October 28, 2009

Educational movies we love

I use videos in my home for several reasons.  First, one of my sons learns amazingly well by watching a video.  Second, some days I just need to catch up on laundry or people will be naked and a video teaches while I wash.  Third, I can't practically show them some of the things they can see on a video.  I have no jungle animals or historically recreated villages in my living room (darn it).  And fourth, they're fun.

I'm fairly selective about what they watch, however.  We don't even have TV.  Well, we have a TV but it's only hooked up to the DVD player.  These are the movies that pass muster in my home, and that they watch over and over and over again. In no particular order....

1.  The Leap Frog videos.  I especially love Letter Factory and Talking Words Factory.

2. Word World. A fun, simple way to learn how letters come together to make words.

3. Super Why. Who wouldn't love a super hero who teaches you to read? There are currently only two discs out now. Who do I talk to about that?

4. Between the Lions. Three out of my four kids adore these and will sit and watch them still at 9. My youngest, now 3, runs screaming from the room when we turn them on. One of our libraries had the whole set; it was heaven. I have not seen a library since so well stocked.

5. The Best of Beakman's World - My younger sister watched this when she was little. Oh, how things don't change.

6. Bill Nye the Science Guy, with a caveat. He does have some evolution in a few of his videos. We've really hammered this topic here so the boys don't get confused, but be aware that it is present. That being said, Bill does a fantastic job showing, and explaining, a variety of really cool science topics. My kids want to be him when they grow up.

7. Popular Mechanics for Kids - I love to watch these with the kids; they are funny and we learn a ton.

8. Liberty's Kids - we're studying American history right now so I bought this for them to watch 'whenever'. They've watched the whole series 5 or 6 times already FOR FUN. They are always telling me interesting things about what we are studying and saying, "I learned it on Liberty's Kids."

9. Magic School Bus - all four kids love these. Sometimes it gets a little heavy-handed with saving the world, but mostly it's just fun science.

10. Mathtacular - It's math. And it's spectacular. And yes, my kids pull it off the shelves to watch "just because it's funny and we learn a lot." We have the first 2 volumes which cover most of the basic elementary math concepts. There's a third I need to get still. The best price is at Sonlight.

11. Reading Rainbow. And yes, I sang the song while I typed it. They have so many neat episodes and such a wide variety. Make sure you watch all the bonus features too.

12. Meet the Sight Words. I bought one on a whim then went back for the others when my kids begged for more. They are basically animated flash cards but my two youngest love them. And now they can read those sight words. The 3-yr-old is thrilled to be able to recognize words in the books we read and I have to make sure I pause so he can read them all by himself.

I'm not a big fan of the Eyewitness movies. They work evolution into just about everything, like weather. Huh? And National Geographic for Kids has some good ones, but enough bad that I'm not entirely comfortable with them.

I don't have a problem with most things by Schlessinger Media. We especially enjoyed the Ancient Civilizations for Children series and what we've seen of the Science for Children series, we've liked. Libraries seem to carry a lot of their videos; I wish our current library did...

While I don't like the TV to babysit my children, it does have a place in our home and in our homeschool.  What educational movies do your kids love?


  1. We use movies, occasionally, also. For the same reasons you mentioned in your post - most of the time! We use some of the same ones you mentioned, and some I hadn't thought about in a long time! We also use the NEST Entertainment videos, and a series of videos titled "There goes a ______" (firetruck, spaceship, race car, police car, etc.). These are the ones I can think of right now.

    I'm enjoying your blog a lot! One of my friends pointed me here today, and I've spent some time reading here. I've been very encouraged. Thank you!
    The Charlotte Mason Girl

  2. We love Magic School Bus and The Liberty Kids. We recently studied the American Revolution and watched the whole series from Netflix. We were sorry to see it end.

  3. Thank you, Sue and Diane for your kind comments. I forgot about the NEST videos. My boys love those too!