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Zane Education {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

July 29, 2012

Zane Education Logo
Have you ever felt like your homeschool could use a  little pizzazz where technology is concerned?  I know with our homeschooling, we watch approved videos on YouTube occasionally but otherwise, video is generally left out.  It’s mostly mom and/or kids reading aloud or to themselves, looking at pictures if any exist.

Zane Education is an online subscription educational program (see pricing below).  They have allowed their students the ability to do both – read to AND watch videos at the same time!  This K-12 program is based on studying various topics all the while improving your student’s literacy skills.    Simply put, Zane’s online educational videos are all (except Math) subtitled with closed captions.  This way your child can learn to read along with what they are hearing.  They call this “The Missing Piece” because it is often overlooked by other educational video providers.   My daughter (age 11) commented that she liked the “words at the bottom of the screen”, that they “helped to keep the movies interesting”.

Zane Education provides online Visual Learning using subtitled video to teach 260+ curriculum topics with interactive quizzes for online testing, free lesson plans & interactive study tools.  Their subjects include the following:  art, music, geography, religious studies, math, biology, health, history, library skills, literature, science, and social sciences.  The age levels are broken down into elementary, middle school, high school, college, and adult categories.  There are also additional study tools – a glossary, encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus, and world fact book.  There are user guides under each tab – classroom, home education, special needs, and extra curriculum.  Zane’s Getting Started Guide is a great jumping off point to see how they will meet your needs.
Videos, Quizzes, Study Centre

How we used the program:

I either previewed the videos or sat with the children while they watched the videos.  There was one exception to this – the Daniel Boone section.  I let the older two watch this collection of videos without me and without my having pre-watched them.  We had watched several of the videos in the “American Pioneering Experience” and I felt confident about the content at this point.  The only bad part was, I don’t know as much about Daniel Boone as I thought I did!  This meant that I couldn’t help them with the quiz if they had questions and that the lesson plan questions were lost on us for these videos because I wasn’t certain of the answers.  (see “Dislikes” below)  This proved to me that I needed to go back to previewing or watching the videos with the kids.

After each video, we would ask discussion questions to be sure they acquired content from the viewing.  All of them, down to the first grader, could answer questions about the video right after watching it.  This showed me they were paying attention and gathering information about what they were watching and not just zoning out.  It also showed me that the material was on a level they could understand.  I had to be pretty particular about the videos for the first grader.  He watched some of the elementary music videos about composers and wasn’t able to regurgitate much.  He said they were boring.  But, he watched them the whole way through, so at least he gave it effort.  In general, I thought that most of the videos were more on target for my older two kids (3rd and 5th grade).  The Lollipop Dragon videos were in line for the first grader, but they were a little young for the olders.  All that being said, you really need to preview the videos.  And, I wouldn’t just let my children choose any video they wanted in the selection.  I did notice there was education written for a much older crowd in the science arena that I wouldn’t want my children to see at their tender ages.

Colorful Tabs


  • I love that each student can move at their own pace.  I had my older children reading/listening/watching about Daniel Boone while the youngers enjoyed the science of animals.
  • You can sort the content by age or by subject.  This is most helpful when searching for specific children and their needs.  (Though I wish it were broken down a little bit more.)
  • When looking at the grades on the quizzes, the program shows which answers your student got wrong and then supplies the correct answer.  Much nicer than just giving you a score and leaving you to wonder what needs to be covered in more detail.
  • Multiple children can use one subscription to the program.  There are not additional fees for each child using the program.
  • Because you logon to Zane’s server to get to your account, you can access the videos wherever you have internet access.  Nice that it’s not restricted to just one computer.


  • Evolution videos.  Good exposure,however, this information doesn’t mesh with my belief system.
  • This is an enormous amount of information, however, I don’t think it could be used as a stand-alone curriculum.
  • There are lesson plans for each video which include discussion questions, vocabulary, and furthering the discussion questions – all of this is good.  The thing I didn’t like about it was that there were no answers.  The lesson plans I looked at referred me to “Appendix F” for the answers.  I never did find Appendix F.  The questions were not difficult, but it did mean that I was going to have to pay attention to the videos right along with my kids.
  • The movies are not moving, as in, they don’t move.  They are rather still pictures that advance sort of like a slideshow.
  • The movies are broken down into categories, but these categories aren’t as detailed as I would have liked.  It’s hard to find a show for a 1st grader in the midst of “all elementary shows”.

My opinion?  There is a wealth of information here and huge variety, but I didn’t like that it was presented like an old movie in snapshots.  (However, the visualization with someone reading to you is generally more engaging to students than just reading alone.)  I also didn’t like having to preview every single show before the kids watched it.  That got old pretty quick as I don’t time in my schedule to preview and prepare a lot of material.  In the above breakdown, it shows that there are programs for K-12 and I believe this is true.  What I didn’t like was that the best breakdown you could get was elementary to middle school to high school, etc.  Kindergarten through 5th grade is a lot of years!  Especially when I was looking for something specific for say my 1st grader or just for the 3rd grader.  I wish the information was broken down a little farther.

The bottom line…I don’t think my family could afford $17.99 per month by getting the Gold Membership.  I think Zane would be a great addition to any homeschool program, but since I don’t think it could stand alone, I hesitate to recommend such an investment.  It would be wise to try a short membership first (the Topic Taster Membership option – see below for details) before committing to this program OR take advantage of their 35% discount below.

The best value, by far, is the Gold Membership.  At $17.99 per month you receive access to all subjects and all videos (over 1,500)!  Or, you can opt to specify ages/grade levels with a Silver Membership at $12.99 per month.  OR, choose your own subject and join with a Bronze Membership for only $8.99 per month.  All the options/levels are described in an easy-to-read document if you have questions.

– BUT – enjoy a 35% discount on the purchase of any annual 12-month Gold, Silver or Bronze Membership subscription now through the end of August 2012 using this promo code at checkout:  ZE726HSM  Also, check them out on Facebook for more information.


DISCLAIMER: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a complimentary subscription to Zane Education for the purpose of completing this review. All the opinions expressed here are my own and are offered honestly in exchange for the product. The receipt of the product in no way influenced my honest assessment.
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