Ideas, Support, and Free Resources for homeschoolers, afterschoolers and lovers of learning
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Discovery Education streaming – educational videos and curricula via streaming video!

An increasingly popular resource among homeschoolers is the Discovery Education streaming online subscription, formerly known as united streaming. This educational platform is used in homes and schools around the country to help children learn more through their streaming video selections.

They provide literally thousands of videos that you may view right on your internet-connected computer. Quite a few of their programs include additional lesson plans, worksheets, etc, that can be downloaded and printed out to go along with the videos.

A sampling of the programs we’ve found helpful over the past year:

  • Elementary Spanish – (designed for schools who do not have Spanish speaking language teachers, by the University of Northern Arizona) A complete video course with lesson plans for 50 episodes per grade level, covering all grade levels from 1-8! Each level has a downloadable instructor’s guide, complete with vocabulary lists, activities, bulletin board pin-ups, and worksheets, and the program is designed to be led by teachers who do not know Spanish.
  • Number Crew – This series is from BBC, for ages 5-7, and has about 60 ten minute videos, where puppets on a cruise ship discover and explain a whole range of math concepts through story and song. This could be a fun way to complement any math program, and we even found that many of the episodes cover concepts in ways that complement the special strategies suggested by RightStart Math. (See also the Number Crew website, where the sequence of episodes and what each one covers is explained.) DS has most, but not all, of these episodes available.
  • Magic School Bus – Over 50 episodes of The Magic School Bus can be streamed on demand. My kids love them, and they’ve learned tons of science just from the few books we’ve had and a couple of videos that we found at the library. They are really excited to be able to view any of them that they want.

Those are just a few of the selections I’ve found for younger kids, and they have even more for older children. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of biographies, history, science, math, and other programing. This would be really useful for unit studies, or to supplement living books.

One year of access to Discovery Education streaming retails for $265. The Homeschool Buyers Co-op has offered frequent group buys at a discounted rate, however. As of May 2008, the discounted price was $139, including the $10 processing fee charged by the co-op. This price is slated to increase at an unspecified date in the future.

It is free to join the co-op – just go to and set up an account. Then you can take advantage of any of their group buys that you want. They frequently host special prices on homeschool related curricula and other products such as Dave Ramsey books and seminars, Lego sets, foreign language software, and more.

If you think you might be interested in DS, go ahead and visit the sight to sign up for the 30 day free trial, so you can look around a bit and get a better idea of whether it is something that would be useful for your family. If you like it, I’d go ahead and order soon, in case the rates go up.

Before you order, though, check the co-op faq page to see answers to many of your questions, especially about what is included in the homeschool subscription. The free trial for the Plus subsription provides access all their programming packages that they sell to various school systems. The homeschool subscription includes just the basic package, so if you find something during the trial that you particularly want, view the list of titles here to be sure it will be included in your purchase. Everything listed as K12 is included in the homeschool subscription. The other packages listed are currently only available to school systems who pay extra, although the co-op says that they would like to negotiate a way for homeschoolers to access them as well, for an additional charge.

Also, for residents of Georgia and Alabama, you lucky ducks already have access to DS! Your state PBS affiliates paid for statewide access to this resource, so contact your local PBS station to get more details on how to sign up for the free access.


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One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. Oh April! This is so cool. Someone has been asking about United Streaming and your post is soooo helpful. Helped me too. I am trying to decide whether or not to squeeze it into the ole budget that is looking rather sad right now but shoot – it sounds good!

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