Over the past month, our family has enjoyed exploring the SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers, by SmartKidz Media for a Schoolhouse Review Crew review. The first aspect of the site that we noticed was the large collection of educational videos. The majority of the videos focus on science and nature topics, but there are also shows for history, exercise, fine arts, culture, and cuisine. The site is rapidly expanding and many videos have been added just in the past few weeks. The videos will appeal to a range of ages. While the series we’ve been watching on the Cold War is probably of most interest to teens and adults, many of the nature videos (particularly the Nature’s Soap Opera series, which features funny dialogue added to animal footage) would also be of interest to young elementary-aged students. As with all media, parental supervision is advised. I was a bit surprised at what seemed to be an anti-American bias in the British-produced Cold War series. It is sparking some good discussions between my daughter and me, but I am glad that we are watching it together so that we could discuss the bias. She’s been picking out and viewing nature and science videos on her own, though, according to her interests. Videos are similar to what you would find on some cable TV channels or at the library, but are conveniently collected in one place. Most episodes run about 25 minutes long.
The second media category is music and fine arts, which offers selections of music by classical composers, jazz and blues, and cultural music from around the world. My very favorite section pairs music of a classical composer with the works of a great artist. The paintings cycle through as a slide show as the music plays. What a wonderful way to expose young children to both great art and great music!
But, wait, there is even more! The Reading and Learning Center offers a variety of other educational resources. Most of these are for young children—baby sign videos, e-books for ages 2 to 8, sing-along songs, interactive e-books for special needs children, etc. We didn’t really investigate these areas closely since I don’t have any young children. (Please read other Crew reviews to learn more).
There was one section in the Reading and Learning section that was perfect for Emily—Study Guides! The collection of study guides covers a variety of topics, from punctuation and grammar to high school math, presidents, government, accounting and foreign language. Emily looked through the Geometry guide and found it to be a good resource for keeping track of all those postulates and theorems that she needs to remember. Clicking on any one of the topics brings up the rules about that topic, complete with pictures. Spanish Grammar is still in “coming soon” status, but I anticipate that it will be very useful if it includes verb conjugation charts! Because the spelling study guide teaches spelling rules, with examples, it could used as a refresher for older students, or even as a basis for designing your own spelling program based on your student’s particular needs.
We think that SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers is a very useful resource. It can be used for keeping preschoolers entertained and learning at the same time, to supplement topics from another curriculum, or for wholesome family viewing.