Do You Use YouTube To Homeschool?
Some families have the no-or-limit screen policy, some use screens just for school or just for fun. We use screens for learning and fun in the format of YouTube videos. But, I do limit their use including days with no screens at all: no tv, no video or phone games, no iPad, no computer. Sometimes, all of us need a break from technology in order to reconnect with the Earth and ourselves.
With that being said, I have found tablets to be a wonderful addition to our homeschooling routine. When we learn about geography or animals or historical landmarks, few resources can grab my child’s attention in an interactive way. We use the iPad for our Splashmath app (more on that in another blog post) and for our Mystery Science lessons. Technology can be very engaging for children and help them follow along and remember what they’ve seen and heard. YouTube can facilitate what a written curriculum may be lacking, or provide a wonderful addition of another means of learning.
We use kid’s YouTube for certain unit studies like science and history. We watch videos on the different states for State Studies and watch animals in action when learning about nature. I was recently surprised by the fact that my friends hadn’t heard of the channels we watch and didn’t know the benefits of the information that lies within. So, I thought I’d make a blog post to share the specific kids YouTube channels we watch in hopes that it will help other homeschooling families to branch out and use all resources available to them for a well-rounded home education program:
1) Free School- They cover science, animals, and historical figures. Averaging 2 minutes to 5 minutes, their videos are short enough to use as a starting point to branch off onto a certain topic. I like to build a mini-lesson around the topic by use printables, books and manipulatives in concordance with the videos.
2) Socratics- This channel has short 2 1/2 minute video overviews on the history of states. They are simple, concise and are loaded with quick facts to introduce you to geography and American culture. Unfortunately, they stopped short and last I checked they only had videos on about half of the U.S. states. But, they were well worth the watch and we came back to them many times for a refresher.
3) National Geographic Kids- These are a series of 3 minute songs that tell quick facts about all 50 states. You are brought along your journey by your tour guide: Barry The Bald Eagle, while he does a little state rap. My youngest enjoyed these (but they could be a little cheesy for older kids.) Either way, we always learned something!
4) Peekaboo Kidz- The Dr. Binocs Show features informative animated shorts on science and nature. The videos are usually about 4 minutes long and their catalog will keep you busy for weeks!
5) SciShow Kids- This channel features a peppy female scientist who is always excited to tell you everything about science! A mix of real world and animated clips keep the children interested and eager to learn more. The narrator challenges you to think, observe and try out experiments at home!
6) Kids Learning Tube- These are a collection of animated videos that help kids memorize information to the tune of a song. These are geared toward younger kids and cover a wide expanse of topics such as: space, counting, geography, anatomy and more. It’s been over 2 years since we discovered their channel and my kids still sing their songs when we’re out and about (I especially love their vegetables song.)
7) Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel- Another song and dance video collection that helps get moving! Jack is amazing and sings about animals, numbers, money, grammar, and even American Sign Language. I found this a wonderful tool to use with my son when he was taking an American Sign Language class through our co op.
8) Liberty’s Kids- This channel is all about American history and the days of old. They are full length (23 minutes) animated cartoons based on historical figures and events. My kids have learned a wealth of information about Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution and colonies through their engaging show.
9) Brave Wildnerness- Coyote Peterson and his Brave Wilderness team are always traveling to new locations around the world to get us ‘up close and personal’ with some really amazing animals. Coyote is my son’s hero and he may very well grow up to be a naturalist because of this channel’s influence alone. The Brave Wilderness team is something like the next Steve Irwin in that they film and observe animals in their natural habitat teaching you loads about the natural world all along the way.
10) Kids Korner- This channel is aimed toward the youngest kids. They have alphabet videos with a phonics flair based on popular TV shows and movies, as well as learning colors and shapes. There’s even a cute Play Doh video on how to make a sheep! They are newer so their content is limited, but they are growing fast!
I hope you check some of these YouTubers out! Let me know which ones were your favorite and leave a comment below if you have more suggestions for educational channels I didn’t cover in this blog post!