Learning Through TV and Movies

According to Science Daily, only one in eight educational television shows for children are high-quality programs. Those commended for their educational programs are Sesame Street, Beakman's World, Between the Lions, 3-2-1 Penguins, Cyberchase, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, and Teen Kids News. The report notes that most commercial television broadcasters are failing to deliver a minimum of three hours of children's educational programming per week, as required by law. With a bit of research, though, parents can still find informative programs on stations like the Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Learning Channel, NASA, and PBS.

Visit the websites of educational TV stations, and select shows that would be age-appropriate for your children, such as Weird, True, and Freaky Animals; Whale Wars; or Wild Kingdom on Animal Planet. See what will be showing next on Planet Earth, NextWorld, How It's Made, Time Warp, Prototype This, and similar shows on the Discovery Channel. But don't just watch the shows together. Discuss them, research the subject matters further, design and create gadgets or inventions similar to those seen on the shows, create collages of animals and animal facts inspired by shows on the Animal Planet, or build a miniature replica of a battlefield seen on the History Channel. Ask your children for ideas on similar projects. You'll find that their ideas will come faster than you can write them down!

Movie Unit Studies

A unit study developed by Samantha Bryant, of FrugalCountryMom.com, shows how to use movies such as Black Beauty as learning opportunities. From her suggestions, you'll see how to gain knowledge on geography, history, life learning, vocabulary, writing, math, and arts — all from enjoying the movie Black Beauty. This format could be used with any movie you choose to watch with your children. See Samantha's “Movies as Unit Studies” on www.EverythingHomeschooling.com, under the “Unit Studies” category.

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