Thursday, June 25, 2015

Check Out This Flexible, Fabulous (and Vetted!) Library Collection of Streaming Media {A SmartKidz Media Review}

There are times in life -- especially in homeschooling life -- when you want something engaging, educational and independent for your children to enjoy.  That is just what SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers by SmartKidz Media has been for us!  We received a full year's subscription to this pre-vetted, online streaming digital media library in exchange for an honest review.  It sure has been a blessing for us so far!

Why We Chose SmartKidz Media

Between my husband's sometimes odd work schedule, my own work hours as a tutor, the need for our house to get some much needed attention and a desire to have occasional chill time, there are moments in our family's lives when I simply seek something that all three of our children can enjoy quietly without the need for me being right next to them.   Since we do not have television services, nor own any handheld devices, and since we keep tabs on computer-use, when my children are set free with screen time, it is a big deal for them.  Thus, often, when I seek relatively still, quiet, yet engaged activities for the kiddoes, screentime comes into play. 

I prefer the children's screentime to have value beyond just "babysitting" or brain candy.  So, I was excited when we were given a chance to review the SmartKidz Media Library for HomeschoolersIt includes a huge array of online streaming digital media offerings under such headings as:

  • Animals & Wildlife Collections
  • Documentaries & Culture Collections
  • Health & Fitness
  • History Titles
  • Lifestyles & Cuisine
  • Science
  • Travel & Adventure: World Wide Discovery Collections
  • Cooking Instruction
  • Classical Music Collections
  • Cultural Music Collections
  • Cultural Music: Vol 2
  • Jazz and Blues Classics Collections
  • Relaxation Music Collections
  • Mighty E-Book Collection
  • Sign Language Collection
  • Special Needs Learning
  • Living Skills
  • Singing
  • Fun Zone

In short, the SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers
is an ever-growing library of on-demand, streaming media that can inspire or enhance learning endeavors and can be used on almost any multi-media device (computers, tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices) that are capable of runnng Flash version 10.2 or higher.

SmartKidz Media:A Perfect Fit for Us for Now and for the Coming Academic Year

When we received our log-in information for SmartKidz Media, logging in was a breeze. I gained access to the media collection within minutes and began browsing it to see all it had to offer - videos, study guides and more!

I was delighted to see the music and fine art selections, which I previewed and intend to use in the fall when we begin a new Art-Music-Poetry study with a friend.  There are lovely audio selections from classic composers and beautiful visual montages of the works of famous artists.

I was also happy to see the quick-find study guides, which are jam-packed with facts,examples and helps on a huge variety of academic subjects.  I am recommending
SmartKidz Media
to a tutoring student of mine that I think will enjoy it as a whole, and, in particular, find this section helpful.  I also am planning to direct my oldest to this section of the collection more in the fall when we refocus on traditional, subject-based learning skills.

When the weather cools again, I think the family fitness videos will be fun to check out, too!

But, enough about what I have plans for doing in the future,  What about what we have been doing now?
I thought as I continued browsing the site.  Might there be information connecting to turtles, whales, rocketry or any of the other topics we've been enjoying field trips and experiential learning with?  It was not as easy as I had hoped to find this out.  On the site, I could find no easy search box for topics included within the collection nor could I find any material on, say, turtles, while navigating through the different sections of the site.  I did, however, find navigation easy.  On the site, there is an organized header index strip as well as many click-through images to make navigation a breeze.  In fact, it was these things that ended my introduction to SmartKidz Media and began my children's forays into it!  

When my children saw me clicking around the different SmartKidz Media sections, they wanted a go at things. and, well, since then, I admit, my kids have used SmartKidz Media without me more than they have with me.  To me, this  is a win! 

I just love how
SmartKidz Media offers me a chance to concentrate on other things, happily satisfied that my children are safely engaged in enjoyable, entertaining learning of their choice that they an seek and use independently!

I also am thrilled with what my children have to say about SmartKidz MediaLuke, nine, just told me:

I really liked their Mysteries from Ancient Times and Nature's Treasures videos...
 I liked their subjects like Egypt, Easter Island, Mayans, the Incans and, I especially liked how they began the first video with Atlantis.  I think it was the perfect thing to start with.  It's a mystery that leads interest into all the other mysteries...
From the Nature's Treasure videos, I really liked the way they explained everything.  For example, how copper and tin create bronze.  I chose these videos first because of the pictures that they showed.  They looked cool.    When I clicked on them, they were cool!  I really wish they would put up ones about lesser-known gems, too. 
I also liked their Animal family videos.  they showed how it would be to be a baby of something, like a baby lion, a baby elephant and a baby polar bear.  I'd like to be a baby lion the most, because it seems the easiest.  They don't have to tunnel for the winter to hibernate.  They don't have to go get their food like some other animals do.  Their dad's are lazy and their moms get their food. 

They have videos about wars, but I wish they had ones about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.  I am excited that they are adding more media and hope they will add these!

There is SO MUCH there, it is hard to believe.  It would be good to have a type in thing where you type in and it finds what you want so you don't have to browse.  I wish my mom would let me use it even more than she does.  I would check out the war videos next!

Nina, eight, said:

I like the animal shows, like the dolphin.  (I picked it) because the dolphins looked so cute.  I learned that dolphins catch fish by driving them into the shallows near the land and then the fish jumped up on the land and the dolphins went onto the land and ate the fish.  Just one or two minutes... (We watched ones about) diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, pearls... Mom, right now, you are hitting gold.  Whenever you press a key, you are hitting gold.  Because gold is in the computer... It does not rust easily... (I want to to use it more) to check out more videos!

Her comment makes me smile as I recall bedtime chats and conversations in our mini-van that started with, "Mom, you know what...?" and continued with the children explaining facts that they'd learned while using
SmartKidz Media.  I also was amused when they would be chatting away with each other and I'd asked them where they'd heard about the things they were talking about.  SmartKidz Media!

I so appreciate anything that feeds my children's appetite for discovery and makes them bubble with smiles and energy as they discuss new ideas.  Even my youngest, Jack, four, does this with
SmartKidz Media.  For example, he has told me:

I liked elephants.  It showed elephants and said African and Asian.  They were eating, being in water...  I watched one that was showing a rhino... I want to watch more that we haven't seen!

Without question, my children will be watching more  SmartKidz Media (and I will, too!)  There is just so much there to explore out of sheer curiosity as well as with connection to the children's self-directed learning and to topics I have slated for them to enjoy during independent studies, family learning and learning projects with friends. Having used SmartKidz Media since mid-May so far, we have only scratched the surface of what is already available in the collection, and there more is being added all the time.  I am delighted that we'll have access for a full year to it all. 

With the exception of the lack of an easy topical search box, t
he SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers has proven a perfect fit for our home education style, so far!  I think it could prove equally as beneficial to others, not matter what your style is:  structured, delight-directed, unschoolish, parent-directed, homeschoolers, afterschoolers, you name it.  There is so much there and the way it is presented offers complete flexibility to meet your needs.

Learn More

SmartKidz Media Review

SmartKidz Media Review

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