I have a love/hate relationship with subscription services. We have done SO many over the past 5 years, it’s going to take me a long time to add them all to this page. The thing is, there has not been a single one that I didn’t like. All of them are either really fun or educational or both. However, due to time and financial constraints, I still try to subscribe to as few services as possible at one time.
Educational subscription services fall in several categories in my opinion. Some of them, like History Unboxed or the Magic School Bus science kits, are good, but not worth the cost in my opinion. Others, like Masterpiece Society, are really expensive, but worth the cost. However, I can’t justify doing it year round when some months we get so busy we don’t even use it. For services like these, even though it is more expensive, I just do a month or quarter at a time and try to squeeze it in as much as possible during that time.
Others, like No Sweat Nature Study, SQUILT, and You are an Artist, are wonderful and really affordable, we just don’t have TIME to take full advantage of them. For ones like these, I still like to do a month at a time and really focus on doing at least one lesson each week during that month. That way I can alternate what we’re focusing on each month and not waste my money on services we are not using.
I also like mail order kits like Raddish Kids, Tinkercrate, and Little Passports. However, frequently life gets so busy that we start falling behind and accumulating boxes. I don’t mind, however, because I can cancel my subscription and then take a little break while we catch up.
We also subscribe to a number of services with educational shows. Currently my kids are gradually working their way through the Magic School Bus series on Netflix. However, in the past we’ve also used Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, and Curiosity Stream. It doesn’t really matter. Technically, there are plenty of internet sites that offer free educational shows like Wild Kratts on PBS or Liberty’s Kids on YouTube. My kids do not watch a lot of TV, but I like having something I can occasionally let them watch guilt-free.
So what is the one subscription service I can’t live without? Right now it’s Scribd. It is an audiobook and e-book service that lets you listen or read as much as you want while you are a member. Unlike Audible, you are not limited to one title a month. The catch is that once you stop paying, you no longer have access to the titles. This is fine by me. My kids and I have listened to a ton of fantastic audiobooks on Scribd and I love it for myself too.
Subscription services are not a necessity. However, they do make life more fun. I recommend picking a couple services and trying them out over the course of the year to see what is a good fit for your family and budget.