Hi! I know, I’m rubbish at updating this blog. Happy New Year and welcome to 2017!
Recently the children have been struggling to regulate their technology use, which happens sometimes. Especially at this time of year when its cold and dark and we feel like hibernating. They learn so much from technology and I am a big supporter of tech based learning in all forms, but not at the expense of the childrens emotions and physical bodies. L was starting to complain of legs feeling sore but when we chatted about the reasons for this and that regular breaks from tech was needed to keep healthy, he was unable to do this, with support. M was becoming extremely aggressive due to us having one pc and her needing to share it. She and J both have laptops but M is unable to play the particular games she wanted on hers. J was getting to a point of going on his laptop before even dressing or doing his morning routine and then becoming verbally aggressive when asked about this. Even B had a big leap in anger and hitting out when asked to shut down his tablet to have dinner or any other thing.
Now, I know that a lot of their behaviour is classic, relating to being limited by me, in an area of life. I know that if I was able to let go completely, that in time they would come to realise that the tech will always be there, wont be taken away and they would naturally become interested in other activities rather than binge feeding on tech because they have a subconscious fear of it being taken away. Knowing all of this doesn’t change how I currently operate though. It gives me the opportunity to pick apart my own issues and slowly but surely re write how I feel about things. This comes from my inability to let ‘screens’ go as a limit, and that’s okay! It’s something I am aware of and working on.
A week ago, I got to the end of my patience rope and I wanted to throw everything tech related out of the window. I knew I was being over the top but I also knew that something had to give and we couldn’t continue in this situation. Everyone spoke horribly to each other, if they even acknowledged each others existence! This isn’t down to what they are gaming on or watching, but rather down to someone else daring to interrupt their important activity. We’ve tried many ways to work on that and nothing was getting any better. So, I made the decision to take the tech away. Yes this makes no sense given what I know about the reasons for limiting and that this is effectively just going back to square one.
However, I am feeling a need to go back to square one right now, with how we have been doing lots of things. We will be returning to tech in the future, but we needed a reset and reassess so that we can start again on this journey.
The first few days were honestly horrendous! The children were certainly interacting with each other again which of course is a good thing!! But wow, they were being frankly spiteful and cruel to each other as well as to me. I think they felt if they upset me, that they would annoy me enough for me to just say ‘fine just go on the pc’ I’m not sure where this idea came from because I am not someone who works that way.
But as the days have gone on, the extreme boredom and the screaming grumps have subsided and been replaced by sarcasm and playfulness. The lego has come out, the facepaints and figures have come out. Questions are being asked and conversations happening. Playing together, arguing and problem solving are happening. It’s been difficult given that L and B are emotionally around the same age, so it’s required a lot of partnering and much more attentive patience on my part, as well as theirs.
Books are strewn across the house in various places, left ready to be picked back up by the person currently reading them! We’ve sat and watched movies together and laughed and cried and discussed. We played silly word association games at lunch, Chinese whispers and watched documentaries and Ted ed episodes.
Tech definitely has a place in our home and I firmly believe it to be almost essential in lives nowadays. At some point I hope I can let go of my conditioning enough to see and trust that my children will move on from immersion in time, but right now, when I am facing my own worries and concerns about whether I am providing enough of a learning experience for them, I need to focus on what I feel is best for all of us.
We’ve had some great conversations about why I’ve reduced all of our tech recently, their thoughts on it all and without my own views, they have come to the decision that there needs to be a better balance, as this week, they have enjoyed doing other things which hadn’t been entering their mind to do.
M has spent time in the garden building a bird spot with wooden apparatus, feeding bowl, water bowl and bird bath. She’s continually improved her designs as the week has gone on. She’s been practicing riding her bike, she’s been helping to cook and taking better care of her personal hygiene too.
L and Bs imagination has come alive this week, building dens, role playing, building lego masterpieces, playing games and slowly but surely playing alongside each other better.
J has found it the hardest. But today has seen a turn around in his view. He’s put on Ted ed episodes for everyone to watch, he’s instigated wordplay games, we’ve had brilliant conversations with myself and M about work, budgeting, renting a home and living costs. He’s experimented this afternoon with making an amplifier out of a pringles box and he also fault found and fixed his headphones. He went to the library and collected 5 more books and has generally been a lot more social within the family overall, as the week has gone on.
They still want their tech back of course! But they now appreciate why I felt a reset was needed.
I’m going to reinstate some tech rules into our home again, for now. Possibly 1 hour for game play and 1 hour for things they are working on/YouTube/etc. We will see how it goes.
Regardless of the ideals and ‘rules’ of how a specific home ed philosophy may be intended to work, the most important thing is to work out how best your family works and to continually reassess and partner your family in everything. One day I may completely let go of this limit but today is not that day. And that’s okay.