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Netflix curriculum

I don't actually advocate using television as a basis for curriculum, but I have found several ways that it can tie in marvelously to something we are already learning.

We only have streaming internet for TV, or local TV on a very small television. Mainly we watch things on Netflix. I've been pleasantly surprised to find content that fits with things we are studying in homeschool.

America: The Story of Us has a lot of useful content. Lucy read a short book about the Statue of Liberty a few weeks ago and wanted to know more, so we watched the episode that covered that. And more recently, we read a book about Thanksgiving, and then watched part of the first episode, "Rebels," which portrays the arrival of the Pilgrims. This show is entertaining enough to hold their (and my) attention, but also gives a lot of information, and does it in a way that is less static and abstract than what is found in most texts.

We've also found some science information from Netflix's offerings. Shark Week, for example, is informative yet entertaining at the same time. There are various National Geographic shows - the FBI, the Appalachian Trail, national parks, tigers/bears/crocodiles/etc, tornadoes... pretty much any topic you can think of, there is a National Geographic special on Netflix about it!

Sometimes we do supplement with DVDs from the public library. We especially like to do this with biographies. There are a couple of different series of DVDs about famous historical figures, animated or otherwise made appealing to children. My kids' favorite is Helen Keller, though they've also enjoyed Abraham Lincoln and Jonas Salk.

Any time we watch something on the television to go along with something we are learning, I like to make sure we've covered in non-TV ways first. We usually read about it, and often I will give them worksheets, coloring sheets, or even just plain paper to draw on as I read aloud to them. Sometimes we build something or make a small model to go along with it, or do a craft of some sort (I'm not a huge craft fan, but I realize they do have their place). Then, after we've studied it a bit, we'll watch something about it. Watching a TV show or movie also lets David keep up with what we're learning, because much of the time we'll wait until an evening when he's home to watch it along with us.

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