Home School Video Curriculum

by Linda Wakefield Kelley

Our family used a home school video curriculum for most of our home schooling years. I liked to call our choice “A Beka Plus.” We used A Beka on DVD as our basic package. Then I added educational goodies to upgrade the educational experience to a “premium” level of study.

Firing up his personal notebook, Scott readies
himself for his home school day.

Why did we choose a video-based curriculum?

  • The video curriculum freed up some mom time. The video teacher covered the basics. I added the fun by using lots and lots of supplemental games, kits, labs, units, field trips, educational videos, etc. to enrich the experience.
  • There is a five-year gap between Sean (the oldest) and Sarah (the youngest). The video curriculum allowed me to easily cover every age group in our household.

  • In addition Sean, Scott, and Sarah had different learning styles and interests. This is where the "plus" became a factor. I would use units and other materials to supplement the videos. For example, when we wanted to study a different aspect of science A Beka didn’t cover, I’d hunt for just the right unit. Or, I’d create my own--complete with library books, educational videos, field trips, and experiments.
  • The video curriculum allowed me to utilize experts in various fields where I'm not an expert (such as foreign language). See the Home School Spanish page for more discussion on this point.
  • The home school video curriculum provided flexibility. When we were homeschooling we took a lot of road trips because two of the children were involved in competitive sports. If we were gone longer than a weekend, we packed books, DVDs, and laptops to keep on track with school.

Additional Factors that Must be Considered

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Video is not new to the world. Most homes have multiple devices capable of playing a DVD or CD (which is how most video curriculum is sold these days, VHS tapes being the dinosaur technology). If you have a DVD player and TV at home to run your curriculum on . . . Great! Still, you might also want to consider a device that can be used when you're on the road, whether it's vacation time or simply running errands.

For an apparatus to play the dvd on, I suggest purchasing an iPad, Kindle Fire, MacBook or other notebook.

You could also use a portable DVD Player or even a standard DVD Player which you probably already have connected to your TV.

Buying one of these devices isn't really expensive when you compare it to the cost of private school tuition for one year (about $7,000 - $10,000, or more). Actually, you could probably get one for every member of your family, including the dog and cat, for that amount of money. Plus, the flexibility of being able to take your home school on the road cannot be over-emphasized!!

There has been an explosion of video curriculum opportunities since I started down the home school trail. Perhaps viewing our favorites will get you started in thinking about a home school video curriculum.

My Top 5 Picks in the Video Curriculum category

1. Foundations of Character History Curriculum

The Foundations of Character Homeschool Curriculum Kit (Drive Thru History America) is a wonderful DVD-based program that was developed by David Barton and emphasizes the Christian foundation America was built upon. We had the pleasure of hearing David speak when we were homeschooling. His command of history and his ability to relate it in understandable terms was truly inspiring. The same can be said for this curriculum.

2. BJU Press Homeschool Curriculum

At one point I came very close to switching to this program. I loved how the home school video curriculum classes were presented. BJU has specifically designed their program for the visual medium. This is not just a camera in a static classroom. It’s very creative. I just couldn’t handle the time involved in taping classes from a satellite feed. Now, however, BJU’s curriculum is available on DVD making this video program an extremely appealing prospect. For more information on this home school video curriculum, check out their web site at BJU Press.

3. Standard Deviants (Cerebellum)

This company offers a number of excellent videos by subject including Chemistry, Statistics, and English Grammar. You can check out other options at amazon.com.

4. Switched on Schoolhouse (SOS)

SOS is technically not a DVD curriculum. It's computer-based meaning it's delivered on a CD-Rom. It's not just video viewing but is more interactive in nature. Several of my good friends have used the SOS curriculum and absolutely swear by it! You can order an entire grade (which includes the five core subjects of Language Arts, Bible, Math, Science, and History. It's available for grades 3-12.

5. Chalk Dust Company

Math Videos are provided by this company. There are elementary programs as well as advanced math (for junior high and high school) videos available. One advantage offered by the Chalk Dust Company is technical support directly from the video teacher if you need it.

› Video Curriculum

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