With families getting all kinds of information regarding school closures, how long they'll be closed, and how long society will be practicing social distancing, there's one reality: young people are going to be educated at home for awhile. While the task of this challenge might be overwhelming, the reality is that families have a lot of resources right at their fingertips. YouTube is one of those resources and it feels like it's been available on phones and mobile devices forever. In fact, even without WiFi, the network on many phones is capable of providing decent YouTube service. This isn't to say that you can use it all the time with the same results, but you probably can get away with showing videos throughout the day that go a few clicks higher than normal YouTube fare.
That's where the following list comes in. It is filled with solid educational content that aren't simply one off videos. The YouTube links provided will actually take you to a buffet of educational content depending on your needs. Want to make a point about the vastness of the universe? You're covered. Confused about how to break down enormous, scientific ideas? Again, there's a channel (actually multiple channels) for that. No, YouTube isn't the "end all, be all" for your children's education needs. However, parents already know this. Rather, YouTube is meant to be a supplement to the curriculum you're already teaching. The reality is that our kids are going to be using devices to both learn and have fun. Why not at least make their downtime productive with as we compile every YouTube Channel you could need to help make homeschooling easier.
Minute Earth - Want things explained in a bite-sized way? Like to have to science that covers up-to-the-minute topics like Coronavirus? Or, are you interested in the reason that we only see one side of the moon? Whatever scientific interest you may possess, there's a great chance that the "Minute Earth" channel on YouTube covers it. Mixing narration with simple, but effective, animations, "Minute Earth" gets the job done quickly and succinctly. Now that's science we can wrap our heads around!
Science with Tom - Whether your desire is to know about matter, taxonomy, vaccines, or fossils, "Science with Tom" brings you these videos in a unique way. How you might ask? The information for much of the content is done is a sing-songy, ray cadence. Yes, you've read that correctly. Want your science in a traditional rap style? "Science with Tom" does it. Enjoy the meandering, mumble-rap way of MC'ing, "Science with Tom" does that too! Check out this channel that is a font for just about every kind of scientific folly. Some young people will love this, others might thinks its cheesy, but all will be engaged.
Step-By-Step Science - The "Step-By-Step Science" channel is one of those places that will make younger people instantly feel smarter by going there. With a focus on things like thermodynamics, Ohm's Law, and a litany of information on circuits, this channel is a master at breaking down complex information. One of the really cool thing is how it's organized. Does your child want to know how electricity works? This channel explains the information with a multi-video approach that never feels overwhelming. Bringing science to the masses in a bite-size, easy to understand way? That might be the biggest scientific achievement of all.
Gross Science - This is going to be for some users and others will avoid this channel like the plague. For its target demographic, the "Gross Science" channel really gets the job done here. Interested in a frog that, instead of delivering its babies, throws them up? What about the living organisms that might be inhabiting your contact lenses? Now, not everything is that gross but the name of this channel is highly appropriate. Check it out if you dare because the content provided will surely spark many discussions around the house.
Science Channel - This is a more traditional (ie. safe) look at science's application in the real world. It covers topics such as what transpires when lava comes into contact with ice. Or, can a human walk on a glue stick meant for a mouse or rat and not get stuck? At the same time, this channel explores what the outcome might be if our friends from other planets decided they wanted to take over Earth. The "Science Channel" is a vast place that covers just about all your scientific needs.
Cody's Lab - If Indiana Jones was a scientist he would probably be a lot like Cody. This filmmaker/scientist literally puts himself in the thick of the action. He seems to examine a lot of cause and effect relationships. For example, after an earthquake, Cody goes deep into a mine-shaft to look at the effects of the earthquake. Cody is also a beekeeper and he does some incredible videos that showcase how these unique and necessary creatures live. His videos may not be the flashiest, but they are in-depth and get the job done
Anna's Science Magic Show Hooray! - This is a solid channel for younger and older viewers alike. Anna is a magician whose videos cover such topics as "Why are veins blue?", "Why do we have butts?", and the most pressing of all, "What makes cats purr?" Done in a whimsical style that often sheds interesting light on human behavior, this might be the funnest science channel on YouTube. Anna looks for multiple ways to engage. Whether that involves animation, animals, or doing an experiment, you truly never know what you're going to get when you click on this YouTube channel.
Kings and Generals - These are well researched, well put together animated documentaries that are as intricate as they are detailed. With topics such as the Hundred Years War, Mongol Invasions, and "Is Milan Historical?" being discussed, the "Kings and Generals" channel is your place for massive battles and incredible incursions. So robust is this channel that there are topics covered I hadn't even heard of before. Young people love history. Even more than that, they love seeing history in action and this channel has more action than a Fast and Furious movie.
What if Al Thist - If your son, daughter, or even you are fan of alternative histories, then this YouTube Channel is a MUST. It examines how life might've been different if the South had won the Civil War. Or, how might things be different if the Soviet Union had never come into existence? Admittedly, if you're looking for straight-up history lessons this isn't the place. Rather, "What If Al Thist" allows users to get a different take on many of the cathedrals we've come to know in history. The content is well researched, well put together, and given to us in bigger than bite-size chunks, but nothing on the level of a Ken Burns documentary.
Suibhne - Filled with animated histories of places like England, Switzerland, Poland, etc., these 5-30 minute offerings are truly one of a kind. With engaging animations that are sure to capture the imagination, it is honestly remarkable how well done this channel is. The production value alone would be enough to grab your children's attention. This says nothing of the breadth of content stuffed into these "cartoons." "Suibhne" is one YouTube Channel you can always turn to for homeschooling content!
Ten Minute History - While the content here might skew a little older (mainly for students that are in the AP realm of their history studies), this channel really is for everybody. Sure, it covers well versed topics as "The Fall of Rome" or "The Thirty Years War," but then it talks about things like "The Velvet Revolution" and "The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact" which are events in history that I never knew existed. Filled with deep dives and information that often isn't brought up in classes or textbooks, this channel somehow manages to make its content bite-sized.
A Kid Explains History - Skewing a lot younger than some of the offerings on this list, the title of this YouTube Channel says it all. Featuring an 11 year named Mr. Q, this young person discusses such historical figures as William Shakespeare, events like World War II, as well as the history of Star Wars. If you're homeschooling a diehard history buff, you'll probably pass on a lot of the content on this channel. However, these videos are well produced, Mr. Q is comfortable in front of the camera, so this never plays like a father-son project.
Alternate History Hub - The title here says it all. Tackling subjects like how different the world would be if the Axis powers had won World War II, or if Ronald Reagan had never occupied the Oval Office, this channel is all "What if?" and conjecture. The animations are unique, the storytelling quick and simple, however, there is a decent amount of content that heads toward the 30 minute mark. So be warned that this channel may not be for a little ones and isn't necessarily as objective as some of the channels on this list. That said, it is awesome in terms of content and how that content is delivered is something older students will LOVE.
PBS Eons - This YouTube Channel is awesome. Let's be honest, anything PBS does is bound to be top-shelf, but its focus and coverage of the beginnings of life on earth all the way to the most recent Ice Age is phenomenal. It explains things like "How the Egg Came First," "When the Rainforests Collapsed" and A LOT more. Done with a flashy, animated editing style, "PBS Eons" is the kind of channel that skews nicely between younger and older adults. It might be a few clicks above what a really young child might understand, but that doesn't mean that they won't be entertained by the storytelling.
Kids Learning Tube - Okay, if you're studying for the SAT's or homeschooling only middle and high school students, the "Kids Learning Tube" isn't going to be for you. If you've got young children and you want to introduce different parts of the world through song... you've found a channel that will never stop giving. Featuring "Countries of the World," "Planets of Our Solar System" as well as a playlist of "Everyday Learning," there literally doesn't seem to be anything this channel doesn't cover.
Travel Kids - Go all over the world with these young adventurers as they explore places like Thailand, India, China and much, much more. This channel is the perfect antidote to your homeschooling day because it shows young people out of the house. They are able to see and learn about parts of the world they never knew existed. The best part is that while some of these videos cover a whole country, a lot of of them go deeper into unique things in the country like animals, toys, etc. Done in a bite-sized way, each video is like a mini-lesson and younger people won't even know they are learning something!
Deep Astronomy - Whether you want to show your child the far side of the moon, or pontificate on an asteroid that's supposed to make an appearance in 2029, "Deep Astronomy" lives up to its title. The creators of this content aren't merely presenting facts, they are doing their level best to show how these out of this world concepts pertain to our daily lives. With videos that are neither pithy or in your face, families can sit back and digest this well crafted content. The best part? This channel goes out of its way to make big concepts feel small.
Martian Colonist - Is Mars on your child's mind? Then this is the channel for them. Dedicated to the eventual colonization of the Red Planet, these lengthy videos (some are close to an hour so you might want to pick and choose how much you show) tackle ideas like "Building a Martian Society", is "Mars One" legitimate, and "Will NASA Ever Send People to Mars?" Filled with big ideas such as "How Would We Survive on Mars?" Or "How Will We Work on Mars?" This channel is an endless source of wonder and entertainment for many people who see a future in the skies.
NASA - With 5.36 million subscribers, the "NASA Channel" on YouTube is clearly the place to go for your astronomy needs. With respect the world over, all one needs to see is the NASA seal and they know the content being put forth is legitimate. And it's highly entertaining as well which should certainly appeal to younger people. Featuring a Live Stream of NASA TV, parents may have actually found a piece of bingeable content that they don't mind their kids watching. The best part is that should you have an aspiring astronaut in your family, they can get all the questions answered (and more) right here!
Isaac Arthur - This channel asks such questions as "Can We Have a Trillion People on Earth?" And it also has videos with titles like "Advanced Metamaterials". So you can expect a healthy dose of futurism here. This is awesome because it allows young people to see how things are today and then wonder how they may be in the future. The videos tend to push the half-hour mark and they are fairly dense. That doesn't mean that they are hard to follow or even uninteresting. Just be warned, this might not the channel for really young children.
Fraser Cain - This channel is a happy medium between the buttoned down presentation of the "NASA Channel" and something like the "Isaac Arthur" channel. Fraser Cain is like a news channel for astronomy where such things like galaxies, black holes, and "Could Jupiter be a Gravity Lens?" are tracked. This channel is good because it seems to skew in all demographic directions. Younger kids can enjoy shows like "I Finally Watch a Rocket Launch" and "This is the Highest Resolution Image Ever Taken of the Sun," while older students can appreciate offerings such as "Is there a Shadow Biosphere? Searching For Life On Earth That Isn't Related To Us." A wealth of information indeed!
Star Talk - Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the foremost researchers on anything related to the stars. So you better believe that his "Star Talk" channel on YouTube is about as robust as it gets. With podcasts and videos on Coronavirus, aliens, and why Earth is smooth, "Star Talk" is sometimes flashy, and always interesting. Honestly, this channel does tend to skew a bit older, but the good news is that the ever inquisitive mind of our homeschool population will have their insatiable curiosity quenched if they hang out here long enough.
Mathologer - With videos titled "PI MUST DIE!!!" and "The Secret of Parabolic Ghosts", it might seem like this channel is anything but accessible for our homeschooling audience. This couldn't be anywhere further from the truth. Mathologer takes everyday things that young people know, and tries to show their connection to mathematics. Done with a simple, easy style, it seems like this material might not be intended for very young kids. Most young adults and adult teens will probably be thankful to have these big concepts made small enough to understand.
Ants Canada - This is one of those homeschooling channels that is for everyone. Sure, there may be concepts that might go over the heads of our young learners, but the visuals in the videos are enough to hold anybody's attention. These videos really take us into the world of ants. We see how they live, work together, and react as their environments constantly change. We see queen ants laying eggs, new farms, as well as how ant colonies grow and establish rules. It is interesting as anything young people are going to see in a big budget Hollywood movie.
Wildlife Aid TV - One of the biggest questions with this Coronavirus quarantine of the world is how is endangered wildlife being effected? That question and more gets answered in this very informative and family friendly YouTube Channel. Viewers get to see just about every animal they can imagine get rescued. From rabbits, to foxes, to bats, this thorough channel is jam-packed with information, and goes a long way towards dispelling preconceived notions we may have about certain animals. If you're only going to have a few Animal channels in your child's homeschooling curriculum, "Wildlife Aid TV" needs to be a part of it.
Lelslie The Bird Nerd - Ever wanted to know what all the calls of Blue Jays are? Do your kids (or you) have an interest in "Birds in the Spring North"? Wherever you come out on this avian species, it seems like anybody young or old wouldn't find something delightful about these creatures. The good news is that the demographic for this show is truly a wide spectrum. Younger people will enjoy the whimsical nature of these intricately put together videos, while older viewers will seize upon the wealth of information they offer. At a time when we have to stay at home, this channel has the amazing ability to take us to another place.
BBC Earth - For a great many years, "BBC Earth" has been a cornerstone for all things nature, science and human. Many younger and older viewers will automatically come to this channel being familiar with the Planet Earth documentaries that are so popular. There are videos that show how the Humboldt Squid hunt in packs. Other videos show the "Top 5 Best Animals Mother's", while there are videos of wet animals shaking in slow motion. Chances are you going to teach your child science (or they will be doing it in a distance learning capacity), "BBC Earth" can supplement any lesson plan.
Discovery - Much like "BBC Earth", the "Discovery Channel" on YouTube features some fairly bite size content as well. While "BBC Earth" takes a more straight forward approach to its content, "Discovery" is about telling stories that are steeped in various sciences, natural history, engineering, geography, and more. While older viewers will probably gravitate towards shows like Naked and Afraid, there are also interesting videos on cars, gold-mining, and expeditions to exotic lands.
National Geographic Kids - The title says it all for this channel. Also, it seems like a lot of students schooling was supplemented by some of these videos well before we started to homeschool. This well curated channel has videos on Climate Change, smart tech, and swimming with large animals. The visuals are breathtaking so that's sure to grab a lot of attention, and the content is broken down in a way that it can be digested by very young viewers. Don't be fooled by the title, even older viewers will find something here to glean information from.
Big Think - This channel aims to show you the premier thinkers in a given field and how their "out of the box" thinking is their core strength. With content that is both bite-size and long form, users can pick and choose how large or small they want their dose of information. While the content on big think probably won't help homeschooling parents with really little kids, middle schoolers and up will find answers to questions they maybe hadn't even considered. Such topics as fighting phone distraction, finding your purpose, and space travel are all available here.
Smithsonian Channel - Teaming up with Showtime Networks, the "Smithsonian Channel" is doing their best to make cutting edge content... and succeeding. Most people probably just know of the Smithsonian Institute as a place where special things in Americana are put on display. Well, with shows like "Orangutan Jungle School," "America In Color", and shows like "Aerial America," it appears that this modern institution has become something more. The good news is that the content spans a broad spectrum so you can show older homeschoolers the longer form content, while keeping younger homeschoolers happy with shows like "Sea Turtle" rescue.
Be Amazed - Fact videos are an amazing subset of the of the content that is offered on YouTube. This channel prides themselves on having "amazingly interesting bite-size Documentary styled videos." Whether your stay-at-home students want to see graffiti art, or are interested in dumb ways people have died, or simply want to learn about "Amazing Secrets in Everyday Things," this is the channel for them. In fact, so interesting and intricate are these videos, that it seems like really young and really old people will enjoy what this channel has to offer. The best part? Everything is done with a dash of humor.
Hot Mess - This channel is great for people of all ages because it deals with Climate Change. Whether you agree that it's real or not, the reality of the situation is that no homeschooler's life is going to be made worse by learning about our planet. Whether they want to know about how certain foods effect the climate, what cars are kindest to the climate, or what kind of clothing brands are friendliest to the climate... all of that is available here. The content, for the most part, tends to stay under the 10 minute range. So, parents can use bits and pieces or whole episodes to make a point or supplement another lesson their student is working on.