Sunday, January 27, 2013

TV Trance

Television Trance

Confession: we don't have a television here at our house.  And we are now homeschoolers.  I realize this pushes me dangerously close to the denim jumper club (but I took a no-frumpy-jumper-oath upon completion of my teaching degree).  It doesn't mean we are "screen free"- we have been known to watch the odd show on our laptops and we let the kids play iPad games- but we do watch very little.  Some days I would like nothing better than to turn on the television for the kids, but generally I don't.  Here are a few thoughts on why...

1) The looks on those faces up there- total-utter-passive-blah faces.  And they would sit there for as long as I let them.  Uncool.

2) When they are staring at the screen, they are not playing together. Though they do like to act out what they watch later, I prefer them to come up with their own imaginary games (and not run around my house repeatedly screaming "Where are we going?  To the big red hill!")

3) Many kids will play while the television is on in the background, but not my kids- especially not Matias.  If it is on, they are there, 6 inches away from the screen.  I think this has to do with his intense personality, but he will stand there and memorize everything on it...which is why we first decided to get rid of the television.  Perhaps after long enough they would lose interest, but I don't really want to find out how long "long enough" is.

4) The rapidly changing input.  As a teacher, I don't know how I can compete with something that blinks, flashes and changes multiple times a second.  I cannot be that interesting, nor do I want to be.  I believe too much screen time can inhibit the ability to focus, and puts the kids into passive, rather than active mode.  

5) The arguments.  Nothing will drive my kids to anger like wanting a show/losing the privilege of watching a show/having to turn off the show when it is over.  Seriously- there is NOTHING that makes them as whiny/screamy/angry.  So we skip it.  

6) When I DO need to really contain/entertain/make them rest, it is magic.  They will move mountains (or at least clean up their rooms) in order to watch a show. 

But what about...

...all the kids who watch television and turn out just fine?
Like I did?  Awesome.  I have no problem with whatever decision other families make.  If it works for you, rock it.  And invite my kids over and let them drool on your tv stand- they will love you for it.

...those days when you just want some peace?  
I miss it dearly and desperately wish I could plop them in front of the television.

...the great educational shows?
My kids do watch the odd PBS show, which I am all for.  In fact, I'd like to adopt Sid the Science Kid.  That said, there are lots of ways to learn letters and reading, and I do tend to believe that most of them should involve actually holding a book.

...your poor uncool kids who don't know the characters? 
Somehow they still know some of them...Thomas, Dora, Super Why.  They hear about them from friends, and choose books with those characters from the library.  And don't get me started on Disney princesses.  Fear not for the fate of licensed characters- they are alive and well in our home!

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