A fellow unschooler wrote a blog post about what she had learned from watching TV and it inspired me to think through some of the things I have learned too - I am going to start chronologically and will probably miss a few!
So, when I was a child there was no such thing as 24 hour Television or unlimited channels - we had a choice of 4 and that lovely picture of little girl when nothing was being transmitted
I don't really remember much before the age of primary, and my favourite programs were (I think) Home and Away and Neighbours! Through that I learned a little about Australia, and also how the networks sold their programmes as we in the UK were always 6 months behind!
I loved to watch Rolf Harris in his cartoon club and learnt some great art things and how to draw cartoons, as well as being exposed to more fun instruments (think didgeridoo)
As a teenager I, along with my siser loved Disney films - The little mermaid, Beauty and the beast, and Aladdin inspired me to learn how cartoons were made, and to think about the actors/actresses behind the voices - we spent lots of time assigning ourselves characters (I was Ursula the witch in little mermaid) and learning the songs to sing along too!
Wimbledon was watched most years (mainly as my sister loved it) but I learned how tennis scoring worked and we often were inspired to go and have a game ourselves, football was a sport that I wasn't that interested in but when Chesterfield got through to the Semi Finals of the FA Cup in 1997 football fever took over everyone and I started watching some of the matches and got my head around the offside rule
I learned more about history through interesting films than I did at school! And I was often interested enough to go and check out how true the facts were! So films like, Titanic, Evita, Les Miserables, Roots, Gone with the Wind, Amazing Grace took me through slavery, American History, French Revolution,and Argentina's politics.
Watching Friends taught me a bit about New York and some American Traditions, thanksgiving, baby showers etc
I went through a long phase of enjoying American comedy - paramount channel - in all honesty I can't recall learning a lot through these but there was probably some gems there!
Nature programmes I love and obviously have learned a lot - oooo the latest "nature" film that I absolutely loved was The March of the Penguins - but I was inspired by watching Happy Feet! I find penguins fascinating, how the male is the "keeper of the egg" and how they huddle to keep warm - absolutely amazing! I would never have had that interest triggered though if I hadn't watched happy feet!
I have enjoyed cooking programs and gowing your own veg programs, where I have gleaned good tips and been encouraged to try myself - successfully grew courgettes this year from seeds! Kirsties vintage programs and other diy shows have given me great ideas for decorating and storage in the house.
My husband loves his car shows and Storage Hunter type programmes, and I have learned a bit about cars and selling on stock etc
I have to admit that I don't get to choose what goes on our tv much anymore but I do glean interesting facts from the shows my family watches and I love to see how some shows spark an interest in my children - my eldest daughter loved High School Musical and ended up looking at what other films Ashley Tisdale had been in - we were most interested to discover she was the voice of Candace in Phineas and Ferb!
I am surprised how much I have gleaned from tv and probably if I thought about it even more I would remember some more bits! I think maybe I will do an experiment to note just what is learned through tv in a week in our house!