Educational Video Recommendations

Our 4 and 6 year olds have been devouring the Leap Frog videos lately: viewing thirty minutes of cheesy Saturday-morning quality animation on Letter Factory, they learned all the sounds of the letters effortlessly in the space of about 2 weeks. That’s with no effort on my part or theirs. The 19mo watches too, imitating the sounds of the letters. I feel like a bad mother, but it sure keeps them occupied during school time for the older ones, and they are actually learning at the same time!

Once they thoroughly knew the sounds of the letters, they watched more cheesy Saturday-morning quality animation on Talking Words Factory, and learned to put the letters together into simple 3 or 4 letter words. While I’m explaining the finer points of Saxon Math 54 and Math 76 to the four older children, Natalie and Becca run for paper and pencil and feverishly copy words, pausing the dvd player as necessary. The 19mo watches carefully, mimicking her big sisters’ interests and actions. Later, they read what they wrote and compare notes. This is all their idea.

Now, we’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of:

Lest you think I am content to reside in Bad Mother Land, we have also started some regular one-on-one reading and math lessons. These lessons, when done cheerfully and diligently, usually end with a reward: they get to watch a Leap Frog video.


  1. Jerri,

    Your kids (and YOU!) are going to love the Signing Time videos. They are so excellently made. After learning all that they had to teach us, we decided to check out other signing videos from the library. My kids HATED them…they were so inane. So we’ll just wait for them to come up with more Signing Times!

  2. The Davenport Dozen says:

    Thanks so much for your recommendation! I am so tired of our very old Barney videos, that don’t teach much at all, and welcome the input from others as to what to replace them with. We have a positively ancient Sesame Street video “Learning About Numbers” that was my almost 21 year olds when he was little, that is pretty good. It is worn out at this point! (add eleven siblings since then!)

    MamaK – thanks for your suggestion too. Ordered that along with the Leap Frog DVD’s. =)

    Would love to read about other DVD recommendations for home schooling, pre-schoolers and other ages for specialty subjects (like Karen’s recommendation for the signing DVD’s).


  3. a suburban housewife says:

    You bet!!! Any “disorder” label known (and unknown) to man is in there!! (I am saying this somewhat sarcastically) But I’m quite sure there is a DSM-VI either out or on its way because, after all, there are so many NEW disorders popping up all over the place.

    By the way, The Letter Factory is on its way to my home via UPS ground. So I will climb into the Bad Mother club with ya!

  4. Just in case I’m not the only one who drew a blank, I did a google search and learned that (correct me if I’m wrong, Sherri) DSM-v refers to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition.

  5. a suburban housewife says:

    Ha!! Another perfect excuse for my love affair with chocolate! And really, it isn’t Glowing with Evil when showing a phonics-based, mom-approved educational video is it? Ovarian Guilt, huh? Watch and see. Within a year I would be willing to bet that shows up as a new category in the DSM-V!

  6. Sherry,
    I feel bad because my little ones are learning more about reading from The Evil Glowing Screen than they are from me right now.
    Hubby calls it Ovarian Guilt. He tells me it will pass. Chocolate generally helps.

  7. YAY! They do!


  8. WOW! I love recommendations like this. Especially for the little ones. We invested in the Signing Time dvds for the same reason, and my 2 and 4 year olds are pros at over 60 signs now! I’m checking our library right now to see if they carry the LeapFrog ones. Thanks!


  9. Those videos sound awesome. I might have to check those out. 🙂

  10. Kim Brenneman says:

    Hi Kim,
    Just an hour ago I was reworking my post-baby schedule trying to think how to figure in phonics with the little ones. While NAK here I read your blog and felt like my prayers were answered. One-on-one with Alphaphonics is not for my current season. I hope you got Amazon credit for my buys tonight. : )

  11. a suburban housewife says:

    Why on earth would you feel like a bad mother? I think this is a great idea! Thanks for the idea and thanks for commenting on my blog!!

  12. My son watched the Code Word Caper from the library several months ago–I was so surprised to hear him spouting all the phonics rules by heart. I certainly hadn’t tried to teach him those yet!

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