Monday, May 23, 2011


I'd like to think that dealing with distractions is just something that every parent -homeschooling or not- has to deal with. There is just soo much in the world to be distracted by. Even at thirty, I have a hard time staying focused when something else is happening in my vicinity that catches my interest. But distractions are a huge part of our problem over here, not just with school but with anything the children are asked to do or encouraged to help with.

It's difficult when we do not have a dedicated classroom and your classmates are all in different grades doing different things that are obviously more interesting than the assignment you've been given -even if it is ABC's and you've been reading for five years. Then there is the kids that aren't in school, the cat, the dog, the new kitten, oh! Mom's got a phone call, there's someone at the door, potty breaks and hobbit-style eating habits.

I am more of a mindset that unschooling for history, science, geography, music and art is more appropriate for my bunch. Unschooling is not NOT-learning, it's letting the children's interest direct the thing they decide to learn about. It's why my 9 year old declared the other day that he is "pretty sure it's just ant bites, chicken pox is caused by the varicella zoster virus and I'm fairly certain I haven't been exposed to that recently." I had to go look up the name of the virus to see if he was correct because he learns things I don't know about all on his own. and he was right.

But even outside of school, with chores and helping around the house and farm, distractions abound and multiply much like varicella zoster. A main element -or The Main, if you will- of distractions in our house is electronics. Anything and everything that buzzes, beeps, lights up, plays music, has a screen, vibrates or otherwise battery powered that sucks in any and every kid in the general vicinity. If one kid is using the computer for math or reading comp, 10 out of 10 times every other kid will be standing behind them watching the screen even if approved computer use kid has on head phones.

And honestly, I can't tell you the number of times I've asked the older kids to watch the baby while I go outside to get tomatoes from the garden, mail from the box, take a shower or get blackberries and with my 10 to 30 minute chore being done, reenter the house to find half a dozen bananas smashed into the floor from back door to front, the baby coverd in yogurt, the cat food dumped into the washing machine on top of wet, clean clothes, or any number of Max-induced crisis that could have been avoided had the kids actually done what I asked and not gotten distracted by computers or movies. (which were put on to keep the baby occupied to begin with).

Which begins a new religion in our house; no electronics. Nothing, no iPhones, Ipods, Leapsters, TV's, computers, car DVD's, no laptops, library movie rentals, Redbox, video games, or streaming movies. Even battery powered toys are being called into question. We're going off-grid and hopefully on-task.


Sarah Faith said...

I'm totally with you!! Way to go. Of course I reserve the right to use my own laptop :) but other than that I can't stand the electronic haze that these things create. Simplify and live well!

Dianne said...

Having watched my daughter homeschool four, I totally understand! Neat post! ;-)


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