Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Hudson Valley (NY)
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Sunmountain, I agree with almost everything you said. I'll take it further though.
I don't let my children watch tv in a vacuum. I am always around. I can hear even if I am not watching. We talk about what they see -- not in an artificial way but because these things come up naturally. The problems come up and the good things come up, and they learn a lot, even from the shows that are not "supposed" to be educational.
I trust my children. I give them choices. They can turn the television on whenever they want (it helps that we don't have cable and PBS is one of the few stations that comes in well). They can watch whatever videos we have whenever they want and they can pick videos out of the children's section of the library and occasionally the video store. There are times, like when it's cold and snowy or when they're sick or more tired than usual, that they watch several hours in a day. But then there are other times when they actually go entire months or even seasons without it, completely by their own choice. And when they are watching, they turn it off a lot on their own, when they feel they have watched too much or when they don't like a show, or they feel like going out, or have been inspired by a show to go try something out (this happens with Zoom in particular) or whatever. I also see that my older daughter is a lot more interested in tv than my younger daughter and always has been. But she is also obviously a more visual learner than her sister. She takes after her father (not after me!), and he has done well in life by being a visual learner. My younger daughter is very often not interested when her sister is watching, and she'll do her own thing or hang out with me.
There are shows that annoy me but they like. Why should they be subject to my tastes? And they know what annoys me, and why, and they give me good reasons for why they like the shows, sometimes they even convince me or I convince them, but we always learn from each other. We do examine the marketing ploys as well.
But isn't even Raggedy Ann a marketing ploy? Didn't she have books that went with her? What about Paddington Bear? Aren't these considered classics? How are these so different than shows and books and merchandise going together?
And, as I said, they talk about what they see with me. I allow them their freedom with this, but I am there for them, and I see it working.
The fact that it is sponsored by the department of education bothers me only in that there are these arbitrary definitions of what is educational and what is not. But then, I'm an unschooler so I have a whole philosophy about that.
[edited to add a missing word]