Online Homeschool Mixed Media Library (Review)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My children love watching documentaries.  It is something I encourage as I know the educational benefits learning this way holds for them. That is why we were so excited to be able to review the SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers by SmartKidz Media.  Not only does this online library contain many documentaries on numerous topics, but it also contains many other resources that are relevant to the whole homeschooling family!

SmartKidz Media Review

SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers is an online collection of documentaries, ebooks, music & other media formats which stream over the Internet.  It is an amazing resource that everyone can glean from and it is continuing to grow with new collections being regularly added! We received a full year subscription which gave us access to all areas of the Media Library.
 SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers  provides a myriad of  media resources under two main sections: Family Media and the Reading & Learning Center.  This content is then grouped into a total of 10 different learning categories:

Family Media:

1. World of Discovery: This section contains over 100 documentaries.  The topics presented here vary widely.  They are separated into collections under the titles: Animals & Wildlife (5 different collections), Documentaries & Culture (3 collections) , Health & Fitness (this includes videos for both adults & children), Lifestyle & Cuisine, History (3 collections), Travel & Adventure (2 collections) & Science.  There is also a collection under Action Sports which is coming soon. This is eagerly anticipated in our household! Each collection contains from 5 to 9 documentaries on different subjects within the topic.  These are well presented, professionally produced documentaries. 
This is the section of the Media Library that our family used the most.  My children watched many of the documentaries presented.  We really enjoyed being able to choose & access the documentaries so easily. I also appreciated that they were presented in a safe learning environment, without the ads which are so prevalent in other sections of the Internet.   The documentaries we watched all had a high quality of content and were well produced.  I was also able to add some documentaries into our homeschool schedule to compliment what we were currently learning.  We also used some of the fitness videos.  This was fun as I love to do fitness classes in my own home.  It was an excellent rainy-day activity to get the children moving!  

Note: Some of the documentaries, while excellent, were not from a Biblical World view. This was not an issue for us as our children are old enough to understand why we believe our viewpoint, but it is worth mentioning.

2. Music and Fine Arts: This contains 8 different collections of music albums.  They cover a range of genre including Jazz & Blues, Classical and Cultural Music. There is also a selection of "Armchair" tours of the works of famous artists.  As with any album, you may choose to play a specific song or the whole album.

I listened to some of the Jazz & Blues albums which I thoroughly enjoyed ( I especially like Jazz).  I was interested in what the cultural music of Australia was as I hadn't heard any of the songs listed.  It ended up being a collection of Indigenous Australian songs played on the didgeridoo. 
 I look forward to sharing the artists' armchair tours with my children next term as part of our art studies.

Reading & Learning Center:

3. Mighty Ebook Collection: This is a veritable collection of ebooks for children of various ages.  They provide fantastic entertainment for toddlers & are a fabulous educational resource for older children!  Each ebook is animated and read aloud so they are perfect for the non-reader. They also have the words highlighting as it is read, so the early reader can easily follow along.  The ebooks are separated into subject groups including a section on Reading Readiness, Classics, Science & Bible Stories.  There are also sections which are for specific ages (such as 2-4 years) and this is helpful for children of those ages. 

While my own children were a little old for most of these books, the foster children we had during this time enjoyed the stories!

4. Baby Signs Program:  This presents a baby sign language program including an instructional video for parents as well as teaching videos for the baby.  It also includes a collection specifically on potty training.  

5. My Animal Family Program: This program includes video storybooks about a specific type of animal. These videos contain some  fantastic footage of that specific animal type.  There is also videos of  story songs which compliment the video storybooks.  Each song is about the animals presented in the storybook.  Also included is videos of fun fact about the specific animal in each story.  All three resources used together are a fantastic way for young children to learn about that particular animal type.

6. Quick Find Study Guides: This section contains many study guides covering various topics within the educational subjects of Language Arts, Maths, Science and Social Studies.  There are also more topics to come.  
The content of these guides remind me of an encyclopaedia as they contain many definitions.  They are easy to use & are a helpful resource for homeschoolers. 

7. Easy Learning for Special Needs: This is a section specifically devoted to helping those students who have special learning needs.  This section contains many animated ebooks on a large variety of topics.  These also come with a complimentary lesson plan as well as various activity sheets including vocabulary words that can be included within the lesson.  Each book is presented in two formats: for the student to listen as the book is read and also as an interactive book.  

8. Living Skills Program: This section is coming soon, but will contain many songs relating to responsibilities, behaviours and other areas of life that are relevant to children of various ages.

9.Ready Set Sing: This section contains albums of over 200 songs which are especially appealing for children.  There are a variety of songs presented including a large collection of basic karaoke songs for the whole family to enjoy!

10. Fun Zone: This contains a selection of games, puzzles & jokes, limericks and riddles. These activities appeal to a range of stages & various educational levels. 

My boys especially loved this section of the program.  The jokes, limerick and riddles section was especially popular!  

The SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers is a wonderful resource for any homeschool.  It provides hours of educational material which will enhance your homeschool lessons.  As it is streamed over the Internet, it can be used on any device with an Internet connection. This resource has been surprisingly useful in our homeschool & we will continue to utilise it's amazing content!

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SmartKidz Media Review

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