Screen time can be beneficial for your children. If you are (or will be) homeschooling your 6th -8th grader it might be time for a reality check.
No matter your homeschool style – unschooling to classical – it’s time to take a look at today’s technology and see:
- If you’re using it to your best advantage.
- If you’re using it as a carrot.
- If you’re working against technology.
No matter your approach to the use of screen time in your home, you probably have some biases – some stronger than others – against the super-fast, super-easy world we live in today. For some of us, we have fond memories of hours in musty libraries searching the card catalog, taking notes and hauling a giant stack of books back to our study cubicle. For others, you might be up-to-date on everything technological but feel the need to make your child “earn” time on his phone or computer. And, for the lucky few you might have a good mix of the newest technology incorporated into your homeschool and find this entire article to be a non-issue. The rest of us salute you!!!
- Are you a Luddite? Do you feel strongly that you had to look up words, facts and even directions in a paper book? Are you putting these restrictions on your middle schooler? If so, why? While all kids should know how to look up a word in a paper dictionary, the reality is that forcing kids to learn as we did is putting them at a disadvantage. Who, in today’s world, sets off to find a dictionary or atlas when they already have one in their pocket? Sincerely ask yourself WHY you are insisting on a paper-life when the reality is electronic. By all means, teach your child manual methods of doing everything but, barring a disaster, is it reasonable to expect him to ignore the tools at hand?
- Are you using technology as a reward? Do you restrict your middle school child’s computer/game/phone time based on his work? For some kids, this is absolutely necessary. For others, it’s a daily challenge that parents set up for themselves with no real goal. What are you hoping to avoid? Has your child given you a reason to distrust him? Given today’s phones, tablets, and computers, be sure that your child has issues with setting his own limits. More kids do fine with mostly unlimited access.
- Are you a Goldilocks-family where everything is just right? While many of us struggle, other families seem to hit just the right balance with homeschooling and using technology with middle school kids. Sometimes this can just be luck of the draw. Other times it involves savvy parents. If you feel like you’re in a Goldilocks-type of situation, please take a minute and share what you do, how you do and why you do.
Homeschooling always comes down to the parents. What works for you won’t always work the family next door. With the way technology is changing so quickly (and how it has changed our lives) it’s your job to figure out what will and will not work in your family. Shooting for the Goldilocks-middle-ground is the ultimate goal where your family finds balance with the use of screen time.