Please don’t write and tell me how awful television is for small children. 🙂 Every family has arrived at different completely acceptable prudential decisions about the use of the television in the home. Thanks for respecting ours! Our family enjoys movies and some history and nature programs and considers the television an appliance in the home. An appliance is something we make use of occasionally, but isn’t on all the time. We use a blender when we need it. We use a toaster when we’d like to toast something. We occasionally enjoy a program or movie on the television in much the same way.
I’d like to tell you about three different DVD series that my youngest crew really enjoys! Most of these DVD’s have been enjoyed in our home since my oldest (now almost 14) was younger.
This is perhaps one of our favorite programs; it is a wonderful adaptation of a character created by author Else Holmelund Minarik in the book series, Little Bear. The program is gentle and sweet; you’ll find no disrespectful discourses, no veiled wording, no irritated, whiny parents – just kind, sweet, simple Little Bear. Little Bear has a loving family of Mother and Father Bear. Occasionally programs include Grandmother Bear and Grandfather Bear, conveying a love and respect for grandparents as well as a sincere seeking out of the stories and adventures a grandparent can share. Little Bear’s friends cat, duck, hen, and owl enjoy games and adventures with Little Bear. I enjoyed the Little Bear series originally because of his gentle, loving, imaginative nature, and I still love him for all the same reasons.
Because so much children’s television is pure twaddle, I purchased the DVD set of Little Bear several years ago (2 children ago) and have never once regretted it. I can avoid the television entirely now, and go straight to the DVD player and allow the younger set a sweet show that I know they’ll enjoy and that won’t undercut the virtues and good habits I’m trying to convey in our home. The programs are also available as individual themed shows.
Another favorite adaptation is the Beatrix Potter DVD Collection produced for the BBC. I know what you’re thinking – sacrilege! I can’t believe that I’m even recommending it, but it is just that good! The animation is true to Miss Potter’s original style, and though they by no means take the place of her books, they are a delightful representation of her stories for children. The musical score for the collection is lovely. Very well done; we enjoy them very much!
Changing speeds significantly, my final recommendation is for a set of phonics DVD’s that quite simply convinced me of their value over time and earned a place on my shelf! Leap Frog, the Letter Factory was our first foray into this series. I admit it. It annoyed me initially (for purely aesthetic, personal preference reasons), but my son, 4 at the time, really enjoyed the program. I didn’t think it was harmful so I let him watch it a couple of times. The next thing I knew he was sounding out words. We hadn’t been working on any phonics at the time! This was my first son and I wasn’t going to rush him into reading! No sir! We were going to move at his pace, slowly if needed…but after watching the program a couple of times he was reading. GASP! I wasn’t ready to start teaching reading. I scrambled to get my collective, home educating act together, and in the meantime I let him watch the program a couple more times. His reading improved! Now, I’m not promising you that if you buy this DVD that your child will walk away from the DVD player reading simple words, but I am saying that the series is an effective phonics program and I wouldn’t be surprised if a child walked away from the DVD with some phonics ability! My son and I moved on with a phonics program immediately – turns out his pace was a little quicker than mine. We also purchased Talking Words Factory, Code Word Caper, and shortly afterward the Math Circus. All of my children enjoy the entire Leap Frog learning DVD’s.
Hope you enjoyed my little review of entertainment and educational programs for children!