Disclosure: I received a free subscription to Curiosity Stream. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are honest and my own. I was not required to post a positive review.
Using Video to Homeschool Struggling Learners
One of my children is a struggling learner, and I quickly learned that presenting abstract concepts to her in traditional ways, with textbooks, worksheets, and workbooks, does not work. Through observation and testing, I have learned that she relies heavily on visual input and learns best when I make ideas as concrete as possible. One way I have found to address this need is to use videos in our homeschool.
How We Use Videos in Our Homeschool
Video works particularly well for us in science and social studies. We supplement our curriculum and more traditional resources with:
Historical fiction. Watching movies set in a time period we’ve been studying brings the past to life. It’s also a good exercise in critical thinking as we identify things in the movie that are both historically accurate and inaccurate and discuss how they could have made the film more true to the era.
Documentaries. We enjoy watching nonfiction videos or documentaries about both science and social studies topics. Seeing the images and hearing the accompanying narrative helps my daughter to understand concepts better than simply reading about them. Documentaries also help her understand the thought processes behind the topics being discussed. They do a great job of narrating the activities surrounding archaeological finds, the scientific method, and how historians put together facts to discover what happened.
Movies. Even movies that aren’t overtly educational have a place in our homeschool. They give us opportunities to discuss social skills, character traits, and how filmmakers are storytellers who create moods, action, and entire worlds much like writers do.
Video Resources in Our Homeschool
Our favorite resources for video are online services:
YouTube. Not long ago we watched a full-length documentary about the world’s largest cave on YouTube. It’s a rarity for us to watch something that long on YouTube, but it’s proof that YouTube is good for more than cat videos. We find shorter videos there to illustrate concepts as well and have used YouTube to learn to crochet and knit too (both great for fine motor skills).
Netflix. We have had a streaming Netflix subscription for years. I look through the “Recently Added” list often and add videos of interest to our queue so I can easily find them later. That gives me a good source of time periods, topics, and concepts to choose from when we need to add some video learning to our day.
CuriosityStream. Our newest streaming subscription service (and yes, I plan to buy a subscription when our free one is over) is CuriosityStream. It is the world’s first ad-free, on-demand streaming service for quality programs that educate, inspire and entertain. CuriosityStream delivers over 1,000 titles of high-quality documentaries and series created by the most accomplished producers from around the world, whenever and wherever you want to watch.
CuriosityStream has given us a world of new science videos to choose from. It has shows I’ve never seen anywhere else, and there are series that are specifically for kids! My children have especially enjoyed Quarx and Mind Blowing Breakthroughs, and I have been impressed by them too. CuriosityStream has done an amazing job of finding shows that explain science concepts in ways that are easy to understand and engaging. There’s something there for everyone – from elementary students through adults. Curiosity Stream has been a tremendous asset to our homeschool video library, and I’m looking forward to using it for a long time to come!
If you’re interested in CuriosityStream, I have good news! They are offering my readers a discount for a limited time. To get the discount:
First month free plus 15% off next two months with code homeschool. Expires 11-1-2015.
Discount valid on either plan:
- Standard Definition (regularly $2.99) will be reduced to $2.50 each month for two months after the free trial month (total charge $5).
- High Definition (regularly $5.99) will be reduced to $5.09 each month for two months after the free trial month (total charge $10.18).
To sign up:
New users need to head to curiositystream.com and click on the “Start your free month” button.
On the next page, select preferred plan (SD or HD), input email information, and create a username and password.
Once that is complete they will be prompted to input the payment information and will get the option to fill in a promo code box. With code homeschool, the 15% discount will be automatically applied.
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