Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review of SmartKidz Media

SmartKidz Media Review

One of the absolute best things about being able to review products is finding things that I would never have otherwise heard about. Hopefully, that's one of the benefits to your reading my blog, too. SmartKidz Media is one of those companies that I don't think I would have found on my own. Thanks to their awesome free trial, had I found it, I would have been able to subscribe to their SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers, but I'm so happy that I don't have to speculate about whether or not that fortuitous meeting would ever have occurred. The Crew and SmartKidz Media brought the opportunity right to my (to our!) door.

SmartKidz Media is digital media for homeschoolers. They have an unbelievably diverse selection of resources with something to suit everyone's taste. The media can be played on just about any device you have in your home (with a couple of exceptions). You can stream on your computer (PC or Mac), your Internet-capable TV (or hook up your computer to your TV with an HDMI cable), your Roku, your phone, or your tablet (including your iDevices - with the exception that the eBooks don't work on iDevices because of Flash issues).  If you have high-speed Internet, you can use SmartKidz Media!

Why would you want to? How about

SmartKidz Media has eBooks, jigsaw puzzles, Study Guides (I *love* these), and all kinds of videos. Check out all of these categories:

Within each category, there are subcategories. For example, in World of Discovery, you have Animals and Wildlife, Ancient Cultures, Mysteries from Ancient Times, Mysteries of Nature, WWII - A Complete History, Science, Cooking, Travel, Fine Arts, Classical Music, and more! Additionally, more content is constantly being added. This category is definitely SmartKidz Media's star. The videos vary in length, but most of the ones we watched were about 25 minutes long. The quality is excellent and the content is so good! We didn't watch/do things in every category, but the things we did watch or look at were all stellar!

What We Did and Loved

As soon as we started our free trial for SmartKidz media (which we did before we even got the review, because it looked just that awesome!), Michael (10) immediately jumped into Nature's Soap Operas. We laughed hysterically all the way through these videos. They are irreverent (our style of humor for sure). Michael was a little shocked that the video used the word "butt," but that was not remotely a problem for us. A seal says "damn." Again, not a problem for us, but I can see where it might be for some people.

When they had exhausted the animal videos, the kids moved on to Ancient Mysteries. They *loved* these. They continually ran to me to tell me all of the things they were learning. For my own part, I have dived headfirst into the Quick Find Study Guides. These are solid gold. I love them. I actually use the Language Arts ones in my own work (creating teacher worksheets for public school teachers). Sometimes I run out of ideas, but looking at these reminds me of rules that I haven't created work for recently. Also, a couple of times I have had a question when editing, and even though I was sure I was right (obviously!), knowing exactly where to go to find all of the answers in one place was really neat (rather than randomly Googling, which I would never let my kids do).

Clearly, there is so much more here that we have not delved into yet, but we're getting there! Some of the material is too young for my kids, but I know that Therese is excited about the Pilates videos, and both girls are going to love the food videos. Personally, I can't wait to get into the WWII videos next year when we get there in school again. Truly, there is something for everyone on this site. Just go browse around for yourself. 

Michael's (10) Assessment

I can't believe it's school. My favorites are the Ancient Mysteries. I learned tons of new stuff, especially about Easter Island and how they basically destroyed their own island. It's one of my favorite school subjects (Laura: Mary-Catherine interjects that she wouldn't count it as a school subject - she'd count it as dessert).

Mary-Catherine's (10) Assessment

I thought it was great. I loved it a lot. At the beginning of the videos, there are always nice facts. If younger kids are going to be watching the animal videos, there should be disclaimers because I can easily picture younger kids crying over them. I got tears in my eyes. (N.B. Mary-Catherine is talking about a specific video where a baby lion is killed and the mother is visibly sad. I didn't watch this with the kids, and this is the first I am hearing about it.) The underwater videos are awesome. 


This is a really neat resource - one of those extras. At first it doesn't seem like you could really be learning when you're having so much fun -- but you are! The great thing about the Crew is that if you're interested in a part of SmartKidz Media that I didn't talk about, be sure to click the banner below, because I promise that someone else undoubtedly did...so go read more reviews!

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SmartKidz Media Review

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