Can you homeschool/unschool with a TV? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Or do I have put ours in the compost pile to be a real unschooler?

Seriously, I've been thinking about this as I have 3.5yo twin boys (and 1.5yo girl) I plan to unschool. Okay, don't get me wrong, the TV is not the focus of our lives, but I do let the kids watch Sesame and Little Einsteins. They also watch a lot of musicals on dvd: Sound of Music, Music Man, Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Anyway, personally *I* like watching TV at night with DH.

I have a feeling I'm going to hear that I have to get rid of it completely (along with starting to sew all of our clothes from hemp and wearing tea tree oil for deoderant) to be a real unschooler :
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#2 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 02:43 PM
 
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It's about balance and moderation (at least here).

While I would prefer that the kids not watch any TV, ds and dh are watching Titan AE right now. We do however, turn it on so rarely while the kids are awake that when they do watch a movie, it's like a special occasion.

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13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#3 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 03:13 PM
 
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My kids have learned tons from Animal Planet, PBS, the history channel, etc. They also love to get interesting videos from the library. We enjoy having a family movie night once a week.

I think it is about balance. My kids don't have set limits on how much TV they watch or what they watch, yet they usually make pretty good choices.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 03:18 PM
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Yes, you can unschool with a tv... I thought it was a requirement, actually. We must add this to the myths about unschooling thread. You can play video games, too! I stick to deodorant without aluminum, but my daughter has gone over to the dark side in that regard... and she has a hemp bag and some hand-knitted stuff, but also stuff from Target and Gap... oh, and we scored 14 items (shirts, pants, skirts, bags) for $50 at Old Navy yesterday, such a sale!

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#5 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone.
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#6 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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We unschool and my kids have free access to our TV.

OUR DAUGHTERS ARE PROTECTED SHOULDN'T OUR SONS BE TOO! :
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#7 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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Well, we are homeschooling, doing what will probably look a lot like unschooling, and we have a tv. We just got back from the beach and the kids asked to watch a show. Our only steadfast rule about TV is that they have to ask before they turn it on. They haven't yet figured out that there are other channels besides PBS, but we'll address that when it comes.
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#8 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 05:43 PM
 
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It's so funny you ask - because I thought I was a freak for NOT doing TV or computers and unschooling. She watches movies (with us), but only on weekends.
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#9 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 05:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby
They haven't yet figured out that there are other channels besides PBS, but we'll address that when it comes.
Yeah, you just wait until they find that Judge Judy and Montel. Perhaps some One Life to Live? Unschooling takes on a brand new meaning...
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#10 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 06:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
Yeah, you just wait until they find that Judge Judy and Montel. Perhaps some One Life to Live? Unschooling takes on a brand new meaning...
OMG I can only imagine. I watched such CRAP when I was a kid. My parents were pretty cool with me monitoring my own tv usage, but they would just shake their heads in disgust when I would watch this stuff. Remember Divorce Court? Oooh, All My Children - my stepmother got me hooked on that when I was about 12.
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#11 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 06:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby
OMG I can only imagine. I watched such CRAP when I was a kid. My parents were pretty cool with me monitoring my own tv usage, but they would just shake their heads in disgust when I would watch this stuff. Remember Divorce Court? Oooh, All My Children - my stepmother got me hooked on that when I was about 12.
I totally remember Divorce Court, "And I walked in, and she was in BED WITH ANOTHER WOMAN" (room gasps). You knew she was going to lose. Those were the days.

I personally watched a lot of Who's The Boss during my homeschooling days and pretended Angela and Tony were my friends. I would've been one of those "poorly socialized homeschoolers" that you hear about through the grapevine. There weren't really any homeschoolers when I was homeschooled though; and I lived in the sticks. There weren't too many options for real friends, unless you counted the milk cows next door, and they never seemed to be up for many playdates or mall excursions.
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#12 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 06:57 PM
 
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Dh and I are simply not into massive control mode for our children. I personally don't think one can hs well with such inflexible thinking. We are hsers so we can be free from arbitrary control--so we have freedom.

I *want* my kids to have freedom to make decisons, and that includes whether they want to watch a bit of TV or a movie, or produce their own video (which they've done) and watch themselves.

We are not into banning *anything* here. We don't even ban toys. Can you *imagine*???

We watched Beach Party with Anette and Frankie last night, even! What a hoot! The kids were roaring! Today even the 7 yr old is gagging as she sings "Treat Him Nicely" Now *that* movie was truly educational!!

I can't even read anti TV parenting sites. They just seem control freaky to me. I don't know any folks who don't enjoy a good film every now and again. So to forbid a child or teen? That's just plain disrespectful and wrong, imo. So we homeschool and completely reject the notion of dictatorial media blackout here.
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#13 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 07:05 PM
 
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Another unschooling tv watching family here(but we don't have cable)!
But I also know several unschooling families IRL who do not own a tv and that works really well for them.
Unschooling and tv viewing for me means doing what feels right for your family.

Take Care,
Erika:

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail..."
"I am learning all the time, the tombstone will be my diploma"- Eartha Kitt
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#14 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 07:10 PM
 
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I think what you will find is that children who are respected and know they have freedom to make decsions about play, food, TV etc mostly make 'good' choices. My kids go days without turning anything on. They can play with dust, I swear. TV is just one of about a zillion choices. Its just not the magnet people think when children live in a rich environment. I also would not care at all if they turned on a movie, either. I wouldn't even make them clean up the marble runs first. : Slacker mom am I.

They watched a movie last night, and so far today (6 pm) the TV has not been turned on once. Three of my children (14, 12 and 7) have taken over the living room making marble runs with every ramp, block, tube etc etc. My son did listen to part of a Red Sox game on the radio, however.
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#15 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 07:38 PM
 
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Ummmm, t.v.s don't compost, so it would be the environmentally sound choice to keep it.

My kids watch some t.v., but I limit time and content. I don't know if that makes me one of those horrible people who lets their kids watch t.v. or one of those horrible people who imposes their own ideas of appropriateness on the children. Huh.
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#16 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 08:09 PM
 
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I think not having a tv, and having one but not allowing your children to watch it, are two different things.
One is a lifestyle choice for the whole family, the other is a control issue.
I have no problem with my little one watching some tv (though I prefer her to watch dvds instead of tv because of the advertising content etc) I don't tell her she can't watch it but try and make sure there are more interesting alternatives available and so far she's only turned them down when she has a brand new dvd that she really wants to see.
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#17 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 08:33 PM
 
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I do found some of the research on tv and it's negative impact on the brain waves of small children compelling, which is why I wouldn't put a little one in front of the TV or be OK with them sitting in front of the TV for long periods of time. In that way, I differ from 'radical unschoolers'. If new research shows any of that to be crazy, I'll revisit my thoughts on feeling ok or not with unlimited TV for little ones.

I do have big, big issues with arbirtrary and dictatorial control, however. Is there a child on the earth who would never enjoy the choice to watch a good movie? I see many messed up kids who are controlled by parents that I wonder what ever happend to joy? What's the point of hsing, anyway? Being stripped of power by a parent can be more damaging than if an institution does it. To me, controlling all media, all food, all everything, is part of that danger.

Micromanaging takes an awful lot of energy and strips the child of all power. And as a hsing parent, having my child know their own power is at the very top of my list of reasons for choosing to opt out of the mind control that can be formal schooling.

I worry in the same way I see children who are not parented at all. There is a respectful middle ground.

So, ok, don't throw away the TV if you don't want to. :
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#18 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 08:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roxswood
I think not having a tv, and having one but not allowing your children to watch it, are two different things.
One is a lifestyle choice for the whole family, the other is a control issue.
I have no problem with my little one watching some tv (though I prefer her to watch dvds instead of tv because of the advertising content etc) I don't tell her she can't watch it but try and make sure there are more interesting alternatives available and so far she's only turned them down when she has a brand new dvd that she really wants to see.
Eh. I prefer to think of it as conscious consumption. We're more of your adbusters unschooling family. I order the videos/DVDs for our family, but I do it based on interests, and because I'm a librarian and can find what my family is into. I don't limit based on content at all, and I do think my daughter knows her limits (she doesn't like scary movies). The TV is in our (parental) bedroom behind a screen which is usually not a place to play. We don't keep the TV in the living room, so it's usually a conscious, deliberate choice to watch it.

But, me and Goodeats are gonna be over here repressing our children and establishing the Controlling Mama Dictatorship for Robo-Children, if anyone would like to join us.
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#19 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 09:07 PM
 
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Gak, that advertising does get to me.

Stupid ads can lead to good discussions, however.

My kids are older, however. I'd have different feelings if they were teeny.
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#20 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 09:09 PM
 
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Okay. I'm just gonna be speaking from the perspective of HSing myself with all that lifelong learning business.

I couldn't do it with cable, or reception of channels of any kind. I couldn't do much of anything. Once the thing is on, I'm hypnotized. If I know it's there, I'm likely to turn it on. In restaurants with tvs, I have to sit with my back to the tv; otherwise I will ignore my companion and be riveted by a golf competition in which absolutely nothing is happening. Don't ask me why. DP isn't quite that bad, but close.

We don't have the same problem with videos and dvds. Especially movies and documentaries are fine; these are pieces which are meant to leave you with a feeling of satisfaction. Television shows on dvd often leave me with a feeling of craving the next show (and then the next, and the next, and...) so I think they're crafted to ensure repeat viewing--makes sense for them, but not healthy for us.

My parents have tivo. When visiting them, I found the tv situation wasn't as bad for me because I was less likely to watch junk and advertising. Still, it wasn't as good as videos/dvds only.

My feeling is that, unless a family has found an excellent balance, keeping a tv w/ channels is asking for low motivation and power struggles. I know I would much rather not have it than to try and control who watches what when, to the slightest degree. But I don't think the same applies to movies and documentaries, which are easier to manage and can be immensely educational.
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#21 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 09:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
I don't limit based on content at all, and I do think my daughter knows her limits (she doesn't like scary movies).
Let me be explicit in that the limits I refer to are for the 3 wees (5 and almost-2) and I mean I would not allow them to sit in front of Springer or something equally delightful that would send the message to very young minds that, for instance, hitting people with chairs is ok. When they are older (such as my 17 y.o.) and can watch such dandies as the spectacle they are... well, I'd probably still try to suggest she find something else to do, but I wouldn't change the channel on her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
But, me and Goodeats are gonna be over here repressing our children and establishing the Controlling Mama Dictatorship for Robo-Children, if anyone would like to join us.
Yes, please bring your own plumbing supplies. : (<- Yeah, I just like that one. It reminds me of the picture of me that my FIL used for his family-collage Christmas card.)
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#22 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 09:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
Yeah, you just wait until they find that Judge Judy and Montel. Perhaps some One Life to Live? Unschooling takes on a brand new meaning...
My kids can identify General Hospital by name when it's on. Also Desperate Housewives. Then there is "that hospital show" (Grey's Anatomy). GH is on as I'm nursing DD2 down for her nap in my room and I'll put it on. Sometimes DD1 comes to cuddle with me. They don't actually watch DH and GA with me, but are sometimes still awake and playing in their room when I am watching it in my room. :

That said, some days my kids watch no TV. However, they have been on a Magic Schoolbus marathon! We have the shows on tape and they have watched them over and over for the last couple of days. I figure it's been around 90 degrees here lately with high humidity and I know it's hard on them to stay inside so much.
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#23 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 10:24 PM
 
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Random thoughts on letting kids self regulate TV:

I'm not a TV person to start with, so we just aren't a house where the TV is on all the time. My kids saw VERY little TV in toddler/preschool years, so they never became addicted. My youngest is now 8, and I don't think that TV is harmful to big kids in the same way it can be to little kids.

They went through a phase where seeing ads aimed at children made them completely horrid, so I made a rule. They could watch commercial free TV, DVDs, videos from the library but nothings with ads aimed towards kids. We have very few rules in our house, but I needed to make this one for my own sanity. Whining for crap advertised on TV is where my patience ran out and they were not able to fight off the brain washing.

My kids watch some TV that is just for fun, and some that is obviously educational and I'm totally OK with that.

They can go for days and days without watching any TV, and then watch a bunch. It partly depends on the weather, but I've noticed other factors play in as well. If our house gets really messy, my kids watch more TV. If the house is basically tidy, their toys neat and decluttered, plenty of space to create art, etc., they watch less TV.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#24 of 39 Old 07-23-2006, 11:41 PM
 
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We are unschoolers, radical even , and we freakin love our TV! Often it's off during the day, and I find we watch less in summer but we watch it a lot overall. And we don't feel a bit guilty about it. There are so many great shows to see. We love the forensic crime shows, legal shows, the kids like South Park, we like Family Guy, Globe Trekker, etc.

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#25 of 39 Old 07-24-2006, 04:13 AM
 
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OMGosh, I've unschooled and my tv is on literally 24/7.....
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#26 of 39 Old 07-24-2006, 08:15 AM
 
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We've gone through phases of no tv, tv with just videos, tv with only a couple of fuzzy channels, and a few hundred channels with a satelite.

We don't have any regulations on the tv usage. Some days it's not on much, other days it is. My oldest especially likes the science and discovery channel shows and home improvement shows, and "Will and Grace."

Dd is less interested, but does watch some cooking shows and animal planet shows. (Oh, and Disney sit-coms )

Ds2's fav right now is Sponge Bob, although he found "The Pink Panther" on the other day and LOVED it. He also loves to see the animal planet shows and anything to do with mummies or bugs.

TV fits in fine here.

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#27 of 39 Old 07-24-2006, 09:36 AM
 
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I can't give a number to how many amazing politcal, religious, and social discussions that have been sparked in our home by The Simpsons. And the fact that it is funny as hell, of course.

That show should replace all Social Studies classes in all schools. : I mean that. Kids would actually get an education, or at least they might find interest in a subject that most elementary schools use to bore, numb and torture children.

Although that doesn't mean I would put a toddler in front of a TV. :
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#28 of 39 Old 07-24-2006, 11:49 AM
 
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We plan to unschool without a tv. Information can be found in abundance in libraries, online and in movies/documentaries. Most of what is on tv is cr*p (IMHO) and the adveritsing is ridiculous. I just can't stand the noise of tv. Call me controlling or whatever, but I really feel we (my family) are much better off without tv. Dh likes to watch some tv at night when he gets home from work, but even he recognizes that he get completely hypnotized by it. We are making a concerted effort to keep the tv off. I never have it on during the day, unless dd is asleep, and I have nothing better to do (VERY rare!) I may watch one birth story thing on TLC, but I usually get bored by then and pick up my crocheting or a book. I'm not sure how we will handle it if dd asks for tv when she is older. I will probably set some sort of limit. As much as I'd like to think of myself as radical, I simply cannot justify letting my kids watch tv all day. If my dc can regulate tv watching, fine, but if it turns into a 24 hour tv fest, I would probably get rid of them. :
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#29 of 39 Old 07-24-2006, 12:30 PM
 
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Uhhhh there is NO WAY I am giving up my tv and digital cable! LOL We don't watch a ton of tv, none during the day usually just because my kids are busy playing with friends, etc but I couldn't live without Big Brother, Lost, Seinfeld, Will and Grace, Project Runway, etc My kids like Animal Planet mainly.

We have a DVR and just fast forward through the commericals!

I personally waste more time on the internet than tv...lol

Marilyn,psych RN. Homeschooling mom to Taylor (12) and Lauryn (8)
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#30 of 39 Old 07-24-2006, 01:20 PM
 
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and one of them said "Quick! Turn on the Disney Channel" and my children had to remind them we don't pay for television! LOL! They ended up playing "Clue Simpson's Edition", "Mousetrap", and "In a Pickle".

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikaDP
Another unschooling tv watching family here(but we don't have cable)!
I remember watch "bug shows" with my dad when I was a child (shows on PBS like "Nature").

We watched the shuttle Discovery launch from our front yard here in Central FL but we had to watch it land on tv since we didn't go to KSC for the landing. We don't watch the news because it's on at mealtimes and who wants to lose their appetite hearing about atrocities?

*Since my 9 1/2 yo ds got a shortwave radio we listen to the news on it!

**I have never seen the Discovery Channel but a teen here in FL escaped from a gator from a tip on the Discovery Channel! http://news.yahoo.com/s/wkmg/20060724/lo_wkmg/9562444 I bet his mom is proud he watches cable tv!
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