Nature Mama in the Technology World.

Anyone else torn between the two worlds? The fantastic ever changing and advancing technology world and the desire to live a bit more like the Ingalls family on Little House on the Prairie? Well I find myself torn between these two worlds often.

Currently we have had to put a limit on technology in our house. We refer to the time spent on any of the many electronic devices available for entertaining ones self as “TECH TIME.” Because my son in particular could happily “tech hop” all day long, we’ve had to set tech time boundaries

Tech hopping is when your child turns off the tv and starts playing a game on the ipad, then sets the ipad down only to start playing a video game on the computer or Wii, Play station, Xbox, etc…And never seems to GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!

We started a log where the kids can EARN their tech time during the week and spend it allllllll weekend long if they want, then come Monday morning a fresh start, any tech time unused is cleared and they must earn new tech time for the following weekend.

We started off with tasks we wanted to see more of, each family can choose tasks that meet their needs, but this plan is brilliant if I do say so myself! Here’s why: if the kids nag about tech time during the week, they loose time. (so no nagging) if the kids want to earn tech time they can by accomplishing the tasks mom and dad have been nagging about lately. (no mom and dad nagging) on the weekend the kids can happily be plugged in allowing mom and dad to sleep in, read, sip their tea, exercise or do whatever it is mom and dad want to do without interruptions. (I personally like sleeping in on the weekends!)

Some of the tasks we set for our family (to give ideas) were: 15 minutes of tech time earned for every hour spend outside playing (not including scheduled outside time or play dates) Since we home school we added 15 minutes of tech time for every hour of school work without complaints/protests, but rather steady happy work time. 5 minutes for using the Sonicare toothbrush for two minutes morning and night vs their manual brushes, 5 minutes for making the bed in the morning, 15 minutes for noticeable table manners at all three meals, 5 minutes for taking a bath without reminders, 15 minutes of tech time for every hour spend reading a book. (need to give narration for credit) etc…I’m sure you can think of things you need to run a bit more smoothly in your house.

If the kids really worked hard they could virtually earn enough hours of tech time to be plugged in all weekend long, so we capped it off at TEN hours max! Which is A LOT!, breaks down to two hours a day during the work week. This past week my kids earned 4.25 and 4.5 hours, which is wayyyyy less then they were getting previously during the week combined. So that was another bonus. Even if they did earn all ten hours, that still breaks down to the recommended two hours per day max set by some parenting something somewhere…you know some expert somewhere.

Occasionally during the week, I need the kids to watch a documentary for school, or practice an educational app on the ipad, etc…and in those cases, that tech time does not count towards earned time.

During the week, the kids are spending a lot of their days in nature again. They have built projects that sat collecting dust in the past. They are creating their own games, learning old ones, excited about a trip to the library again. They have read to one another and what mother doesn’t love seeing her kids read to each other! So sweet! Melts this mamas heart!

Our weeks are full of joyful natural experiences again and I can live in my sweet natural Laura Ingalls world. Then on the weekends I can be lazy, sleep in, have adult conversations with my husband and know I’m not holding my children back in the technology world by never having them experience the technology world. Currently my kids are very into all the coding games, so maybe coding is in their future, and maybe they will spend all day on a computer in their future careers, but they will also know how to grow food and enjoy the simple natural things in life too.

Finding balance in this fast paced world and holding on to the simple peaceful pleasures life can offer takes work. I’d love to hear how your family balances between nature and technology!

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Motivation and Compromise

My son is very goal motivated. It is not my natural style of parenting to bribe my kids with a reward, but he often will come up with his own chores and rewards haha. And it works for him, so not always does my parenting style match with his personal style. We find the happy middle ground.

Right now he is in full swing of a goal motivation phase of life. He has been waking up and asking if I have a job for him. While I think of something, he beats me to it and comes up with;

“How about I earn five coins on teach me (iPad school app), then get dressed, put all my dirty clothes in the hamper, make myself breakfast, clean up my dishes and earn an egg on reading eggs (a computer reading program) is that a good enough job for one Ben 10 episode?”

As I am waking up, sipping my tea and still in my jammie’s thinking about our day, I realize welllllll that does cover some reading, math and spelling…not to mention it will buy me time to sip my tea and relax before I have to get cracking on the day ahead. Yup, sounds good to me, go for it.

He zips around and accomplishes his chores then sits down to watch his episode of Ben 10. I’m still sipping my tea and in my jammie’s…haha!

After a while, I figure I better get moving, so I get up and get ready for the day.

Side note: Way less stressful morning, then the days when we used to race around the house in a state of chaos trying to get out the door for school, often forgetting lunches, backpacks, jackets, even shoes!

Well I’m up and ready, the episode is over and he’s hoping for another job. I hand him a spray bottle and rag, he goes spot hunting on the kitchen floor, then grabs a duster and eliminates most of the surface dust in the living room. I’m not ready yet for him to watch more tv, so I send him into his room to tidy up…to avoid child labor accusations Haha…, I send him outside to jump on the trampoline and hunt for a lizard as the final part of his job.

Television, computer games, iPad apps, audio stories, are all things my son will gravitate towards if they are options. We lump them all under the title of “tech” He would happily spend the entire day tech hopping if possible.

I don’t mind technology in our life, but I do mind too much of them, and I am extremely picky on what tech is approved. A degree of educational value needs to be involved for it to be on our list of ok technology. This is the area in our lives where I do not willy nilly give in to the nag factor.

I like to see my kids physically moving their bodies, spending time outside in nature, exercising their natural curiosity and being active creative kids. So this job situation has brought about many opportunities for compromise.

Yesterday I sent the kids outside with bowls full of seeds and their job was to plant the garden beds with these seeds. Immediately my son asks if all the seeds can go into one hole. Haha! I replied with specific directions, read directly from the seed packaging. They spent a good 45 minutes outside gardening. Which was not only a job, but also part of a lesson we have been doing on GMO crops and the bees. “Vanishing Bees” is the documentary that spurred this adventure. My children have gone from fearing the bees, to wanting a bee hive in our garden.

Another side note: take note of how all these aspects of our life are intertwined…our life incorporates learning, a job, responsibility, and yet it is all enjoyable for those involved…it’s our life not a desk or a classroom where my kids learn the most. I love the saying, we learn about the real world IN the real world, not a classroom.

I’m not sure if I have a specific point to my post, but I’m not the goal oriented one in this house haha!

I do like that even though I’m not a goal oriented person, my son is and I can embrace his needs in a way that benefits his growing mind and body. And that homeschooling or parenting doesn’t have to be torture, yelling, fighting, etc….you can find happy compromises that suit not only your needs, but your child’s needs as well.

Ah ha there is my point:

Find happy compromises that suit not only your needs, but your child’s needs as well.