21 Day Tech Less Challenge; Why I Took Our Kids Electronics Away

 

21 Day Tech Less Challenge - Why I Took Our Kids Electronics Away-2 Do you have a love hate relationship with electronics? I know I do! I love it and I love to hate it.

But, recently I have found myself ‘hating’ it more than ‘liking’ it. Everything is in our face 24/7; the good, bad, and the ugly. Our kids are becoming increasingly aware of the crazy world we live in. And, we can agree it is crazy, right?

Over the last year I have fought it, ignored it, and knowingly made a choice to turn my back on it – the problem; our kids and their tech use. What started off as innocent gaming in the morning while mommy wrapped up her work – eventually led to asking for more screen time in the afternoon, and then asking for electronics again before bed.

I found myself increasingly frustrated with our children; their shorter than normal attention spans, lack of listening, and aggressive behaviors. With each passing day I resented those little devices just a little more. Until eventually I had enough and snapped.

I was scared to take them away. It was as if I felt like I was doing them some sort of disservice by eliminating something so prevalent in todays world. I struggled with feelings of being the ‘mean mom’. However, I knew in my heart – it needed to be done but, man the struggle was real!

Those little devices we hold in our hands have an ever increasing amount of power over us.  I’m guilty too {I’m sure you can relate} – if I’m searching something on my phone, can I really hear that my child is asking for a glass of water?

It’s only after I hear; “Mom, mom, MOM…for the 100th time….

I snap; “What?”

“What do you need?”

Why do we do this? Because we weren’t really listening to them in the first place. Heads down and self absorbed in our own little worlds – we are missing the little moments as well as the big.   Why I Took Our Kids Electronics Away

These feelings of hatred towards these little devices only grew with each passing day…a tug on the strings of my heart. “I have to do something!”

But, what? I can’t possibly get rid of electronics in my homeschooled kids lives – after all I need to make sure our kids are ‘normal’. {By the way, when someone figures out what “normal” is please let me know – thanks}

I am a teacher. I see it. I hear it week after week in my classroom. I hear the conversations of my students – our children today aren’t talking about riding bikes, playing outside, or meeting at the neighborhood park. They are talking about “how do you get _______ ?” in such and such video game. “There’s a new update in________”, and “I found this great cheat on ______”.

Ok. let me make something clear – I’m not anti-electronics. I love technology and all that it has done for us. I blog {obviously}, I can be found on most every social media platform out there {Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, and have recently ventured into the Vlogging world over on YouTube}.

Thanks to the internet I have friends all over the world – some of which I talk to more than my ‘in real life friends’. I pray for their children and their families as they do mine- they teach me and I teach them from afar. It’s wonderful gift.

The time had finally come – I needed and craved an electronic/life balance and, our home was well over due for some much needed limits and boundaries. It was time I stepped up my mothering game and not just choose the ‘easy’ road {any parent who has ever entertained children in a doctors office for any length of time will likely agree Steve Jobs is a saint.} I needed to regain control: control over the one thing I can’t buy more of – time!

21 Day Tech Less Challenge - Why I took are kids electronics away for 21 days

Our 21 Day Tech Less Challenge

We agreed that ’21 days’ would be a good ‘cleanse’ for our family – we didn’t get rid of all screens {we are still able to watch tv and use electronics for education/work purposes}.

We are currently doing a 21 Day #techlesschallenge on Instagram and have decided as long as technology is something we are engaging in TOGETHER than it is ok. But, six people with faces down in their own self absorbed electronic world was now, going to be a thing of our past.

We are already on day 3 of our 21 day #techlesschallege and the results could not make me any happier. Our kids are blossoming in so many ways – they have actually missed their little electric devises very little.

Shockingly, the child who is struggling most is the three year old. Likely because he doesn’t understand the abrupt disruption to his routine but, I know in time he too will ‘see’ all that he was missing with his face buried in that little square of bubbling lights, music, and sound.

If your reading this shaking your head – thinking ‘yes, this is my house’ then let this encourage you to make a change too. Join us and take the challenge; “putting family first, exploring more, and using tech less”.

If your reading this and patting yourself on the back because ‘your kids don’t use tech’ – humble yourself a bit and really ‘check’ do you have another vice that is holding you back from being the parent you were called to be? Reading? Television? Any ‘escape’ that carries your mind from the present situation…..change that and regain control of your most precious gift. Time!



Best No Cook Play-Doh a Multi-Sensory Learning Experience

 

Best Ever No Cook Play Doh, Play-Doh DIY Recipe- Approved by mom and easy enough for kids to make themselves - get your kids in the kitchen and start creating After years of buying store bought play-doh, and many play-doh recipe failures. I think we have officially stumbled across the best no cook play-doh recipe ever. We use play-doh both during read loud time and for busy bin free play.

 

I have found when children are able to keep their hands busy during read aloud time they are more likely to pay attention with their ears and less likely to want to speak over me; thus, making our time together much more enjoyable and productive.

While play-doh can be messy at times – it is still my preferred messy, fun activity {especially over glitter glue..}   Play-doh is great for fine motor development. The malleable properties make it an excellent choice for building hand strength and pre-writing development. It can be squashed, rolled, chopped, poked, and shredded allowing for hours of endless imaginary play.

Check out just some of the creations our kids created in our time together this week. Everything from play-doh pizza’s, ‘sugar’ cookies, to snakes, snails, and turtles –

Best No Cook Play-Doh a Multi-Sensory Learning Experience Want to make their open ended play-doh play time even more exciting? With a few simple supplies you can create an expansive play-doh tool box at a minimal cost. Here are some of the play-doh tools in our box;

    • small toys {dinosaurs, fish, farm animals}
    • straws
    • rolling pins
    • egg cartons
    • sea shells
    • buttons
    • plastic letters and numbers
    • popsicle sticks
    • plastic spoons, forks, and knives {you can omit this of coarse…our kids are a bit older now so I am comfortable with their ability to use them safely}
    • plates/bowls

 

Each of our children are typically given a tray with their selected dough color {they are encouraged to share}. I then, place a ‘tool box’ of supplies in the middle of the table for community use. They play and I read to them. When you add open ended play items to their dough experience the imaginations explode. {Encouraging them to create things they hear in the story is also another great way to ‘test’ their listening and comprehension.}

Want a multi-sensory experience? Flavor up your dough by adding any of these –

  • pumpkin spice
  • cinnamon
  • essential oils
  • ginger
  • oregano

Make it pink, blue, and yellow too…we use plain old food dye but, you can try any of these too I’m sure with an equally good result…

 

Add some texture –

  • rice
  • sand
  • glitter
  • tiny pasta
  • sequins
  • pebbles

Want to try the recipe we use?

Best Ever Play-Doh Recipe

The Best Ever Play-Doh Recipe

The Best Ever Play-Doh Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups of Flour {I have also used gluten free}
  • 1/2 C Cold Water
  • 1/2 C Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Oil
  • Food Coloring or Powdered Paint

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in the bowl {with hands. Keep kneading until it is just the way you want it. Too dry? Add a little more Oil. Too sticky? Add a tablespoon of flour until it feels perfect. You will now add any additional texture items or spices to your play-doh. Store in an air tight container or zip-lock bag for future use.
http://jennyirvine.com/best-ever-no-cook-play-doh/

Be sure to visit our Kids in the Kitchen page for ‘live’ demonstrations, kid friendly recipes, more mess, and lots of fun. Never miss a thing from My Happy Homestead sign up to get “The Homestead Daily” Free to your in box.

Best No Cook Play-Doh a Multi-Sensory Learning Experience

Spring Cleaning Your Homeschool Curriculum and 5 Tips For New Homeschoolers From a Mom of Four

%22All Good Thingsare Wild and Free%22




Ok. confession, I love homeschool curriculum. I love reading reviews and the smell of new homeschool books. I love reading about the various homeschool theories and seeing all that is out there. All that said, it can be very overwhelming at times. We are sucked in to the pretty pictures, newest homeschooling fads, and wanting to ‘feel’ like we are covering everything we ‘need’ to.

It is hard to believe this is our 7th year homeschooling {we started when Music-Bee was 2.5/3} I shared some reflections of journey HERE on Periscope. I also shared why we are spring cleaning our curriculum and what we will be doing on Fridays for the remainder of the school year.

As the weather and seasons begin to change we all get a little restless so it’s time to shake things up a bit…check out ‘My Happy Homeschool Fun Fridays’ on Instagram to see what we are up to.

5 {well, 6} Tips for New Homeschoolers From a Mom of Four

  1. Resist the urge my friends – do no buy a bunch of curriculum especially if your kids are little. The books are pretty and ah, that smell….resist it! There are far better ways…
  2. Do not stress if our 3, 4, or even 5 year old is not ‘doing’ school {unless required of coarse check your state laws HERE}
  3. DO NOT make your kids ‘do’ school all day or feel like you need to fill their days with constant entertainment.
  4. DO NOT feel guilty about saying no to the local homeschool co-op, library time, or playdate. Your kids will be social – they will have countless opportunities to ‘be’ socialized – if anything they will be ‘too’ social at times.
  5. DO enjoy spending time with your children – get outside as much as possible, read good books, go to the park, the zoo, the hands on museum, the beach, play games, and don’t feel bad for exposing them to ‘real’ life and hands on learning. Learning is an atmosphere – and, ‘the mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days’*. The road isn’t easy, but you are planting seeds for a love a learning…
  6. Implement a quiet time in your days and don’t feel bad if you have to close your eyes for a few to tune out the noise. We all need a break sometimes and don’t beat yourself up. As homeschool parents there is no ‘lunch room break’, ‘prep hour’, or ‘specials’ – you are it! You are on duty 24/7 – you are the lunch mom, the nurse, the principle, the art teacher, the reading aid, etc. take that break! And, don’t think twice about it!

This is a time in our home where hands  on learning and living books become one; Here are some of our favorite ‘living books’ {If you are not familiar with these they are classics not text books. They are literature based to help inspire, spark curiosity, and encourage a continuous love of learning} Click the picture affiliate links included for your convenience -if you order I will get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you – it helps keeps this little blog running so, thank you!





Spring Cleaning Your Curriculum And 5 Tips for New Homeschoolers from a Mom of Four

*Charlotte Mason Quote

Some of our favorite Homeschool Spring Cleaning resources;