kids||This series presents in-depth lessons in science and technology in an entertaining way!|
Need even more ideas? Search your favorite venue for topic specific documentaries or shows such as Civil War, space exploration, U.S. Congress, horses, etc. Two of my new favorite discoveries: Education On-Demand and the 100 Best Video Sites for Educators.
Have you found an educational series you love? Please share!
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