When I was young and being educated in the public schools, I remember ever so often our class would be shown videos. This was before VCRs, back in the days of projector film strips. The videos didn’t have animation, rather they were a collection of slides shown as a voice narrated the subject matter.
When I clicked on the first video to review Zane Education, memories flooded back to me as the girls and I learned about the Texas Alamo. Slide by slide we watched the images go by and heard story that must have been recorded before I was even born. As we watched, the words the narrator spoke were shown in the caption below the screen.
How It Works
According to Zane Education’s website, the captions, or subtitles, are “The Missing Piece” in children’s education. The use of subtitles is said to improve reading and literacy skills. Zane Education provides over 2,000 educational videos in hundreds of topics with tons of quizzes available to measure learning retention.
I personally enjoyed several of the Texas history and geography videos. I was surprised to see that they were available. However, considering the number of videos, they really do cover so many topics you don’t generally expect. And there are videos for all ages. Like I said, I enjoyed the Texas history, but there were also videos covering high school science all the way down to kindergarten music lessons. I think that is what I liked best about Zane Education is that there really is something for everyone in their collection of videos.
One of the things I disliked about the videos though, was the fact that the material is presented in a secular, non-Christian way. The science videos are all based on evolutionary teachings. The history is taught from a humanistic worldview. So I found that for our family we were very limited in the amount of videos we could use.
Personally, I believe that all educational subject matter is religious in nature. There is no such thing as neutral teachings. And while I will occasionally teach or read from a book that does not possess a Christian worldview, I like to be able to either edit out parts that I find unacceptable, or take the time to discuss with the children why we believe the way we do and why the material is contradictory to our beliefs.
I found that this was difficult to do while watching the videos because the material on the videos is presented as truth. I felt like I was on the defensive rather than the offensive. This might be OK for the older children who are already well grounded in their beliefs and are able to pick out other worldviews in the material. However for our younger guys whose foundation is still being laid I find that it is more beneficial to pour into them the truth at this stage. That way they are able to recognize false teachings as they mature.
I should add that as part of the review, I was given a very comprehensive Christian Home Learning Guide that is a Christian companion to the Zane Education Videos which I greatly appreciated. And while I wasn’t able to read all 424 pages of the guide, I was able to skim some parts of it. It seemed like it was a wealth of information even without the videos. I just didn’t feel comfortable trying to reconcile the guide and the videos for my younger kids (which are 10 and below).
On a positive note though, the kids really enjoyed learning about some of the great composers such as Bach. So I do think there is some good material there, I think you just have to be selective and make sure that you are comfortable with the material. And thankfully Zane Education offers a free membership option where you are able to view demo videos and see some of the material available on the site.
Zane Education offers several levels of membership. To view the benefits available with each level of membership, please view Zane Educations Membership Information page.