Odd But Effective Homeschool Curriculum

by Nichole Cook
(Pittsburgh, PA 15212)

Customized Homeschool Curriculum = Learning Success

Customized Homeschool Curriculum = Learning Success

Creative mom shares her unique way of engaging her ADD children and getting them to learn. Unconventional? Perhaps. Is it working? See for yourself.


When I first became a homeschool mom five years ago, I followed a set curriculum and did a "school at home" approach. Each year I have tried something new to try to meet the needs of each of my girls, including an online curriculum that was a complete disaster, because the cyber school was not was they told me it would be. This year, I decided to try a new approach. So far, it is absolutely wonderful.

I use Netflix for the bulk of my curriculum! I have been using Netflix for several months now as my main curriculum, and it's been working so well that I plan on getting a box to stream it directly to my TV so we can watch even more videos. I know this is an unconventional approach, but so far it's been working very well.

My oldest child, now 12, has a short attention span and needs to take frequent breaks. With anything written, we don't get much done in a day. She if bored, cranky, and it's absolutely painful to us. I noticed that she likes watching educational videos, and she learns a lot from them. I began ordering videos for her, and she would talk about the subject material for days after. Not only that, but she would ask for more books about the subject so she could read independently and learn more about it.

My youngest daughter, now 9, also has ADD and has a hard time sitting still. I cannot get her to sit down and focus on anything at all. Talking to her consists of her interrupting me a dozen times to talk about something else. She often throws tantrums when being asked to sit down and do work, and she gets very frustrated even though she knows the material. I noticed, however, that she would recite an entire show. Sometimes she would recite things word for word, like what people said. She would sit there for an hour telling all about what she saw on a show that interested her, so I decided to try educational videos.

I was very happy to see that she also loved the educational videos that we got and would sit in front of the TV completely absorbed into the show. She would spend the next few days telling me all about it, and she would sit down and discuss the show with me or read a book about it like her sister. Success!

My middle child, 11, also benefits from it. She likes watching the educational shows. She also learns a lot from the show, although she likes to sit down with me and write a report, do a quiz, or write about it in her journal. My oldest and youngest, by the way, prefer to draw a picture and write a caption for each picture. It's my sneaky way of getting them to practice writing.

For the cost of a subscription to Netflix, I can order movies on a wide variety of subjects. We can begin with a video about Georgia O'Keeffe and after sit down and look at some pictures by her. We can watch a movie about The Shroud of Turin, Walking With Cavemen, The Origin of Man, and Adam and Eve and discuss evolution versus creationism. We can watch math videos with a professor, pausing often to work out the problems, and then sit down to do some more math problems. We have thousands of videos on our queue covering a variety of subjects, and there is no shortage of what they can learn.

People who previously said we were wasting our time watch TV all day have seen the list of movie titles and my girls' enthusiasm. They have listened to my girls share what they have learned and become excited about learning more now than ever. It is an odd method of learning, but it is working very well for us. My two active girls can jump around and act out during the movie, which helps them while they are learning. And my queue consists of a steady rotation of different subjects, such as: English, math, history, art, language, fun. My girls know when they go through their educational videos, they get a strictly fun movie like Barbie or Ben Ten to watch.

Thank you for letting me share my odd but effective curriculum. This has been an absolutely wonderful year. We've experimented with different methods of learning, some less successful than others, and this is a keeper. I can't believe I didn't think of videos to start lessons on a subject sooner!

Nichole... very creative approach to learning and kudos to you for taking advantage of the flexibility that comes with schooling at home. Truly a custom education! :)

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Feb 05, 2009
Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much!!!We will be trying this method right away. I have a 4th grader with seizure trauma, and I'm betting this will work wonders for her.

Sep 14, 2012
Great idea !
by: Deb

Thanks for this great idea! I have several children thst respond well to this type of learning. I will be checking out netflix website as soon as I exit this one.

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