The majority of children today spend countless hours watching TV, surfing the internet, playing video games… and the list goes on and on. Media can be an addictive beast which gets ahold of the minds of our children and doesn’t let go. Because of this, some parents have chosen to completely eliminate all media from their homes.
Is it possible to tame this beast and allow media into our homes? It is. How much media should we allow into our homeschools? There are actually some great uses for media in our homeschools; however, it does take parental involvement and limits to use it successfully. Here are some ideas:
1. Curriculum – More and more publishers are offering their material in the form of computer programs. Some parents choose to have their children learn math or other high-level subjects with which they feel less comfortable in this way. It’s one of the easiest ways to teach a subject with which we are unfamiliar. Foreign languages are a popular subject to learn on the computer. Typing is another subject which children usually learn on the computer.
Some parents teach most of the subjects in a traditional way but reserve one with which their child is struggling to learn on the computer. Computer-based classes also come in handy for parents who are teaching several children of multiple age ranges.
2. Enrichment – Adding a video from the library or an internet video clip to whatever subject you’re studying can add some visual interest and excitement to your lessons. We have also found that using pictures, stories, and other tidbits we find on the internet adds another dimension to our study.
Use the internet with caution, however. I always prescreen videos, pictures, and information gathered there. It’s important to do this with everything – even materials gathered from the library. There are more and more offensive materials created daily and it is our job to be sure what we are showing to our children agrees with our worldview.
3. Incentive – We finally broke down and allowed grandparents to buy our sons a Wii for Christmas this year. We had been diametrically opposed to video games in our home previously, choosing learning computer games over video games. What caused us to change our minds was the fact that playing the Wii is physical where playing computer games is not.
The Wii is a great motivator. Our boys have to read books for a certain amount of time each day in order to earn Wii time. They also have to do their schoolwork with a good attitude and complete their chores. We have found that simply threatening to take away Wii time is usually enough to curb whatever negative behavior we are experiencing with our sons.
One caution, however, is that the Wii is highly addictive – for parents as well. Be sure to set a timer when letting your children play and set strict limits on its usage. With these safeguards in place, we have found that it can hold a proper place in our homes.
Question: How much media do you allow in your home? Please leave a comment below.