The Homeschool List: Educational TV Shows

Educational TV Shows3

Recently I realized, my kids watch a lot of TV. I mean, a lot of it.  When did I lose control!?

The upside of it, they are learning a ton from it. It’s not uncommon for them to spout off some random fact and I have to ask them where they learned that. Almost always, it’s from one of the TV show’s their watching.


However, due to the complaints coming from them more frequently about being bored and wanting to just watch TV, we’re now implementing some new rules.

Only educational TV shows and documentaries before 3pm everyday.

That gives us plenty of time to get the daily lessons out of the way and allows for them to watch a show or two related to whatever they’re learning.  After that, it’s an hour or less until my husband gets home, so they’re off helping him with his daily chores such as the gardening and walking the dog. This keeps them busy until dinner, then family time and reading time, and just maybe time for just one more short non-educational show.

It’s amazing. Once I put this rule into play, I received no complaints. Just the opposite. They are excited to watch the approved shows and even seek out new topics for documentaries.

Here is a list of just some of the shows the kids watch during their educational TV time. Some are your run of the mill PBS type shows, but I have some fun documentaries in there too, great for the whole family! All of the titles in this list can be found on Netflix (as of June 2014, they do change their line up occasionally)

          •  Curious George
          • Super Why
          • Dinosaur Train
          • Leap Frog movies
          • Barney (sorry, they do learn some songs and social skills)
          • Walking with Dinosaurs
          • Dinosaurs Alive!
          • School House Rocks
          • The Magic School Bus
          • Walking with Beasts
          • Anything NOVA
          • Anything National Geographic
          • Blue Planet: Natural History of the Ocean
          • Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia
          • Jeff Corwin
          • The Wild Kratts
          • Turtle: The Incredible Journey
          • Wild Ocean
          • Discover Planet Ocean
          • Wild China
          • The Greatest Places
          • The Planets
          • David Attenborough: Wildlife Specials
          • African Wild
          • TED Talks (any of them, though these are better for the older kids)
          • The Crimson Wing
          • Ballerina
          • Several classic books in movie form, though we save these until we’re actually reading the book so we can compare/contrast)
          • Word Girl
          • Beakman’s World
          • Scholastic Storybook Treasures
          • How it’s Made
          • Wings of Life
          • Discovery Channel documentaries
          • Pompeii: Back from the Dead

There are a lot more options besides this list. But it goes to show you that TV can be a useful tool in learning.  Just so you know, we do discuss the show’s they’re watching. We have discussions about them to highlight the important information and find out what the kids are retaining from them. Sometimes we draw pictures about them, sometimes we’ll do a craft related to them, so it’s not just TV all hours of the day.

Often the girls request I put in their Rock-N-Learn Sight Words video for some reading practice.

What are the TV rules in your household? Time limits? Schedule? Tell me in the comments.

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