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!



10 Reasons-Why We Homeschool?




10 Reasons Why We Homeschool - From a Mom of Four Kids 

 “Why do we homeschool“?
Yes, this is a question I periodically get asked by outsiders- but, not very often these days. Maybe it is my own confidence level with our family’s decision or the growing homeschool population that have helped make “it” not as out of the ordinary as “it” once was. 
 
So being the list maker that I am- of coarse I wanted a hands on visual list covering the reasons “why” we do this crazy thing called “homeschool” – I do not feel the need to better defend our family’s decision but it’s more to fulfill a need and serve as a reference for those times when the going gets rough- because folks, it does. I am not wonder women and my kids are not perfect either. We make mistakes, we argue, we disagree, I want to quit, my kids argue, and well, we are human. We make mistakes, apologize, forgive, pray, and move forward. That’s real life.
 
I never thought I would “really” homeschool my kids- In college I wrote term papers on it (yes, before I had kids of my own), I researched “it“, and I was always a bit curious about people who  who did in fact do this homeschool thing- I always wanted to know “how” they did “it“- but, I never really thought I would become one of “those” people. 
 
If I’m totally honest I probably had the stereotypical image of a “perfect” family dressed in denim (not that I have anything against denim), holding hands, gathered around a big farm table, and no arguing- just a blissful home education environment. 
 
Oh, and lets not forget about the “perfect” dinner that was waiting atop the stove and the impeccably clean home because the children obediently and cheerfully helped with daily chores. Ha, man I’m pretty sure I was envisioning a great start to a good book. 
 
So, without further ado here are …..

Our Top 10 Reasons; “Why We Homeschool”

Our reasons have changed over the years with a few core reasons still remaining the same- I guarantee some of these are not even remotely close to what you might expect.




 
Selfishness – I’m not going to lie- I am selfish. Aren’t we all? I like spending time with my kids and I don’t want to send them off for most of the day. I don’t want to spend my only hours of the day carpooling my kids around and doing homework that was assigned by a teacher. So there- I said it, I am selfish and yes, that is one reason “why we homeschool“.
 
Gifts and Talents– We strongly believe in our home that every individual has a unique set of gifts and talents. Homeschooling provides the perfect learning environment to foster, develop, and explore those gifts and talents. A typical homeschooled student can complete his or her “book work” in a few short hours leaving the rest of a day to develop, interact, and embrace the being that God intended them to be.
 
Freedom and Flexibility– One of my favorite things about homeschooling is having the freedom to choose my children’s curriculum. I absolutely love pouring over curriculum review web-sights, catalogs, and tailoring each child’s material to fit his or her learning style. Yes, it is a ton of work- but, watching them grow and learn in an environment that best meets their individual needs is immeasurable.
 
Way back when I wasn’t one of “those” homeschool parents-I think what I really wanted to know was what their day looked like. I’m going to let you in on a little secret and tell you- its flexible. If we have a dentist appointment at 11:00 one day then maybe that means we double up on school work the next. If we don’t start until 9:15 AM one morning instead of the normal 8:30 AM you know what, everything is going to be ok. If we fell behind in a particular subject one given year- we then have an entire summer to pound it out.
10 Reasons Why We Homeschool - Need Encouragement or Thinking about Homeschooling? Lessons learned from a busy, work at home mom of four kids 10 and under
Control– So, yes just as I am selfish I am equally a control freak. I like to “think” I’m in control- ha, even though I so am not. Homeschooling does however give you a certain amount of control. You have better control over the environments that your child(ren) are exposed to- and the field trips they attend. You also have control over the curriculum and teaching method used to educate your child(ren)-whether it is religious, secular, eclectic, montessori, classical, etc.
 
Food Related Issues– This is one “why” that I personally used to balk at- when we first began homeschooling in fact I seriously thought- “really, people would homeschool their kids because of food allergies?” Yes! I never thought I would homeschool some of my children because of food issues and guess what I learned “never judge”. Our homeschool philosophy (well, I guess if you want to consider it that) is – year by year; kid by kid. Much to my surprise and 6 years later God is still calling us to a homeschool lifestyle-and, with each passing year and each coming school aged child it is only becoming that much more evident. With food issues ranging from gluten, dairy, dye, nightshades, to an unknown slew- I’m in no hurry to send them off.
 
Real Life– Education extends far beyond what we learn in a text book. Learning happens in our day to day life. The things we experience day to day enhance our scope of knowledge far beyond that of any text books. When a learning environment consists of 7+ hours of classroom, text book, paper testing, and institutionalized learning- a real life hands on learning environment can be a hard thing to mirror within the walls of a school. This was one of our original reasons “why we homeschool“- real life experiences, problems, and solutions.
 

Family Togetherness- This is another original reason “why“- back when we first made the decision to keep our oldest daughter home my husband was traveling a good deal and the thought of some of our only quality family time being at jeopardy was not even an option-we would homeschool. 

We didn’t want the best hours of our day spent away from each other- children are at their best typically in the morning and early afternoon-yes, the prime time for learning. So yes, I pulled the selfish card- I want my kids at their best- not when they are tired, hungry, and flat out grumpy. 

As our family has grown over the years the family togetherness that we have day in and day out has helped form special bonds between each of our kids-they really are each others best friends. They squabble, fight, yell, and disagree just the same as any other siblings but at the roots-they know, they are stuck together like glue.

 
Learning is fun; NOT Hard– One of the questions I frequently get is but “how do you grade them” “what about a GPA“- here is what I have to say to that; I check their work for accuracy, effort, and completeness- we educate to learn, master, retain, and use the information gathered. We do not educate to get an “A”. When is the last time your boss gave you an “A” on your project-he or she likely didn’t. You instead get a complete sit down review of your strengths, weaknesses, goals, achievements, and things to improve upon. That my friends is how we grade.
 
Learning is fun; not hard- we make it way more complicated than it needs to be-make school interesting- some good books, the internet, real life interviews, experiences, and a bit of encouragement can go a long way. I do not need to speak 5 languages, be a chemistry major, and know calculus to be a good teacher to my child. There are people who can help with that stuff- know your limitations- and, when to seek help with the things that are beyond your scope of knowledge. It takes a community to educate a child-embrace that community.
 
Self Assurance and Independence– Some of our kids are not quite as confident as others- they need a little extra hand holding, a little more attention, and a lot more encouragement. While others, are completely capable of being set free to work independently. Homeschooling has provided an environment which we can embrace both end of the spectrum. I can set my independent learners free- with occasional monitoring and little instruction. While, I can encourage, teach, and feed the tiny hearts of those that may not quite be “there” yet. We want all of children to be independent leaders- full of self confidence and drive.




 
The World is our Classroom– I remember one of my favorite things about going to school was the occasional time the teacher would announce “we are having school outside“. I loved it. My kids are outside nature lovers too. Our days are filled with outside exploring, running around before, during, and after lessons. We eat lunch on the porch 6+ months out of the year- there are field trips, family “gym” walks, and endless hours of imaginary play. We are not confined to the walls of our home to do school- the world really is our classroom.
"Get Lost in Nature and You'll Find Yourself" - 10 Reasons Why We Homeschool from a busy mom of four

If you are contemplating homeschooling be sure to send me a message or leave me a comment- I love helping newbies and hearing from all of you. Homeschooling has taken on a new face in recent years- we are not all religious extremist raising little book worms- we are real family’s-home educating our totally normal socialized (non-sheltered) children.

 
I am not anti-school- I went to school- I went to college- we are just doing what works for us-and, you should do the same. I say none of this to offend anyone or place judgement- it all comes from the heart so please keep any rude comments to yourself- thou shall not judge (I don’t and hope you refrain from the same as I strive to make this space a safe, encouraging, and helpful home for all who visit).