Monday, January 24, 2011

Unschool Monday- Television

(girls watching a movie at my parents house)

One of the big topics in the unschooling world (particularly radical unschooling)is TV.
Do you watch some? None? Self-regulated? Commercial? Just DVD's? Only "educational"? Lots of everything? None of the above?

I must admit I've done a pretty big turnaround in the last 12 months.

We were TV free for quite some time, and it was fine. We all were perfectly capable of entertaining ourselves without the box. But when we went to places where a TV was on it was hard to get the kids to do anything else except park themselves in front of the TV and watch any old thing that was on.

Then we had a portable DVD player that I just pulled out whenever it suited (me mainly) and we enjoyed movies only. It was very restricted and choice of content was very limited. There was a lot of fighting over how much was watched. Kids wanting more Vs parents wanting less.

Now we have a TV, granted it's not a huge flat screen with surround sound but it does the job. We have access to all of the free stations including all the digital ones and we have a DVD player attached to that. I would say that we watch a fair bit of telly. Lots of different content. Sometimes it's the Toy Story series over and over and other times it David Attenborough or Masterchef. We all use the TV to wind down or enjoy stories. We all learn things. There is very little fighting when it comes to how much and when we watch.

The big difference is fear.

I was so scared of all of the "irreparable damage" that was being done to my children's brains from watching television that it made me anxious. Taking the fear out of the equation makes me able to look at the TV more objectively and see it for what it is-an entertainment device.

I certainly am still involved in guidance when it comes to content and time spent but it's more flexible than the simple "no" that I used to give. I might say "you have been watching for a few hours, do you want me to set up some craft?" or similar instead of "you have been watching for too long-I'm switching it off". It probably doesn't surprise anyone that most times the craft (or similar) wins. I still have a few straight out no's when it comes to content-such as Disney Princess crap or MTV-but I think they are flat out inappropriate at this time. Most other content is up for negotiation and we can make family decisions.

I do think that TV is a very personal issue and my views are just that. MY views. I really hate the "you need to deschool more" attitude to some families that have chosen not to use TV. Keep your mind open and do what you feel works best for your family.

The Owlet Mama herself is blogging about technology as well today! Get over to Unschool Monday and check it out.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Awesome post, Shae. It's all about balance and what works for the family. And about being willing to keep an open mind and not afraid to make changes. Nodding along here.

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