Unschooling and unlimited tv / movies. What do you unschooling mamas think? Do you have limitations? Movie rating restrictions? What works /doesn't work in your home when it comes to tv?
We just discussed this in part on another thread. Some people think that limiting tv (or food choices, bedtimes or anything) means you are not an unschooler. I don't agree and am also curious to see how this thread is answered by self identified unschoolers
I consider myself an unschooler though lately I haven't been using the term because of what I wrote above. I limit tv. Actually limit is not the word since I unplugged the dang thing :LOL We've been tv free (that means not even videos and DVDs) for over 2 months now. I have seen such an incredible, positive change around here that there is no way anyone can convince me it was good for us. I turned it off as an experiment (after reading stuff on MDC, the turnoff site, etc) but I'm keeping it off because of the results! (results such as a calmer dd and mama, more family time, more creative activities, less whining - the two year old is still a two year old though
I don't think tv is evil and I think there are many educational and recreational uses. I just think moderation is the key and that wasn't happening. Not for lack of trying over the years, believe me. I have heard to just let them watch as much as they want but I don't believe that is good for developing little brains and bodies (ok, not that it's good for grownups either . . .).
My dd has watched tv a handful of times at other people's houses (friends and grandmas). She immediately zones in like a zombie no matter what is on. Content doesn't matter, it's just the flickering box that gets her. That's what she used to be like around here all the time and I'm so happy it's gone. Not that life is perfect, :LOL Don't get me started on health problems, hospital stays, money issues, cars,
But at least tv isn't adding to the discord right now
That's my story
I wonder if this thread will spark off another (polite!) debate on whether people like me are really unschoolers?
Oh, really quick, I consider myself an unschooler because my dd is free to learn what she wants, when she wants, if she wants. I offer things I think she'd be interested in and if she says no, I say ok. Or sometimes she tells me things she wants to do/learn and I try and help her with that. We don't have a curriculum, a school time or even an agenda of what she has to learn when (and I live in an awesome state so I'm pretty free and don't have to keep detailed records or make things seem "schoolish" on paper).
We have unlimited TV, but I confess it's only this way because the kids are self-limiting well within my comfort zone. Most days the TV doesn't come on at all. They watch maybe 2 or 3 hours a week.
We have an understanding that you don't turn the TV on 'to see what's on.' You should have a specific show in mind when you turn it on and you should turn it off after what you'd planned to watch is over. There are good TV guides on-line. It takes just a couple of minutes to pull up the guide, then a few more to browse through and decide exactly what it is you want to watch. I want choices to be made free of the seductiveness of television's "suck them in and don't let them turn it off" ploys. Theoretically my kids would be free to sit down and plan out an eleven-hour marathon of Simpsons episodes interspersed with soap operas. But the reality is that this is never going to happen.
Although some people might think this rule about planning in advance is contrary to the free, uncoerced, unrestricted access that unschooling is all about, I think this is one of those places where being part of a big family in a small space requires some concessions on the principle of individual freedom. Our TV is in our open living/dining/family room area. If one child decides to watch "Art Attack", the others are going to be distracted from what they're doing and pulled in. When our choices affect others, I think it's only right to use a judicious decision-making process. For us this is it.
The seductiveness of TV puts it in a different league from other choices in my family. The programming is designed to manipulate our choices. I'm working hard to give my kids the tools to resist that manipulation (watching TV with them and pointing out that "coming up next!" trailers are a ploy to entice us not to turn the TV off at the end of the show is a great first step). But if my kids' television habits strayed outside of my comfort zone, I confess I'd use more heavy-handed means to bring things back in line. Thankfully I my relatively light-touch TV rules have been enough.
We've had times in the past when TV has become a habitual part of the day, and everything has suffered in our home: relationships, productivity, creativity, activity, etc.. I am really happy with the balance we've achieved.
My older children have unrestricted tv viewing...but I would also agree that it's probably mostly because it's within my comfort zone. Movies would be the same.
My older kids are 12 and almost 16. They had little to no tv as young children and then just a few channels and then in the past few years we've gotten satellite (we live in a very rural area so there just wasn't much tv anyway). And yes we limited movie ratings...not just as a blanket rating thing though - more if a child specifically wanted to see something that we may not be ok with then we discuss things to see what the motivation was and then we would go watch it and decide. I think this happened maybe 2x. One of which it turned out to be that he was interested in something on the commercial that really had nothing to do with the movie and one ended up to be a movie that his dad took him to.
They choose to have the tv off more than they have it on. They have time periods where they may go through more watching but it's very rare.
We don't do baby/toddler tv.
I don't think that if someone chooses to limit tv it automatically makes them not be an unschooler. I think much of that has to do more with the mindset. There was some discussion about this in other threads.
No matter what someone wants to think they do...we all limit things in different ways. We make choices about what we allow our children to be exposed to. Even those who are the most relaxed about these things still have boundaries and limits.
I also wouldn't have a problem with tv if it was self limiting within my comfort zone but it wasn't. But from the discussions I've read, some think that it's not unschooling to *have* a comfort zone, yk? That you need to just let go and let them do what they want, even if *you*, the parent, are not comfortable with that much tv. At least that is the idea I got from unschooling.com and from some posts on MDC.
I think you can have limited TV and still be unschoolers. I have to, or else DH would have it on ALL the time!
: It really pisses me off, honestly, that he's so addicted to it. It would never fly around here to just unplug it. Anyhow, we too get no free channels, so we get satellite during the Winter and just build a movie collection during the Spring/Summer/Fall. This helps the TV for all of us, especially DH, b/c he still falls asleep every night in front of the TV
, but a movie turns itself off, as opposed to TV which I wake up to infomericials at 3 am. Also, you can't just turn it on to "see what's on". We will once-in-a-while watch a movie during the day, maybe once a month, if it's a day were DS needs to just chill out and have some down time w/o taking a nap. It's pretty much a rule around here that the TV or a movie doesn't get turned on until DH has been home about 1 hr. That's gives us time to talk, eat dinner, etc. before anyone gets zoned out to the TV.
As far as ratings go, I do look at them, but do let DS watch movies that have language. I DON'T let DS watch movies that have too much violence or sex. This makes some 'R' movies okay for us to watch, IMO. Right now, we're really into old movies, especially fronteir or Depression era ones. I like the perspective it gives our family on how people lived with such frugality. DS's current favorite movie is "Where The Red Fern Grows".
Sorry, if I rambled more than helped!
I don't, personally, see the logic in the "let the child self-regulate on everything, including rubbish" theory. I totally agree with children self-regulating (I'm a TCC fan as well as an unschooler), however, I believe it is our responsibility as parents to make the environement a healthy one. Like a friend of mine says, "If your asking your child to self-regulate their eating, do you really need to put a bowl of smarties on the table, or can you put a bowl of fruit instead?"
Anyway, so a few months back we moved the tv to the master-bedroom, it is no longer in our loungeroom. We also unturned the tv, and made only DVDs available. Then we carefully chose what DVDs the kids would have. The result was much more content children, far less war play (which was a problem in our house). Slowly, tv has crept back into our house though. First we turned a channel to see a special event. Then we allowed the children to choose from specific programs, and slowly it crept up, until this afternoon (just before I read this thread actually, LOL) I told them tv was going again, and would only be for special...
Then I read this thread... Talk about Serendipity!
I'm all for self-regulation, within an healthful environment.
interesting thread. We have gone up and down, round about with this topic in our house. Mostly we have tried to instill good judgement and discernment in our children so that they do choose wisely. We all go through periods of time when we overload on junk tv, just as we do with junk food. But for the most part we have better things to do than watch sit coms and such. We do love animal planet though.
I never found that restricting tv, or anything else for that matter, really works well for my children. I think it is the principle of the "forbidden fruit" ya know? I found that when left to their own they get sick of junk and begin looking, searching even, for something real. I'm always amazed at what creative things come out of them after a period of indulging in junk.
Hang in there.
We have unlimited television here. Both children (13, and almost 11) decide for themselves what to watch and how much of it to watch. The freedom has nothing to do with my comfort zone. If I feel like the tv has been alot, I may say something about that but it is just me commenting on it.. not an effort to have them shut it off. We believe that the kids should have the same basic freedoms that we adults have. That means I put myself in the "Would I want someone controlling my viewing choices?" frame of mind. If I wouldn't want someone doing that to me, I don't need to be doing that to them.
We all have shows we enjoy watching, and some of us can't stand shows that someone else enjoys. We work it out as respectfully as we can. For us restrictions on media just aren't necessary