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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: SmartKidz Media (TOS Review)

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For this review we got to try out SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers by SmartKidz Media

SmartKidz Media is an online digital media resource that can prove quite useful for homeschoolers.  There is a wide variety of materials available, ranging from educational shows in a wide variety of topics – wildlife, history, culture, science, health and art; in streaming visual or audio forms.  There are also ebooks, sign language for babies, and study guides in a wide variety of subjects.  Several other areas are coming soon – such as Living skills.   Also available are online games and karaoke! 

We used mostly the visual streaming – we watched several animal documentaries (my kids are huge animal fans), I also used some of the baby sign language videos with my toddler. 

I personal checked out the other areas to just see what they entailed.  There is a large variety of items here to use.

Screenshot 2015-06-23 22.12.12

Each category consists of the following:

World of Discovery – 17 sets of video streaming encompassing 8 topics.  Animals & Wildlife, Action Sports, Documentaries & Culture, Health & Fitness, History, Lifestyles & Cuisine, Science, Travel & Adventure.  I suggest viewing these before showing your kids to make sure you find them appropriate, while there is nothing bad, there is some culturally related nudity and some language may be deemed inappropriate by some.  May be more appropriate for older children. Many videos in this section average about 25-30mins.  They cover more mature topics such as WWII and The Cold War.   We watched mostly from the Animals & Wildlife Collections.  Not all topics are currently available, many are ‘coming soon’ and several became available just recently.

Screenshot 2015-06-23 10.48.22 

Music & Fine Arts – Consists of audio streaming in the categories of Classical Music, Cultural Music, Jazz & Blues Classics and Relaxation Music. 

Mighty Ebook Collection – has a wide variety of flash animated ebooks encompassing a wide range of ages (from toddler to age8) and topics, including classics.  It also includes some sing-along-songs.

Screenshot 2015-06-23 10.48.50

Baby Signs Program – includes several baby signing videos as well as potty training videos.  I have a 20month old, these videos did not really hold her interest.  But every child is different, so you never know.  We do sign with her, so she is familiar with signing. 

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My Animal Family – consists of several shorter clip animal based videos told from the perspective of the animal (first person).  The longest one is about 15mins…some are as short as 2-3mins (most of these are story songs).  These are great for the younger kids with shorter attention spans.  They are educational, but short and fun!  Another favorite with my kids!

Quick Find & Study Guides – this is sort of an online reference guide/dictionary.  It covers all the ‘what is – “ of a variety of subjects, to include Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Accounting and Foreign Language.  This is not streaming, just reading what’s written after clicking on a term.  We did not really use this section.  I could see it being useful for children older than my own who are studying certain topics or reviewing topics they have previously studied.

Special Needs – this section has several interactive and read aloud books with a wide variety of themes to include Everyday Life, Going Places, Holiday and Celebrations, Arts and Science, Basic Language, Sing Along Story Songs.  Many of the interactive sections are also printable books! 

Living Skills Program – Coming Soon!  This looks like it will be a neat section, looking forward to it’s launch!

Ready, Set, Sing – Kids Karaoke and other sing along songs sorted by age groups!  Fun for family activities or play dates! 

Fun Zone – consists of games, jokes and puzzles!

All of these activities can be used on a wide variety of devices.  We used our PC and also chrome casted to our TV.  I wish there was an app that made it easier to get to the program instead of using a browser….but, using the browser is not difficult.  The streaming is clear, crisp, and of high quality.  I was finally able to get it up on my smart TV as well (I was having issues with my browser, was nothing to do with the program).  It works great all 3 ways we tried!

There really is a wide variety of materials available to supplement any homeschool program for all ages!  Music, Art, Geography, PE, Science, Math, History, Reading and more!  These can easily be added into curriculums, or you could build your studies around them.  A great place to jump off of for interest led learning as well. 

We used this more of just a fun activity to do for afternoon downtime.  It was a great way to provide educational opportunities during quiet times.  We didn’t build our curriculum around it or the other way around.  I just let my kids pick what they wanted to watch.  In the future I plan to pick shows that complement what we are learning about.

You can receive a 14 day free trial to try it out for yourself.  Afterwards it’s only $10 a month or $99 for a year!

SmartKidz Media Review
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smartkidzhomeschool
Twitter: https://twitter.com/smartkidzmedia

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