View Full Version : unschoolers...

04-05-2011, 10:38 AM
What do you do about tv in your house?

04-05-2011, 12:22 PM
I have been unschooling all winter. More from inability to do more than from a deep commitment to the methodology.

In our home it seems like the TV is permanently tuned to either the Simpsons or Discovery type shows.

Its on more than I like but only one of mine loves it.

I just ignore it.

04-05-2011, 01:07 PM
We're also somewhat unschoolers by accident. The kids are often on the computer more than watching TV and a lot of what they do watch educational. Thanks to cutting back on our satellite TV subscribtion we're better able to control what they watch (since the channels just aren't there). But they do enjoy watching things like Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs as well as a lot of the classic TV shows (late 60s-80s) I grew up with so there's less of a problem with language, violence, etc. We also recently subscribed to a DVD rental-by-mail service. We're getting a lot of educational programming that way, too.

Our family has never been much into watching regular network TV except for a very few shows (and none of it "reality" which in reality is very far from reality if you know what I mean) so I've never really seen a problem with TV in our particular situation.

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
04-05-2011, 02:18 PM
My girls are allowed 2 times a day for 30 minutes each time that they can watch TV. Once a week we have a movie night. Besides that IF it is on it is tuned to a channel like discovery, science, history channels.

04-05-2011, 03:42 PM
In our home it seems like the TV is permanently tuned to either the Simpsons or Discovery type shows.

Ha! This is my house, too! Throw in Malcolm in the Middle and that would be us!

04-06-2011, 02:06 AM
We are kind of unschooling, although not radical unschoolers. I'm not anti TV, but we are not really TV oriented adults. I hate to have it intruding into our home. We don't have the TV on all the time. It's not even on everyday. I couldn't cope with it if it was! We have a certain time in the afternoon and from there on they may watch it, as I need to have a lie down by then anyway! But weekends we usually don't turn it on at all.

I have tried very hard to have the TV as something we turn on to watch something then turn off, not a default 'I'm bored' response. There are some fantastic shows and I like to use those. There are somethings that TV is really good at teaching.

I have one child who will ask for it all the time, and when that happens, I take it as a signal that I'm not providing enough challenge or novelty for him. So then we try to do more and it generally does seem to help.

04-06-2011, 02:07 AM
Oh and I love those shows too :)

04-06-2011, 07:33 AM
We are also kind of unschooling, but not radical. I do not worry at all about TV here, because we don't actually "have TV". What I mean is, we do not have cable or even antenna TV. We have a Roku with Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video. My DD7 has full reign over what she watches on Netflix. She has her own queue there (no one else here uses Netflix) with nothing but educational shows. The adults in the house watch current shows on Hulu (the few that we like), as well as catch up on a few old shows we have never seen or starting late on. Amazon is for those few movies that we like enough to buy and watch more than once. We don't have any set times or restrictions on when DD can watch anything. If there is no work to be done and we are not doing anything outdoors, she can watch what she wants. Although, we really spend more time on our computers.

04-07-2011, 05:23 PM
we are mostly unschoolers, but not radical unschoolers at all.

We don't have a TV. We got rid of our TV before we had kids and have never gotten another one. But, as far as screen time, we do have a computer. If I let him, my oldest would be on it almost all day, playing games (at pbskids or lego.com) and watching videos (on pbskids or netflix). Usually, he only gets to be on the computer when his brother is napping, so 1-2 hours/day. My youngest is 21 months and I don't want him watching anything at all, so that helps to limit it. But, there are exceptions, like if I have been up for two days straight at a birth, well then, my oldest gets to mostly be on the computer while I try to sneak in some dozing here and there. lol.

I notice a direct correlation between his happiness and being easy going with less screen time. I suspect this isn't because of the actual act of sitting at the screen but rather that he has a more fulfilling day when he is working on projects or going on adventures or playing in the dirt in the back yard. When I notice he is grumpy all the time and unusually cranky, we take a week or two break from all screen time. The first couple of days it's ALL he asks for, but by the end of the time, he doesn't even want to watch and is busy with other things.

04-08-2011, 07:20 AM
We also don't have a TV. But I limit recreational screen time to 30min/day when I'm around. On the days the boys are by themselves they can play as long as they want. Although, they know they have to get 30 minutes of outside time before playing. Seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

Laura Blair
05-23-2011, 11:32 AM
i let them watch as much as they want.

the tv in the living room only has an xbox so they can watch netflix on there. the tv in the bedroom has cable but they almost never go down there.

when we first started letting them watch as much as they wanted, it was like 2 months where the older of my 2 (younger was still a baby) did nothing but watch noggin. he's over it now and wants to do other stuff.

they've been playing halo lately like there's no tomorrow. well, 4 yo plays halo and 2yo mashes buttons :P i don't mind though. he gets some brain exercise. i've tried playing a bunch of times and it's so flipping confusing. he's always like "no, mommy! you just have to push green, blue, blue, right trigger." i have no idea how he remembers all that stuff. lol

05-23-2011, 12:26 PM
We are not unschoolers, so you may not want our input. :p
We are finished with schoolwork by mid-day and unless we recorded a new Mythbusters or there is some other thing that I want them to watch, the thought of tv just does not cross their minds.
They each have a netbook and they will spent some time on those. Joseph is teaching himself HTML and the girls might watch something on netflix or play around.
The spend most of their freetime playing.

Stella M
05-23-2011, 06:12 PM
When we were unschooling - a good few years ago now - TV was unlimited in the day time but only on some channels ( the ad free ones ). My kids did have a bed time (!) so that limited any night time viewing. Middle daughter watched it endlessly until she learnt to read at about 7; now she watches a little in the evenings but I'd say she's on the lower end of the scale for TV watching.

I truly believe unschooling practices can work; I'm a little unsure about computer use as opposed to TV though, because of the way computer games reinforce reward type reactions. I know that's not a good way to put it, rushing...

05-23-2011, 09:37 PM
Hey albeto, how did you ever resolve this?

Laura Blair
05-24-2011, 11:55 AM
When we were unschooling - a good few years ago now - TV was unlimited in the day time but only on some channels ( the ad free ones ).

i don't like ad free tv because there are no breaks between shows for the to get distracted and forget about what they are watching. :/

Stella M
05-24-2011, 06:54 PM
Hehe, never thought of that!

05-25-2011, 03:32 PM
Not sure if I'd consider myself an unschooler, because I like to make rules. But in our house the tv is mostly off. I can't stand to look at them sitting in front of it. And if it is on, then I want to watch something I want to watch. So it isn't much fun for them.

My concession to tv was allowing them to have the controller and let them pick a channel. But if we move to a new location I won't pay for internet or cable or a tele so... it will become moot.

05-25-2011, 04:44 PM
Hey albeto, how did you ever resolve this?

I didn't. They watch. My dd is getting terribly bored, which is probably what she needs to figure out herself that tv doesn't actually fulfill her needs. Ds is easily amused with anything from watching Futurama to poking dead birds with a stick at the park with his friends. < shiver >

06-06-2011, 11:53 PM
we don't have a tv, but DS occasionally watches stuff on the computer (decent cartoons in other languages, a National Geographic film, etc). I'm glad we don't have a tv, because when he visits grandparents he becomes a complete vidiot!

06-09-2011, 08:51 PM
My boys (4.5 & 2.5) watch TV (probably too much, to be honest) but its all Nick Jr/PBS. I can't stand the commercials on the regular Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network...they already "want" enough things, I don't need a commercial pounding some new fangled toy-idea into their impressionable minds, hehe. Since we're in the midst of our first Alaskan summer my DH and I make it a point to take them outside for at least an hour every day (even if its raining...that's what umbrellas are for!). Once they get to the age where they can play outside unsupervised I'll probably be encouraging them to go out more often. Thankfully TV doesn't seem to affect their behavior negatively. They do ask for it if its been off for a while, but its not so valuable to them that they throw a fit if I turn it off so I can have a mental break from all the kid TV. :)

06-15-2011, 12:18 PM
My boys (4.5 & 2.5) watch TV (probably too much, to be honest) but its all Nick Jr/PBS. I can't stand the commercials on the regular Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network...they already "want" enough things, I don't need a commercial pounding some new fangled toy-idea into their impressionable minds, hehe.

That's a huge part of the reason we don't have a TV. Every time they are exposed to TV, it's a constant litany of "I want that", even though DS, at least, is fairly good at understanding that advertising is all about trying to convince you that you need stuff you don't have.

06-18-2011, 08:03 PM
DH is the tv junkie in our house. I think we had more tv's than people in our house for a while. When we were first married, when we would get home from being out, he would turn it on even before he took his coat off. He grew up in a house with it on all the time. He can even study or read with it on. He likes the background noise. That being said, he is the very smart engineering type, and it never affected his studies.

My girls on the other hand are computer junkies. Games, videos etc. I find if left to their own devices, they will watch in spurts, but usually tire of it after a while. However, I do sometimes have to encourage them to do something else if they find something that piques their interest. And sometimes they have to get dressed and brush their teeth before watching another pokemon or winx club episode.

I am less of a tv person. It rarely comes on during the day, til DH comes home. I'm the one that seems to always say, "hey, can you turn that down a bit". I have a few shows that I really like to watch, but we usually watch those after the kids are in bed. Couldn't live without a DVR. That helps too, cuz I can tell my girls to fast forward through the commercials.