Although we cancelled our satellite connection and there is no such thing as a local channel way back in these woods, we do watch television both for entertainment and for education. We just prescreen what we view in our house. Smartkidz Media is an online streaming program full of kid-friendly videos that I've been comfortable letting my son watch as much as he wants to. Except for evolution references which he is able to filter, we agree with many of the views shared in the videos we have seen. We received online access to Smartkidz Media Library for Homeschoolers which has two distinct components: their Family Media Library for all ages and their Reading and Learning Center which is primarily for a younger audience. We watched the videos on laptop computers and through an iPad and Apple TV device on our family's television.
In the World of Discovery, the Animals and Wildlife collection includes over 50 videos featuring different aspects of animals. Marsupials in Australia, ribbon eels and beautiful colorful sea life in shallow Indonesian waters, and elephants in Asia are just a tiny sampling of the animals we learned about from these videos.
My son most enjoyed the bizarre science videos. One episode explained how the eye interprets what it sees with electrodes attached to a baby reacting to images of faces.
Bravo Chef is a show featuring a variety of different styles of cooking from vegetarian to many nationalities. Each episode lasted about 10 minutes and many demonstrated complete meals. My middle child has enjoyed all things French since she first began studying the language, and we all enjoy each of the recipes that she has prepared. The girls and I recently watched Bravo Chef: French together, and I can't wait for her to try making some of these French recipes. Cooking secrets included sweating shallots and how dried milk can make a sauteed food more crisp. Step by step instructions were clearly demonstrated and explained including basic and advanced techniques. Each episode had to be watched to the end to make a list of ingredients before starting to actually cook it. The accent added to the fun while we watched the food prep. "You say tomato, I say tomato." (I guess you have to hear that to really appreciate it.)
There are three different collections of Documentaries and Culture. These would have been a perfect compliment the year we explored countries and cultures but also continue to blend with our historical studies and geography. The Travel and Adventure videos fit with these studies, too. Some feature the same country in different seasons.
Seven Health and Fitness videos even include one just for kids. Another two for pregnant women are listed as coming soon.
The History section has been added since our review started. Currently videos cover both WWII and The Cold War.
The second half of the Family Media Library is a collection of Music and Fine Arts. Our music appreciation already included a huge variety of styles, but it expanded even more with these selections. From traditional classical selections we were able to find old favorites. They even have a few jazz musicians to choose from. Most relevant to our studies, though, were the songs from other cultures.
The fine arts part of it is a combination of four different artist's works displayed accompanied by four different musicians. Orchestra! hear the book is based on a book that was one of our family favorites when the kids were younger. It was fun to see with the video.
The Reading and Learning Center includes ebooks, sign language instruction, singing and even interactive games.
More and more keeps showing up on this website, and messages are shared of even more coming soon. There is a video in this online library to complement almost everything that we study. Though what we received is specifically the Smartkidz Media Library for Homeschoolers, I think any family could find something they enjoy watching in these videos.