By Dinah Whitton

Screen time is probably one of the most negotiated commodities for 21st century kids. Families of all sizes and from all walks of life seem to have some kind of system in place to monitor time spent on various devices. And, considering the continuous advancement of technology many parents are embracing the benefits and adding screen time to their curriculum.

For several weeks we have examined various home education methods that included traditional and modern methods for all learning abilities. So today our exploration leads us to DVD or Video Schooling!

Using DVDs or Videos for homeschooling continues to be very popular with new and veteran home educators. Some parents use this method to supplement certain subjects while others use it as their primary curriculum. There are various subjects that are exclusively offered through DVDs or CDs. For example, there are math and writing programs offered through video format to help students with challenging concepts. Students have the ability to pause and rewind where necessary for clarification and eventually mastery. For parents with multiple children, using DVDs or videos can help balance the workload. Older children can benefit from building on their independent learning skills while still having access to their parents for guidance. Utilizing videos can also work well with other home education methods, such as Unit Studies. For many children visuals are an essential aspect to retaining information. For example, watching a video that re-enacts a historical event could help visual learners make the connection with the curriculum. Again, this is another opportunity for parents to find ways to customize their child’s education based on their abilities and needs.

Many families also find this method cost effective by accessing free resources online, borrowing from the Library and by reusing DVDs with multiple children. Keep in mind that DVDs that are being reused are not updated. Keeping kids engaged is also an important part of their education; so, make a note of when the DVD was produced and double check that the information is still relevant. If kids can tune out while watching TV, they’ll most definitely do the same with educational videos. Whether you’re using videos as a supplement, or as the sole curriculum, it’s still important to be involved in your student’s education on a daily basis.

What Homeschool Families Are Saying

Desiree M. and her husband were not happy with how their children were learning in public school. The negative influences that impacted their behaviour also contributed to their decision to homeschool. Now they are in their second year of homeschooling their four children age 14, 12, 7 and 3.

Desiree chose a curriculum that offered a variety of options from preschool to high school. Now that her oldest is in grade 9, Desiree says she chose DVDs to make sure her academic needs are met. “Using DVDs frees my time to teach the other 3 kids who are not using DVDs.” Even though the other children are parent-led and using traditional books, there is a sense of continuity and simplicity even during the ordering process. Desiree also said she specifically chose the DVD option to avoid any challenges with online streaming, “There are no issues with the internet being out and we can take the DVDs on the go with us if we need to.” Desiree also mentioned they only have to make sure the DVDs are well taken care of since there is a charge if the DVDs are not returned in good order.

Desiree recommends using DVDs for homeschooled students that can work independently since there isn’t as much one-on-one time. She still has to ensure quizzes, tests and any other work is completed. However, she also says that some parents may not like how DVDs mirror the classroom setting. “There is a set time for school – teaching as well as homework afterwards,” said Desiree. “I like my kids to have a routine and the DVDs help me with that.”

She’s just over half way into her first year in high school, but Desiree’s 14 year old daughter, Nakai, says she enjoys learning in the comfort of her home. Although, she does admit there are some challenges to overcome, “[It’s challenging] sitting through a subject I don’t particularly like because of their teaching style it can be hard to grasp.” Other than that, she said there are subjects that are enjoyable and they love the teachers as if they were in a physical classroom. “Try it out when they have a free trial…you might like it!” Nakai’s recommendation clearly illustrates she inherited her mother’s keen homeschool sense.

Searching for the right curriculum for your children can seem like a daunting task for many reasons. We all want the best for our children, but we also don’t want to bite off more than we can chew. Whether you’re trying to teach multiple children, need help with teaching certain concepts or the high school years, incorporating videos to your homeschool could make a difference. However, the biggest difference always starts with choosing what’s best for your family.

To learn more about this method and the others that have been explored so far, check out the CCHE Home Education Methods page. New and veteran homeschoolers can both benefit from learning more about various methods as this incredible adventure continues.

So, what do YOU think about incorporating screen time into your homeschool? We love hearing from homeschoolers from all walks of life! Send us an email with your comments, questions and/or suggestions at: info@hslda.ca.

HSLDA: the partner in your homeschool success.

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