Discovery Education Streaming Review
Reviewed by the Cashmore Family
NOTE: There are two versions of Discovery Education Streaming - Plus
and Basic. We reviewed the "Plus" version which is only available
to schools due to licensing reasons. The version that is available to
homeschoolers is the "Basic" version. It is also very robust (over
4,000 full length videos), but it lacks some of the content. For a more in-depth
description of the variables read the
FAQs about the product.
The "Basic" version retails for $256, but is available to homeschoolers
exclusively through the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op for
just $129 through February 29th, 2008! Membership in the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op
If you're looking for some great materials to add interest to your homeschool
curriculum, you will feel like a kid in a candy store here! This website takes
a long time to completely explore. While reviewing this website,
I met a teacher who told me that she uses videos, lesson plans, and quizzes from
this website extensively in her classroom. Amazing!
When you first reach the main page, there isn't much to see. You are asked to
select a grade level or subject, or choose your state and the standard you seek
to teach. This will take you to some appropriate materials, but if you simply
leave the search box at the top of the page blank and press "Go," you
will discover that United Streaming houses 7,875 full videos at current count,
plus 2,964 audio recordings, and 212 lesson plans (right away you realize that
most of the videos do not have corresponding lesson plans...), plus 45 speeches
and even 1,184 clip art pictures!
If you use the "Advanced Search" option, you can select a resource by
publisher. (Once you find something that you really like, this is a great way to
find more of the same.)
Of course, you can also search by academic subject and grade level, or you can
search by keyword, or you can search by your state standards.
In the search results, each video comes complete with a description, a preview
photo, and a clickable list of segments if you want to jump directly to the portion
that is relevant to your current need. Each video will also tell you the appropriate
grade range and indicate what other corresponding resources or helps are available
To help you more fully appreciate what this site has to offer, I have listed some
of the nuggets that caught my eye.
Under "Events" - click on any entry to access a calendar with each date
keyed to a number of videos and other pertinent resources. Every video includes a
description of its content, a preview picture, and a note as to appropriate audience
In the Video Library, be sure not to miss:
- PBS: Arthur, Magic School Bus (53 episodes; also see: Magic Schoolbus), Peep and the Big Wide World (26 episodes), Liberty's Kids, Cyberchase, Between the Lions, and others...
- There are 229 Standard Deviants videos!
- Languages taught include Mandarin Chinese (2 video lessons plus a number of videos of storybooks available in Mandarin), Arabic (4 video lessons), French (259 video lessons plus a number of storybooks read aloud in French plus more French songs available in the "Audio" section), German (218 lessons), Italian (62 lessons), Japanese (4 lessons), Russian (2 lessons), and Spanish (a whopping 3,308 video lessons plus storybooks in the Video section, plus audio books and songs in the Audio section, plus songs in the Audio Songs section; enough to keep you busy for a LONG time).
- Clearvue (a vast collection of academic videos on all subjects)
- Weston Woods - about 135 children's picture books on tape (Where the Wild Things Are, Click Clack Moo, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Officer Buckle and Gloria, Sam and the Lucky Money, George Washington's Mother, and many more. Some are in English, some are in Spanish or Mandarin Chinese. Many have corresponding Teacher's Guides.)
- Educational Activities: Hap Palmer, Silly Willy, Phonics and Reading for Students, The Ultimate Phonics Starter Collection, Music Curriculum Connections, Chemistry Basics, Earth Science for Students, Geography Concepts for Students, Human Body for Students, and Biology Concepts for Students - these are actual collections of science lessons for grades 7-12.
In the Audio Library:
- Teacher and the Rockbots (51 educational rap/rock songs) - these are not included in the Audio Songs section of this website.
- Exploring Music (Mews Music) - 51 approximately one-minute snippets of many classical pieces
- Partners in Rhyme (222 full-length music selections, mostly classical but also including Christmas music and a piece called Little Red Riding Hood)
- Bobrow - Books on tape (Tale of Two Cities, Canterbury Tales, Crime and Punishment, Dante's Inferno, Frankenstein, Great Expectations, Gulliver's Travels, Hamlet, Huckleberry Finn, Lord of the Flies, Macbeth, Odyssey, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, Scarlet Letter, Wuthering Heights)
- Librivox - Books on tape (A Christmas Carol, A Journey to the Interior of the Earth by Jules Verne, A Modest Proposal, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, An International Episode by Henry James, Anne of Green Gables, Ice Palace and Dalyrimple Goes Wrong by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Leaf, The Gift of the Magi, and Duplicity of Hargraves by O. Henry, God Sees the Truth but Waits by Leo Tolstoy, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Heart of Darkness, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, Markheim by Robert Lois Stevenson, Pigs is Pigs by Ellis Parker Butler, Poetics by Aristotle, Pride & Prejudice, Robinson Crusoe, The Children of the Zodiac by Rudyard Kipling, The Communist Manifesto, The Diamond Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, The Gray Wolf by George MacDonald, The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, The Leopard Man by Jack London, The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson, Pilgrim's Progress, The Wind in the Willows, To Build a Fire, Treasure Island, White Fang, American Indian Fairy Tales, Call of the Wild, Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter, Notes From the Underground by Dostoyevsky, Readings of William Shakespeare (excerpts from some of the Bard's most well-known works), The Constitution of the United States of America, The United States Declaration of Independence, A Reading of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, The Short Stories and Essays of Mark Twain, The Short Stories of Edgar Allen Poe, Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a reading of "On the Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery" by Joseph Lister).
- Library of Congress, Scripps Library, American Rhetoric - Great presidential speeches by Nixon, Kennedy, FDR, and others.
- Music for Little People - a good collection of educational songs for children, including Cajun for Kids
- Clearvue (a vast collection of academic lectures on all subjects)
- Latin lessons
- Learn French songs
- Learn Spanish songs
- Here you'll find 395 songs mostly by Twin Sisters and Maryann Harmon. Grammar, math, science, safety, songs for learning French, Spanish, German, Italian, Math with Mar, Start Each Day With a Song, science, health,...
- Animated Heroes series: 20 Episodes, including Florence Nightingale, Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Thomas Edison and Beethoven. (These are 20-30 minute cartoons dramatizing important highlights of these people's lives.)
Under "Articles" there are 23,085 articles comprising almost
a miniature encyclopedia in itself.
The "Images" are 20,591 full-color photographs from many sources
and the full array of academic subjects; you can select the size/resolution.
The 212 lesson plans include the title(s) of corresponding videos, plus lots
of relevant links for more info...
Though long, this list is not anywhere near complete.
I didn't completely preview the clip art -- the first few hundred were
representations of the numbers from 0 to 9 and the alphabet. I also didn't
preview the forums, which is another area of the site, or the sample lesson
plans created using other popular software.
This website is huge. Too huge for me to do it justice. I think
everyone, whether considering this subscription or not, should take advantage of
their 30-day free trial for at least a few days. It's well worth exploring. (Price:
$265. Available from Discovery Education Streaming.)