Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Screen-Free Week 2012 Update

Screen-Free Week 2012 is April 30 - May 6. We will be participating this year.

Yesterday, my husband & I discussed what Screen-Free Week will mean for us. Unfortunately, it isn't logical to turn off all screens completely. Dea has to use the computer for her Writing class, since it's online. The Spanish she is supposed to be doing & the computer programming she claims to want to do both require the computer. If Jay decides to continue with either Spanish or computer programming, he'll need the computer. He also uses the computer to type his writing assignments. The DVD lessons are a big part of his Latin study and his ASL is currently entirely based on DVDs. I could just have them skip those subjects for that week, but I really don't want to. That seems irrational to me.

SO, they will be allowed to use the computer only for those uses which have no other viable option. They will be allowed to continue with any DVD lessons that are required or are a large part of their course. They will be allowed to use my Nook to read e-books.

They will NOT be allowed to play on the computer for fun. They will NOT be doing fun educational games that are not necessary to their education. They will not be watching TV for fun. We will limit their TV use to only the DVDs needed for their courses. They will not be allowed to use my Nook for the games/apps. They will not be allowed to suddenly ignore the real books they have & start only reading e-books, so they can use my Nook.

My husband will be using his tablet for reading e-books & for checking messages related to him working on people's cars. That will be the extent of his computer use outside of work. I will check my email 1-2 times a day, in case I get an important email that can't be ignored for a week. I will still use the internet for paying bills. I will use the computer for my online courses. I will post to my blog before & after, but not during the week. I will use my Nook for reading.

The TV will actually be on a lot. It will be on so that we can use it to listen to Pandora through our Roku. That way, we still get the background noise we need. We will not watch any TV, though, except for the DVDs needed for school.

So, TV & computer use will be limited to what is necessary. Their will be no extraneous use of either. We are not counting our phones in Screen-Free Week, since they are not Smartphones. I will not ban texting. That would just mean that we'd end up spending more time on the phone, anyway. We have no video games, so those aren't a problem.

So, that's our plan. I will actually be typing up the expectations & rules and giving a copy to each child, so they can't say they didn't know something was off limits or allowed. I know that some people plan activities for every day, to make sure they have something to do. We won't be doing that, though. We will check what is going on in the city, which we would do anyway. We will play family games, read, the kids will spend time outside, etc. We really aren't bit on 'structured' fun time. I prefer to be open & flexible about it, instead of planning every moment of fun we will have.

What about you? Will you be observing Screen-Free Week this year? If you will be doing it, will you be planning activities to fill the time or leaving it open?