There’s a lot of research both for and against using video and multimedia in education. You know what I think? I think that as a home school parent and the de facto administrator of my child’s school that I am best qualified to decide on my own. That’s the beauty of either homeschooling or highly individualized instruction. You have the opportunity to know your students closely enough that you know what’s best for them based on their temperament and personality. There are some students out there who absolutely need a bare minimum of television in either school time or free time. Then there are students who will benefit from the use of television in their instructional offerings. With that said, we use it a lot, and Netflix is a great resource for us.
Netflix has various plans available, but the instant play videos are the cheapest plan and provide more videos than you could ever use in school. The following is a sample list of videos we’ve used for school, although depending on the age group of your students, your needs may vary.
- Liberty Kids (animated series about the American Revolution)
- God of Wonders (science documentary)
- Sid the Science Kid (PBS animated series)
- Creatures That Defy Evolution (series of science documentaries)
- Leapfrog (animated series with various topics)
- Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (a dinosaur series)
- Blue’s Clues (the entire series is available)
- National Geographic documentaries (there are a ton of these available on various topics)
- VeggieTales (various movies that are great for teaching moral concepts)
- Imax films (many of these are available)
This is just a short list. At first glance you might think that many of the documentaries and programs are beyond the grade school level and of no use. That’s not the case. Instead of thinking that they are beyond grade school level, I would prefer to see them as inclusive of many grade levels. In other words, both myself and my boys find something of interest in them. You’ll be amazed at what kids can pick up from adult documentaries. I do recommend either watching them on your own first or standing by with the remote in case something offensive or crazy does show up. I think we scared my oldest son when a documentary on child development started out with a child birthing segment.
Dr. David W. Powers is known as the Master of the Art of Living and specializes in the areas of cumulative stress and work-life balance. He is the father of three feral boys ages 7, 4, and 11 months. You can find him online at www.drdavidpowers.com