No screens??

How do you entertain your Kids???!!!

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This is what no screens looks like at our house.

The kids are much easier to entertain.  Sticks and leaves …  for over an hour.

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Why go screen free?

Have we ever let our kids play tablets or watch tv mindlessly?  Yes.

Will we ever again?  Probably not.

What happened?

It was the first practice for my girls’ competitive cheerleading team, and my boys were looking around, bored, sticky and hot in the crowded viewing area to see if there were other kids to play with.  There were, there were almost ten other boys Caleb’s age, but they all had their necks flexed as far forward as possible, transfixed by tiny flashing screens.  There were even kids as young as Owen (who is two by the way) breathlessly holding onto their parents’ cell phones as surprise egg videos played for them.  At one point, a mom was receiving a call, when she tried to retrieve her cell phone from her toddler… you would have thought she was trying to pull out her kidney!  All the moms seemed to nod, knowingly.

Hey, I am a mom of 4, I totally get public displays of bad behaviour, but can we not see a causal link here parents?  This technology is addictive and inappropriate for this age.

The day this happened, I did still allow my kids to access screens at least most week days.  When Owen napped, the other kids could have an hour or so of tablet or tv time. Although I didn’t love it, I figured it gave me a chance to catch up on work I needed to do or have some alone time.

However, watching those small children clutching onto those screens as fiercely as a drug addict would his next hit… it flipped a switch inside of me.

It has now been a month, and I can’t see us going back to screens.  The changes that I have witnessed have been spectacular and as I have researched further into screens and their impact on young people, it has solidified my decision.

Look out for part 2 on how we have removed screens.

Homeschool Schedule – First week edition

Getting back to doing “school” after a summer filled with sun, heat, swimming, hiking, park days with friends, gardening, exploring, building, birding and deer watching can be challenging… or feel about as much fun as a toothache.

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However, this year, I took a different approach.  First, we broke up our first week.  We started on Monday, but had a park day with other homeschoolers Tuesday, and took the day off otherwise.  Thursday afternoon, some of my kids spent swimming with our homeschool group.  Friday, I set aside for reading aloud, crafting, and playing with friends outside.  In total, we did only 3 full days of “school”, although if you’re a homeschooler, you know that finding bugs at the park, birdwatching in the yard, and even dealing with disagreements among grade school kids always turns into a lesson.

As we are easing back into school, our first week of school’s schedule looks something like this:

7am – wake the kids with our classical music for violin

7:30 Breakfast

8am Language arts lesson (reading, phonics, spelling, fine arts) with my 5 year old.  Independently she does her handwriting and 5 minutes of quiet reading with her assigned book.

8:30am Language arts with my 6 year old, she then independently does handwriting and 10 minutes of reading in an assigned book.

9:30am Language arts with my 8 year old, (spelling, phonics, vocabulary, writing, reading, fine arts and geography), then he does 20 minutes of quiet reading in his assigned book and handwriting.

10:30am snacks for all; and math with my 6 year old, while 8 year old listens to Musical Multiplication.

11am Math with my 8 year old

11 45am Science or History (2 days a week on each) all together

1 – Read aloud to the kids while they eat lunch

1:30pm – 2:30 Kids read quietly or sleep in their rooms

2:30 Kids play outside

3pm Art projects

Bedtime I read a few chapters of our read alouds, once the toddler is in bed.

Next week will be a whole different beast as we add a few other subjects… but at least the first week, I wasn’t sweating by 9am!!