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Special Interest

School's In - Netflix #StreamTeam

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By Karen Bannister

As a parent in BC, I am finally able to shout (from the roof top) the kids are back at school! While they were out, we did what many parents were doing .... we said we were going to homeschool. We bought workbooks, which we left on the shelf to collect dust. We had the best of intentions!

We took the "life experience" approach instead and like many work-at-home moms that meant grabbing a few extra minutes to work while my son browsed for a fun, educational program on Netflix. The life-experience? See what mommy does all day! 

My kids (aged 2, 4 and 6) know how to navigate the children's portal on Netflix better than I can. Because the programming is safe there, I allow them the freedom to choose the kind-of program they want to watch and rarely do I interfere. My school-age son was allowed to choose a few of his favourites through the strike and here is a list of his top picks. He likes them because they are fun and interesting. I like them because they open up opportunities for conversation. Too often we can get down on ourselves for allowing kids too much screen time. But for our family, screen time balances with an active life and other pursuits like books, lego and science experiments (yes, we like to blow up our kitchen!)

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

I LOVE this one not just because it is a fun, friendly tale but because it has a deeply important message. Choose this one on Netflix and plan to have an age-appropriate discussion about the environment afterwards. Pair it with an activity that gets kids in touch with the earth, like a neighborhood walk when you also pick up garbage to clean the streets.

Monster Math Squad

Who doesn't love these cute little creatures, and they fuel a child's love for numbers. My son really enjoys learning math and I find the approach of this show really good for encouraging that interest and those skills. Follow-up the show with some simple age-appropriate math exercises.

Super Why!

These storybook characters navigate a magical story land and dive into books for some fun learning. I like this show because it not only pushes the importance of books but because it encourages problem solving. The characters use well-known fairy tales as a way to solve problems in their lives. Problem solving skills are SO important.

Follow-up an episode by disussing the story line with your child. How did they feel about the choices the characters made? How might they navigate a similar situation?

These shows and more can be accessed on Netflix and with this content you can really tailor a mini-school lesson every day of the week, or on one special day each week. I think television programming offers us an opportunity to have conversations with our kids. And that's always a good thing.

Happy Back-to-School!



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