What if you could have your own media library filled with all things educational? What would it look like? The SmartKidz Media Library For Homeschoolers has something for every member of the family from toddlers right on up to adults. Everything is streamed from the internet so you don’t have to worry about late fees, either.
Tristan and Kallista have been learning oh-so-much about the world over the past 6 weeks with SmartKidz Media. Their brains are soaking up information about science, travel, culture, music, fine arts, the animal kingdom, and much more. And all from the comfort of our own home.
Tristan and Kallista have watched videos on the PC, an Android tablet, as well as an iPhone. The e-book collections also work well on the Android, so we’ve had some variation on what and where we’ve used the media library.
The children have really been interested in the wide array of media available. And it isn’t just them; I’ve been enjoying watching the videos along with them, and listening to the music throughout the day.
The Media Library Includes 10 Main Categories:
1) World of Discovery
This is by far the largest category in the the media library, and this is where we’ve spent most of our time. There are several topic areas here:
- Animals & Wildlife Collections – learn about creatures great and small, from bird migration to mini beasts. The children love to learn about wildlife, and these videos really hold their attention.
- Documentaries & Culture Collections – learn about ancient cultures as well as unusual cultures. There are also modern cultures to learn about as well. It’s important to us that our children learn about how people around the world live, both now as well as in the past. We’ve used a couple of these videos to supplement some other classes we are working on, and watched several more just for fun.
- Health & Fitness – there are videos for kids, parents, pregnant women, and those with back pain. These will come in handy during the winter when we tend to spend more time indoors but are itching to burn some energy.
- History Titles – This is a new section that contains World War II and The Cold War. We haven’t watched them yet, but they’ll be good to see on the lead up to Remembrance Day.
- Lifestyles & Cuisine – this is where you’ll learn about different styles of cooking, complete with recipes. From Sushi (the first video Kallista chose to watch), to Czech food to chicken. If you have a foodie in the house, this is where it’s at. These run about an hour in length, but are broken down into 10 minute segments for each recipe.
- Science – If your children are like mine and like to ask the question, “How do they make that?” then this is the place for them to be! Lots of questions are answered, such as how marbles are made, as well as lots of bizarre science to keep kids curiosity satisfied. I think these are my children’s favourite videos!
- Travel & Adventure – learn about countries and culture around the world from Scotland and Arizona to Egypt and China. These were fun to watch! The kids could see where Phil and I have travelled, as well as places we’d love to travel.
2) Music and Fine Arts
Because the kids couldn’t listen to the relaxation music at bedtime (the streaming of a full album can only be done on the PC), we turned the PC on during the day and listened to many genres in the background while we were working on other things. The choices range from Classical, Cultural, Jazz and Blues and Relaxation, with many albums of each. You’ll hear Mozart, Mel Torme, and Celtic music along the way. I really like that there is such a varied collection.
3) Mighty E-Book Collection
For a treat for the kids, we’ve started some of our mornings with a book or two from the mighty E-Book Collection before we crawl out of bed. Even though they are flash-animated, we were able to view them on the Android, which normally isn’t possible with flash. There is a wide collection of books: Aesop Fables, Mother Goose, Science selections (Why Do We Sneeze?), sing-alongs, and many other choices that are broken down by target age. These were good for the mornings when I couldn’t quite get my eyes open enough to read the kids a book myself!
4) Baby Signs Program
This area has everything from baby sign language to potty training rewards. We didn’t spend much time here as we’re past the infant and toddler stage. However, my children are interested in sign language so we’ll probably return and learn some signs in the future.
5) My Animal Family
This area has short clips about animal facts and families.
6) Quick Find Study Guides
This is like a mini desk-top encyclopaedia where you’ll find lots of facts and meanings about English usage, math, and science. This area is a little ahead of where my children are, but I’ll know where to go if I need to explain the correct usage of punctuation (or maybe a refresher for me)!
7) Learning Special Needs
Here there are loads of books that can be done as a read-along, or interactively. They come with lesson plans and additional things to do with each book. This area can be used by anyone, as there are some great ideas in the lesson plan sections. The books you’ll find here are about everyday life, holidays and celebrations, science, sequencing, and more.
8) Living Skills Program
This area is currently under development but coming soon.
9) Ready Set Sing
This area is all about the music. Sing along with the screen, or choose the karaoke clips and sing on your own with the back-up band.
10) Fun Zone
Included in this area are games such as find the hidden items (Kallista is good at these), books of jokes (Tristan likes this section!), and puzzles.
What are our final thoughts about the SmartKidz Media Library?
We’ve all been enjoying the high quality of the videos and music contained within the SmartKidz Media Library. The documentaries are professionally filmed and narrated, and they don’t ‘talk down’ to children. It’s as if they are made for adults, but also created so that children will understand and enjoy them, too.
I’m not one for letting my children watch TV, but there is so much to learn about the world, and this is a great way to do it, so we’ll be working these videos into our weekly homeschooling lesson plans. In addition, I’m keeping them in my arsenal of things to when either the kids or I am sick. When I’m not home and it’s Daddy’s day to teach, and for those days on which we’re all feeling a little blah. We won’t have to worry so much, as the kids will be learning while watching.
I might actually be looking forward to next winter for those days when we hit the wall from 3 to 5. Watching videos, listening to music, and moving along with an excercise workout will be just the thing to keep us going.
With new content being added recently as well as some exciting additions in the works for the near future, we won’t become bored, that’s for sure!
Update: I can now let you know that one one of these additions has now been made public. SmartKidzRadio is now live and free to stream or for the apps.
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