Category Archives: No TV Please

Socialization – what’s the big deal?

So your homeschooled children won’t know the current trends in movies, music, and fashion. So they may not be the talkative ones at the party. (Then again, they may be. My homeschooled seven-year-old couldn’t stop talking if his life depended on it! And he even talks to strangers every chance he gets.)

The thing is, if your children come from a Christian family, they shouldn’t be listening to or watching the same things as the rest of the world anyway – homeschooled or not.

Aside from modern trends, what else will they miss out on by staying home? Basically, they aren’t going to learn to raise their hands before speaking (unless they go to Sunday School or a homeschool co-op), or stand in line (unless they ever happen to visit a grocery store). They won’t learn to work as a team (unless they have brothers and sisters or cousins or friends), and they’ll never learn to get on with people their own age (which they will really need to learn if they ever want to…um…what? Attend a public school? – Sorry, it was the only scenario I could think of to use that particular skill.)

What about all of the public school kids who are socially backwards? No one ever says, “Don’t let your kids get too interested in math and science; it will turn them into geeks, and they won’t get invited to parties. How else will they socialize?” No, people realize that our society benefits from people who get wrapped up in their own projects and obsessions, especially in the fields of medicine, mathematics, electronics, and any of the sciences. We need a few more people who can focus on their passions. Parents are proud of their focused, albeit shy, children. The world looks on and says, “To each his own…unless you homeschool…then you’re depriving your children.”

No one ever says, “Don’t send your kids to public school; what if they become a Goth or a drug-pusher?” No, I think that this whole socialization issue was just fabricated because it was the only thing people could think of that was even remotely wrong with the idea of homeschooling. And I don’t think it’s wrong at all. Besides, most homeschooling families are large enough that the children learn to socialize as a matter of course. On top of that, this whole idea of socialization needing to happen at school is a relatively new concept. People used to keep their children at home and train them in a trade. And they were way more social back then. Between church functions, barn raisings, dinner parties, visiting, etc, nearly every child learned to function in society. Even more important, they learned to run and raise a family.

What is the greatest barrier to socialization today? Not homeschooling, but entertainment. I see couples out to dinner where both of them are playing with their iPhones instead of speaking to each other. I have known a few people to sit through a family get-together totally engrossed in a magazine or a hand-held video game device the entire time. When the family gets home after work/school each evening, what is usually the first thing to happen? The television gets turned on. Then we proceed to ignore and shush our kids for the remainder of the evening. When they ask us to play a board game with them, we say, “I don’t have time.” Do they see us as the liars we really are? Okay, well, now I’m just ranting, but I think you see my point(s).

  1. There are plenty of socialization opportunities out there, free for the taking. It doesn’t matter where you go to school.
  2. Why is socialization so freakishly important, anyway? Introverts still get married and have families, friends, jobs, etc.

Creative Writing and Flying

Thank you!

First of all, I just wanted to say that I was blown away by all of your great responses to my previous post, Creative Writing and Crying. Anyone who is interested in help with getting your child to write, check out the comments on this page! I’m serious! These women were so very helpful. I haven’t gotten to try all of the techniques yet (he doesn’t do creative writing every day), but I am so looking forward to it. I will try to post about anything that inspires him. I’m so thankful that I am able to homeschool because it enables me to try all of these ideas and methods until I find something that fits.

The new routine:

Lately, I have been trying to give him a heads-up about what he should be thinking about, and then giving him plenty of time later when it actually comes to getting the ideas down. I have been just conversationally talking him through his ideas and jotting them down for him. (He hates the actual physical process of writing too, so I think that having to do that and brainstorm ideas at the same time really drives him over the edge.) So I write them down, help him figure out how to organize his ideas, and then he copies what we come up with onto his worksheet. (That way, he gets practice writing too; I’m just not making him write and think at the same time yet.)

Cool new “trick:”

Yesterday, I had a nifty idea. He loves to write emails to his dad and my sister. By “write” I mean dictate. I’ve noticed that when dictating emails, he goes into this professional narrative-sounding voice. It’s so bizarre, but fun to behold! Anyway, yesterday he had brainstormed a bunch of details about a place he knows well. (He chose a former babysitter’s house.) I took the opportunity to show him how to make a Word Web. All of that went fine, but when it came to constructing sentences from his ideas, he was at a loss. So it occurred to me to have him write an email to his aunt describing his babysitter’s house. It worked like magic! He went from being mentally stuck, to dictating so fast that I couldn’t keep up (and I was typing)!

The interview:

After success with the description assignment, I pulled the same trick out of my hat when we discovered that he needed to write an interview. I actually had him dictate an email to Mary Pope Osborne, author of the Magic Tree House books. Here are the questions he came up with:

How did you write all those books?

Did you write it with an ink pen?

How did you get those books to look like that?

Do you ever write other kinds of books?

I really liked his questions, and I told him I would actually send the email to her if I could find her email address. (I really hope I can, but I haven’t looked yet).

NO INTERNET Thursdays:

Update on yesterday’s post: I got online a couple of times yesterday: to deposit two checks, to print a cursive handwriting sheet, to allow Ian to play on SpellingCity, and right before I went to bed, I just had to check my WordPress stats. That last item is the only one I feel guilty about. I did write more than 2400 words for NaNoWriMo yesterday, and Ian was able to accomplish all of his schoolwork, but other than that, I didn’t get a lot done. The television was on before I even woke up yesterday due to my husband being home sick. I can’t think at all when the TV is on; right now I’m holed up in my son’s room. He’s still asleep, but at least it’s quiet in here. The rest of the house is shut up for the winter, so unless I want to write in one of the bathrooms, this room is my only choice. (The kitchen is attached and pretty open to the living room.) So not such a productive day, but I’m already looking forward to next Thursday! I may have to revamp a little though because I had so many emails, blog comments, forum responses, etc. It’s already 8am, and I haven’t caught up from yesterday yet. Maybe stay off the internet during the day only? Not sure. I’ll try it this way a few more times I think. Jesse’s home today too, otherwise, I might have been caught up by now.

What is sacrifice?

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Romans 12:1

A living sacrifice. What does that mean exactly? Basically, it means we shouldn’t do everything we want to do. Even if those things are within our means. We should say no to ourselves sometimes. Deny our flesh. I have been reading When the Bottom Drops Out by Robert Bugh. I’ve really been enjoying it, and getting a lot out of it.

He had this to say about sacrifice: “Sacrifice is saying no to something you prefer so you can say yes to God. It’s placing your preferences, what you love, on the altar and telling God, ‘I want to keep this or have this or do this, but You are speaking to me and I am giving it up. Take it; it’s Yours!’…Sacrifice is counterintuitive; it’s winning by losing, gaining by giving, living by dying, doing without now so you can be rewarded later in heaven…Hear me, dear reader: as painful as it is, it’s sacrifice that will keep you from wasting your life, because it’s sacrifice and service that reveal the lordship of Christ in your life.” – pages 101-102

I don’t hate myself. I’m not going to go out of my way to make life difficult on myself. But I do know that I don’t need everything I think I do. God will take care of everything I need, and sacrificing the things I want won’t necessarily make life any harder on me. In fact, sometimes, I think sacrifice makes our lives simpler. It’s going without. It means there will be fewer things in my life to distract me from God.

What about sacrificing my time? Won’t that add things to my life? Won’t my schedule get busier if I try to minister to others when I already have so many things on my plate? Not if you sacrifice something else that eats up your time. Television is the first thing that comes to mind. Nobody needs it. On your deathbed, you won’t regret the hours you didn’t spend watching television.

What about homeschoolers? Homeschoolers are too busy already. So many things to teach, to learn. Let’s not forget the reason many of us are homeschooling in the first place. It’s not so our kids will be smarter. It’s not so they’ll get a better job or function better in society. Are we not preparing our children for a life of service to God? And do they not learn best by example?

Some ideas for sacrifice:

Change the way you eat or drink, what you watch, what you wear, the way you spend time on the internet or the phone.

Change the way you spend your money, your time, your emotions.

Change the way you relate to God, your spouse, parents, children, and others.

When you see a need, fill it. Be sensitive to the urging of the Holy Spirit.

Why does sacrifice mean so much to God?

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

Open House Dinner Party

One of our favorite things to do is throw a dinner party for our friends. Jesse and I have an open house every Sunday afternoon. Note to my friends: If this is the first you’ve heard about it, you are very welcome to show up! I just haven’t remembered to personally invite everyone yet.

My (not-so) hidden agenda: My hope is to bring my church friends together with those who are looking for a church home, to allow them to build relationships before entering a church building. I know how scary it is to feel “all alone” while hunting for a church. Of course, all of our friends are welcome, even if they already attend a different church!

House Prep: I generally clean the house pretty good on Friday or Saturday, and straighten up on Sunday mornings before church. I save the bathrooms for Sunday mornings as well, because they don’t stay clean very long. Once I’m done with that, I go through the house and look for little nagging things. If they aren’t big projects, I try to take care of them right away. Otherwise, they get put on my list of things to do for the next week. It’s been really nice since I started doing this, because my house usually gets completely clean at least once a week. That keeps me from getting sneaky little overlooked spots that build up and become difficult!

Food Prep: Nearly everyone brings a side, but I try to fix the main course. Since we are on a tight budget, it’s usually spaghetti or a big pot of beans. Once in a while, I will have salad fixins and some freshly pressed tortillas. (They’re so inexpensive to make!) For a few weeks there, I was making fresh salsa and chips every Sunday. The chips are so easy – I will post a how-to later on. I make anything up ahead of time that I possibly can – pasta is quick and simple to cook after getting home, but slow cooker recipes free you up for visiting with your guests. (I also like to have a backup plan for extra food, in case the turnout is greater that we expected.)

Heart Prep: It’s good to remind yourself not to hurt your guests spiritually. Try not to be a worldly influence in their lives. Keep the TV turned off, stick with Christian or instrumental music in the background, and engage in activities that will encourage clean conversation. Jesse and I usually like to play board games on Sundays, but if there is enough conversation, you don’t really need any other form of entertainment. Say a prayer, and ask for help keeping your thoughts pure and your conversation godly.

Happy hosting!

By the way, if you don’t have a subscription to Homeschool Enrichment Magazine, here is a direct link to their free digital subscription page:

My latest article is on the Sep./Oct. cover: Asking Questions, Analyzing Answers. Hope you like it! (I also write the “Once Upon a
Homeschool” piece in every issue.)


Escaping back to reality

I’m on a mission, but I need some help. I don’t want to watch television anymore, but it’s about all we’ve been doing as a family for the past ten years (and as single people for years before that). During the day, when my husband is at work, I have many things to keep me busy – homeschooling, playing with my son, writing, composing/arranging, preparing for the homeschool classes that I teach, reading books to improve my current skills, etc. I only step foot into our living room to feed the fish. In the evenings though, I’d really like to take a break and spend time with my husband. However, I don’t have any desire to sit in front of the television anymore. We don’t talk to each other when the TV is on, and frankly, I’d rather be knocking a few things off my to-do list. I actually enjoy my work more than I do sitting and doing nothing. My husband has been feeling neglected because of this. I’m afraid he’s starting to think that I would rather work than “spend time” with him. In an effort to keep him from feeling this way, I’ve been trying to drop everything in the evenings and focus on him, but I’ve been trying to do so without involving the television in any way. He’s game, but we just don’t know what to do as a couple to pass our time. We used to go for long drives and out for nice dinners, but with the economy the way it is, those just aren’t practical options anymore. So far, in our efforts to stop watching so much TV, we’ve spent some time playing board games, and we’ve invited a couple of families over for dinner. A friend suggested that we start working out together. She and her husband do this regularly; they enjoy the time they spend conversing, and they really encourage one another to “keep up the good work,” so to speak. In the middle of writing this (last night), I actually took a break and made some cookies with Ian and Jesse. One of the fun things that we’ve done in the past is turn out all of the lights and play hide-and-seek. The winter months are ideal for this game, because there’s plenty of time left to play after the sun goes down. It’s really great because you can hide by laying on the couch or standing behind the drum set, and as long as you can keep from giggling, you can remain hidden for several minutes. I remember my dad once hiding by sitting on the kitchen table. I think we gave up before anyone ever found him, and there were five of us looking! Anyway, over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to try some new things and hopefully build a repertoire of non-television related activities. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, feel free to post an activity that your family enjoys! Challenge: Turn off the television tonight and do something fun together!