Often overlooked because of safety issues, educating with YouTube can be a rewarding experience for you and your homeschooled children. My family has homeschooled for two decades, way before YouTube was a thing and what I wouldn’t give to have had this resource way back when. We have YouTube now and we take advantage of it as often as we need to.
What follows is a list of our favorite 15 educational YouTube channels for homeschooling.
Videos for the Younger Crowd
Safety, safety, safety is the key to the best experience for younger kids. I’ve found that by using the Safe.Vision app I am entirely equipped to control what YouTube channels my children watch, especially my 6-year-old. Here are three of the channels I allow my young child (mostly) unfettered access to:
Kid Time Story Time
I’ll admit that I don’t really enjoy reading books to my children. This doesn’t make me a terrible homeschooler anymore, YouTube to the rescue!
My youngest child is partial to the Kid Time Story Time channel, mostly because of the cute stuffed animals and lively storyteller. I am partial to Kid Time Story Time because of the sheer number of quality available books, Biographies, mental & physical well-being, conflict resolution; there are so many stories here that your child won’t run out of stories anytime soon.
It’s 5:00 pm, you’re trying to start dinner and put the groceries away, and your toddler is cranky. You’re probably cranky too. I’ve not always been “that person” who uses TV as a baby sitter, but life is hard and sometimes you just need a break. Baby First TV was created to stimulate young brains by showcasing gentle, vividly-colored, and musical programming.
Baby First TV has been around since my now 17-year-old was, well, a baby. It was an extra cable subscription back then but now all you have to do is log into YouTube. Your toddler will learn about art, math, friendship, and you can cook in quiet. For a few minutes, anyhow.
I’ve been hearing all about how amazing Cosmic Kids is for years. Years! Earlier this year I finally listened. Why did it take me so long??
My youngest child is entranced with this story-based Yoga YouTube channel. Cosmic Kids Yoga features Jaime Amor, who hails from England, who guides your child through favorite stories with story-based guided yoga & meditation videos.
Steve Spangler is a mainstay of science education. He has all sorts of goodies on his YouTube channel in the form of science experiments you can’t (and can) do at home. You’ll likely hear lots of “Awesome!” and “Hey mom, come see this!”s. Sorry about that.
PBS Eons is a show my family and I never miss, and I mean never. Thanks to a recommendation from my teenaged son, we have a new favorite show. Perfect especially for high school (due to depth of subject material), PBS Eons episodes are about pre-history and are quite short, just 8-11 minutes. Dinosaurs, biology, evolution, and extinction are a few of the topics you’ll see in their extensive playlists.
Have you ever thought, “Self, I think I should get stung by an Asian Giant Hornet today just to see if it hurts!”. I never have but Coyote Peterson sure has. Coyote not only loves to be bitten and stung by animals, he’s also developed an astonishing amount of animal-related educational materials! Oh, and did I mention his VR videos yet?
My daughter discovered The Great War while doing background research for a story. When she told me about the unique premise of the show, I knew this channel was on to something.
The Great War teaches viewers about WW1 in real-time. Yes, real-time! Each episode is presented as a news broadcast-style, bias-free, video that examines all sides of the war, not just the American story. The war is only a small part of the program, much emphasis is placed on the people who aren’t on the battlefield. News from the homefront, fashion around the world, contemporary entertainers, you get the idea. The entire series is available, start the videos on the week you’re currently in for the best experience.
If you haven’t heard of Crash Course, boy are you in for a treat. The Green Brothers take us on a fast-paced* but easily understandable, journey through history. These cleverly-animated videos were created for older students and adults, however, there is a Crash Course Jr YouTube channel that plays programming for more appropriate for younger audiences. A lot of homeschoolers use these videos to supplement their history curriculum or as the jumping-off point for a great unit study. Regardless, Crash Course is not only educational, it’s funny to boot.
*If your child needs a slower pace, there are websites that offer transcripts of each episode at very little cost. My teens usually watch the video followed by reading the transcript.
Kids need to learn world history from an impartial source. I rarely say the word need, but in this case, I believe History for Kids (from Homeschool Pop) should be watched by kids everywhere.
History for Kids is set apart from other channels because of the thoughtfulness of presentation for each grade level. History for Kids covers PreK-3rd grade, and are designed as such. PreK & Kindergarten videos feature slower speaking and video transitions. First and second grades introduce new terms and concepts. Third grade features more “mature” content like slavery & Christopher Columbus. The videos are not meant to be persuasive, they simply present bias-free facts in an age-appropriate manner.
Math, ugh. When you’re a mathphobe it can be exceedingly difficult not to pass your feelings about math to your children. This is not a good thing, trust me. Parents who despise math create kids who despise math. What’s the answer then? YouTube.
Khan Academy has been very popular with homeschooling families for good reason. The founder of Khan Academy, Sal Khan, takes you step-by-step through math equations.
Parents have the ability to assign videos and curriculum based on your child’s mathematical experience. My 17-year-old is currently using Khan Academy for geometry, switching over from the slower-paced curriculum she has used for years.
Math Antics, long used by tutors, is a supplementary, explanation-first math program. In fact, my younger teen is using it with his tutor right now! The host of Math Antics is super engaging, funny when appropriate, and presents math in a way that makes learning math a whole lot easier.
NumberRock is 1. Hilarious and 2. Perfect for visual & auditory learners and 3. Introduces math terminology in kid-friendly ways. NumberRock offers videos for pre-K through 3rd grade and translates their content into several languages, making them an exemplary example of the quality of videos on YouTube.
Some videos are just plain interesting. Human interest videos can teach empathy, awareness, and tell stories about humanity. Here are some of the best human interest channels we have found so far:
This American Life
My favorite TV show turned Podcast, This American Life, provides audio of their podcast episodes on YouTube. While there is no visual component, This Americal Life is definitely worth a listen. We cast the videos to our SmartTV, which we’ve found perfect for audio-only videos.
This American Life tells the stories of ordinary people, both the amusing and ugly side of life in the United States. Content warning: This American Life is most appropriate for high schoolers & adults. I recommend all watchers read the description of the episodes first as I have found a few of them to be triggering.
My kids enjoy Mental Floss a lot, my son mourned the discontinuation of the Mental Floss Magazine, but it resulted in a flourishing YouTube channel. Mental Floss episodes are just a few minutes long and presented in a highly-engaging format. The hosts of Mental Floss will teach you everything about everything you didn’t know you wanted to learn about. Or so we think, anyhow. Be sure to reading the description of episodes to avoid content you may find too mature.
Candyseed Stories is such a charming YouTube Channel designed for younger family members. In these videos kids are introduced to books and stories that celebrate diversity, featuring guest hosts and books of many racial & cultural backgrounds. Candyseed’s dedication to presenting diversity in every story is meant to help close the systemic racial divide all around the world, making our children better world citizens.
Rather than passively educating, YouTube delivers experiences that are enthralling, interactive, and well-digested. Youtube is a free resource that most of us have access to, and with proper supervision, it can be used both as a supplement and curriculum. Teaching with YouTube is a perfect fit for most students, I hope it works as well for your family as it does mine.
can be amazing gadgets for kids. They can watch videos, play games, read books,
and more, yet you should have the option to protect them from the inappropriate
content. Following are the steps to do that.
Secure your account
the “Settings” screen, find the “Personal” option and click
“Security and Privacy”. Make sure you have a Lock-Screen Password
set. You can pick either a passcode or a Pin; select whichever you consider
progressively secure and simple to remember.
this will guarantee your kid can’t get to your screen by essentially leaving
their own. In your monitor, a youngster may incidentally remove applications,
delete videos from your watch list, and even include or expel things from your
Amazon list of things to get. It’s ideal for playing it safe and putting these
features far off.
Create a child profile for your child
down the list from the top of the screen, and tap your user symbol. Here,
search for the “Plus” button to add new users, clicking OK to confirm
Here, click Add a Child Profile (grown-up profiles are also accessible, should your partner need one). Then enter the details: name, date of birth, etc.
You can choose between two accessible subjects. “Blue Sky” is for the children under the age of 9 while the “Midnight Black” theme is for kids somewhere in the range of 9-12. At the point when you’ve settled on your decisions, click “Add Profile”.
Add content to your child profile
With the profile made, the following screen will ask you to include appropriate content. You can choose books, videos, recordings, applications, and so on that you are OK with your kid exploring.
Tap to choose the content you’re OK with and then tap “Done”. If whenever you need to change the material the child can get to, open “Settings” then go to “Profile” and “Family Library”, at that point click “Add Content” or “Remove Content”.
You can also check the Age Filters screen. This is a component you can flip on or off varying; when on, it lets you set an age extend for the material your kid can see. If you need to guarantee your little one isn’t viewing horrible videos (or other extraordinary shows on Amazon Video), this is a significant element.
should slide the lower age and upper age range bars as suitable. The tablet
will guide you on what number of applications, recordings, and books are
distinguishable from the chosen extend. At the point when you’re OK, click
“Back” to exit. At last, make a point to set the “Enable In-App
Purchasing” setting to off. That will keep them away from piling on
charges in games.
Set Up Screen Time
You most likely don’t want your kids spending the entire day stuck to their tablets, particularly whenever there’s an opportunity to do outdoor tasks. So setting up some time limits is a smart thought.
do this, open “Set Daily Goals” and “Time Limits”, and
click the switch to on. You’ll see a screen split into two tabs:
“Weekdays” and “Weekends”. Every one of these lets you set
a “Bedtime” when the tablet will off, and “wake up time”
when it opens up once more.
Here you can also set “Educational Goals”, with time limits for apps, videos, audiobooks and books. There’s additionally a “Learn First” option, letting you block fun material until “Educational Goals” are met.
Further down, you can set a “Total Screen Time” (so your kid may have, say, two hours of tablet time inside a 16-hour term). You’ll additionally discover “Time” by “Activity Type”, where you can set time limits for each activity.
Set Web Content
Your child’s tablet must be online to get to Amazon content. Yet, imagine a scenario where you need to restrict your kid’s access to the web.
Open the kid’s profile again and search for “Web Settings”. Here you’ll discover the switch of “Enable Web Browser”. When clicked, you’ll have the option of “Limit Web Content”, where you can include Websites, and Web Videos, using the “Plus” button.
Then, the Settings tab lets you “Enable Pre-Approved Web Content”. This is Amazon’s curated content, so you can anticipate that the material should be appropriate for your kid.
Review Online Activities of your Child
the event that you need to see your youngster’s tablet activities (maybe to
check whether TV shows are more well-known than games), Amazon offers an
element that lets you check what they’re doing. You can, without many efforts,
deal with this option of “Settings” then “Parental Controls”.
Look down to the “Activity Center”, and on “Monitor This
At this point, you should have total control over your kid’s Amazon Fire tablet. Your child can access content that you have selected only.
Screen time tends to get a bad rap these days but with careful supervision, your child can access more knowledge of the world than any textbook or worksheet can provide. Watching streaming content is relevant to our children and it helps them absorb information in a new way. For instance, if your child is studying world history, it’s the perfect time to add a video tour of Versailles! Streaming videos allow your child to experience new dimensions of learning from the comfort of your living room, no crowds & no passport needed.
I am what I refer to as a “third-semester homeschooler”, by which I mean I have three “generations” of kids, all of whom are or were homeschooled. I have two graduates, three teens, and a young child. Being in this position, I have watched the tools available to homeschooling families grow exponentially. What I would have given to have streaming media available when my older children were young! I didn’t know a lot about learning styles then, but what I did know is that neither of my kids responded well to anything that was considered “proper homeschooling”. I use streaming media as often as I can now, it reduces stress for both me & my children, and I know they are receptive to it.
YouTube is our go-to streaming service for
several reasons. First, with three teens in the house, we need to have a way
for them to quickly access very specific information and YouTube provides that.
Second, my kids really enjoy learning from screens. One of our children is
extremely knowledgeable about World War 2 because a video game sparked his
interest and YouTube filled in all of the details. Third, you can find content
for ANYTHING on YouTube. Take ukelele lessons, learn to sew, whatever strikes
Bringing new and unexpected places into your home is perhaps one of the very best learning opportunities with YouTube though virtual & augmented reality videos. Some of our very favorite field trips have been spent in the depths of the Glow Worm Caves in New Zealand, riding waves with dolphins in California, and taking a journey to space. We weren’t just watching, we were interacting, immersed. These experiences cost you nothing and will leave a lasting impression on your child.
“But Meg, how does watching videos count as homeschooling?”
“What if they watch TV all day?”
These questions are, very rightfully so, at the top of parent’s concerns when I mention learning with YouTube. As for videos “counting”, you can always use the videos as an extension or basis for a unit study or have your child write a few paragraphs about the video. Be mindful in making screen time too educational, sometimes it’s ok to enjoy a video for the sheer love of learning and nothing else.
Parental supervision is the key when it comes to screen time and setting limits. Some individuals need more guidance when it comes to online activity than others, and you are the only one who can determine what guidelines are right for your family. YouTube is possibly the internet’s greatest accomplishment, an almost perfect educational tool. Don’t be afraid to let it into your home and see how much life springs into your child’s education.
Amazon Fire tablets have powerful parental controls that allow restricting screen time for your child. Here’s how to set them up.
First, open FreeTime app and tap on cog icon next to your child’s name:
Next, tap ‘Set Daily Goals & Time Limits’ under Child Settings:
Enable checkbox on top right on the next screen. Here you can set different schedule for weekdays and weekends:
Set Total Screen Time to how long you want to allow your child to use the tablet per day.
I suggest to also set Bedtime (curfew time) – you don’t want your child to stay up late or get up in the middle of the night to play games or watch videos. Our house rule is no devices after 8 pm.
You can also require your child to reach an educational goal before they can access entertainment content. For example your child should read books (on Fire tablet) for one hour before they could do anything else. That feature didn’t work for my son though – he would simply open a book and do something else while tapping on the screen from time to time waiting for the time to pass.
You can also restrict time by activity:
This lets you set time limit for using apps, reading books, listening to Audible, watching videos and browsing the web. I like to restrict using apps (that means playing games) and watching videos but leave reading books unrestricted.
Don’t forget to switch the tablet to your child profile before handing it over to your child.
There is no doubt that technology has changed the way we look after our children. Many parents use tablets, iPads, and mobile phones to keep their children occupied. It’s convenient, easy and it works.
For many parents, gone are the days of humiliation and frustration caused from ‘those looks’ from others in the waiting room when their child talks too loud, runs around, makes high pitched noises, crying, screaming, and tantrums. It’s now quite common to see kids in waiting rooms sitting quietly with eyes transfixed on a hand held screen.
YouTube is one of the most engaging places for children with an extremely large array of videos that are great for kids including pre school & early education videos, nursery rhymes, songs, cartoons, movies, even cooking tutorials for kids.
All this truly is wonderful but we can’t ignore that fact that there is a huge problem with kids using YouTube. Parents often forget that YouTube is an video sharing platform open to all with a tremendous number of videos that are most definitely not suitable for children. Some videos are even disguised as kids videos with ‘kid friendly’ titles and images.
Quick… Stop it! Close down, cover it up!
Imagine your child, while watching a video they notice a thumbnail image of that looks like fun. They tap to view and less than a minute of Peppa Pig dancing and singing it cuts to Peppa Pig being stabbed or cuts to an edit of inappropriate sexual behavior right before your child’s eyes. I’m sure that would horrify you sending shivers down your spine.
Allowing your child to use YouTube is risky even when you are looking over their shoulder at every moment. Unfortunately some parents have come across inappropriate content during direct supervision only to find it took too many seconds to prevent their child from seeing more. Sadly their child has already viewed enough to either become shocked, scared, or intrigued. As a responsible parent we just can’t take the risk.
Thankfully there are some great solutions.
There are apps that can be used specifically for kids that filter videos to ensure that inappropriate content doesn’t get in front of children. YouTube kids has been developed specifically for this purpose. If you let your child watch YouTube videos you should, at the very least use YouTube Kids which is available from the App Store and Google Play. The only issue with YouTube Kids is the videos are filtered by robots so some videos that we shouldn’t let our children view can get through.
Safe Vision is Safe!
Safe Vision is, as the name suggests, is safe. All videos and video channels are screened by humans not robots. Parents can also add videos and channels they know are safe. It’s the perfect solution to entertain with total peace of mind.
TLDR: If we want our children to have a
positive and healthy relationship with technology, then we need to model these
behaviors for them. We need to practice what we preach.
I spend a lot of time wondering what the technological future will hold for my children. The world is changing so quickly, and more and more people have a device in their hands throughout the entire day. Nowadays many of us just wear technology around our wrist so we can have it attached to us at all times. Is this what I want for my kiddos? Do I want them to feel the need to be constantly connected to the digital world?
Whenever I start thinking
about how connected this world has become, I start to become nostalgic for the
ways things used to be. Do you remember going to dinner with friends and no one
looking at a phone? Do you remember having a conversation with your spouse without
him staring at a message on his watch? Do you remember a time when kids just
had to stare out the window on a long car trip instead of watching a video? Or
sit at a restaurant and just patiently wait instead of playing a game on a phone?
I long for this technology-free time. I hope that someday my children will get
to experience it: a moment to live in the now and disconnect, a moment to
breathe in the air and detach from the technology that surrounds us.
Upon reflection, I realize
that I cannot expect my kiddos to learn this on their own. Just like I teach
them to say “please” and “thank you,” to show respect to their grandparents,
and to tie their shoes, I must model this behavior for them. I am definitely
aware that they are watching everything I do and say. If I am constantly
attached to my phone, then someday they will be as well. If I want them to turn
off devices and breathe every once in awhile, then I need to show them this
behavior. I realize that I have to think of the advice I’m going to give them
as they get older, and then I need to model that behavior for them now. Easier
said than done, I’m sure.
Here are some goals for myself
so that hopefully as my children get older they can emulate some positive
1. Set limits on screen time
If you want to make sure your kiddos aren’t
on a screen 99% of their day, then you have to make sure you aren’t as well.
Turn off your phone (or at least put it on “Do Not Disturb”) for certain times
during the day. Close your laptop. Let your children see you without a screen
in your face. Set a timer and be tech-free for an hour or two each evening.
2. No technology during meals
You want your kids to focus on eating when
you are eating? Then you have to make the same commitment as well. No checking
emails or scrolling the news while you eat your breakfast. Concentrate on some
mindful eating practices. Make the rule that there are never devices at the
table when eating. This applies to restaurants as well.
3. Keep screens out of the bedrooms
Your kids would be too tempted if there
were a tablet right next to their beds, and you would be tempted as well. How
many of us sleep with our phone next to the bed? How many of us hope our
teenagers do not sleep next to their phones someday? I definitely want my child
sleeping and not texting or watching videos as he gets older. Plan to gather
all devices at night and keep them in a common area to charge (like a kitchen.)
These devices are off-limits when it’s time to relax and start getting ready
for bed. Everyone will sleep better without the distraction of technology.
4. Focus on one thing at a time
We will want our kids to be
fully present in whatever they choose to do. We need to demonstrate the same.
If someone is speaking to us, we must put the phone away. If I’m working on a
project on my laptop, I should not be streaming a video to the television and
texting friends on my phone at the same time. Focusing means choosing one thing
to which we devote our attention. Choose one thing and give it your all.
5. Never use a device while driving (duh!)
I think we all know this, but I feel
like it can never be said enough. I see my husband grab his phone while
driving, and our kids are in the back of the car. “What are you doing?!” I’ll say.
I cannot stand it. Not only is he putting our entire family in danger, but he
is also modeling for our children that this is okay. I do not want my boys to
be distracted drivers, so I need my husband to stop doing this. (I also want
all of us to stay alive so I also need him to stop for that reason too.)
6. Limit social media use
Just because something happens doesn’t mean you have to post it. I see adults make this error all of the time. Quit posting your life and start living it. Once my kids have access to social media, they need to still have a life that is not lived out for their “followers”. They need to be cautious and thoughtful. Those profiles never truly disappear. Adults need to remember this as well and model thoughtful social media etiquette.
Ultimately we only get so many hours here
on this earth. As parents, we want our children to live long, healthy, and
happy lives. We want them to have friends and create memories. But to do this,
they must be present. They have to shut down their devices and make true
connections with real-life people. How are they going to know how to do this
while living in this challenging world surrounded by technological influences
everywhere? We as parents are going to show them. We are going to wisely use
technology, but also shut it down and live in the moment. None of us want life
to pass us by while we are sitting behind a screen. And we certainly don’t want
that for our children.
Safe Vision app starts with all YouTube videos locked. Parents then unlock pre-set list of known good channels based on child’s age range. They can also choose to unlock channels and videos one by one, at their discretion.
I personally review the channels that are available by default in the app. The chances that creators of child-targeted channel, e.g. Pinkfong would suddenly post something inappropriate are extremely low.
There are rumours that official Peppa Pig channel has been hacked and some of their videos contain Momo challenge but I couldn’t find any proof of that.
Bottom line: suicidal videos are definitely locked by default in Safe Vision app.
No, YouTube is not safe for kids to watch without close parent supervision. YouTube terms of service prohibit using YouTube website to children under 13 years old.
It’s seems like from birth my kiddos have had a technological device in their hands. Intuitively they’ve known how to swipe, click, and select their favorite things on their favorite devices. I do limit the time my children are exposed to devices, but I’m also not one to say that technology is nothing but evil. I think there are some real positives to kids using technology and services like YouTube. Even though I impose limits to screen time and place restrictions on their technology use, I still wonder about what they are accessing on these devices.
Lately, I’ve started to become more concerned that maybe I need to be exploring better options for my kids. Their love of YouTube (and my love of many of its offerings for children) is a tough habit to break. I have more recently begun to wonder: Is YouTube okay for my kids? Can it be used in a positive way? How safe is YouTube for children?
The good side of YouTube
Occasionally, I’ll hear my toddler state a fact about a dinosaur that I’m pretty sure we’ve never taught him. Or even mention a dinosaur that I have never heard of before. When I follow up with him, he explains that he learned about it on YouTube. I search for that dinosaur, and there it is! He really did learn about it in a video.
When we have a rainy day and want to do something fun, YouTube will teach us many fun activities to try. For our first attempt at making slime, we watched a video together, and then we gave it a try. It was a huge success.
Sometimes I’m at the doctor’s office with my children, and they need to get shots. And they’re miserable. I’ll try distracting them with funny faces, hugs, and silly songs. Finally, I offer them the chance to watch Elmo on my phone. I search YouTube for Elmo, and there he is. My child hears his voice, sees his fuzzy red face, and relaxes a bit. The distraction is good. The calming effect is helpful, and all is right with the world.
YouTube obviously is a tool that has a positive side to it. But what are its downfalls?
The negatives of YouTube
When my kids click on YouTube videos, they might see animals in the wild or see their favorite characters singing a catchy tune. They might hear a character teaching a foreign language or introducing numbers and shapes. Wouldn’t it be great if these informative and appropriate videos were a guaranteed result?
Unfortunately, this isn’t always going to happen. I have overheard curse words coming out of YouTube videos when I have stepped away and a new video has loaded. I have seen scary and inappropriate pop-up ads for horror movies and other products geared toward adults. Additionally, I know there are a lot of crazy videos out there that I definitely do not want my kids viewing. There are disturbing videos with foul language, sex, violence, rudeness, bullying, and more.
This bad side to YouTube makes me want to sit next to my child and watch every single video with him for the rest of his life. But I realize that this is not a realistic expectation.
What should we do as parents?
Because YouTube does have many positive aspects, and because I believe that everything is good in moderation — even technology, I am not at a place in life where I want to ban YouTube from my house. On its own, there are many risks and areas that are unsafe on YouTube for children of all ages. However, I would say that YouTube is a safe place for children if restrictions and safe viewing programs are in place. With a little research, parents can find a safe viewing tool that can create a safe YouTube experience for their kiddos.