Thursday, April 16, 2009

A New Week-Long Holiday

Just some random thoughts-- and yes, our family is as guilty as the next in this area--
that beastly screen sitting in the living room, pulling us in and sucking our brain cells away--
(LOST doesn't really pertain to this does it??) :)
Having trouble finding quality time to spend with your family? Here's an interesting aricle reprinted from Janice Campbell of

TV Turnoff Week: Fast, Cheap, & Easy Life Enhancement!

Why not live a little this week? The Center for Screen Time Awareness is once again sponsoring the ever-timely TV Turnoff Week. Pointing out that “television cuts into family time, harms our children’s ability to read and succeed in school, and contributes to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity” (though otherwise, it’s not so bad?!), the Center suggests that during the week of April 20-26, families keep the television OFF.

They suggest that “Turning off the television gives us a chance to think, read, create, and do. To connect with our families and engage in our communities. To turn off TV and turn on life.” We always learn more when we choose to do and be, rather than sit and stare. If your family usually watches a ball game, try playing a game outside. If you enjoy cooking shows, try cooking instead! If your children like to watch cartoon, introduce them to the comics, and try drawing a few. Do and be, don’t sit and stare! The key is to live, rather than watching someone else pretend to live.

If the statistic stating that “forty percent of Americans frequently or always watch television during dinner” is true, and that includes families with children, think of the wasted opportunity for fellowship, shared conversations, and relationship building! Among the recommended activities for the week is a family dinner, an activity I recommend having as often as possible. You’ll find, as your children grow older, that it becomes increasingly difficult to find evenings to gather everyone around the table. It’s always worth the effort, though, because it can be a time of bonding and sharing. One of our table rules has always been that nothing negative, including anything disciplinary when the boys were young, ever takes place around the family table– only pleasant conversation and polite discussion of news and ideas. This way, the family table is a place of happy memories for each of us.

In addition to turning off the television, the Center suggests that spending an evening without any screen-time of any kind would be a good idea. I know that our family finds it easy to get busy on our respective computers, and in so doing, we miss the chance to be together. I think I’ll propose a game one evening this week– perhaps a round of Pick Two, or an all-out Scattergories brawl. Though it’s hard to beat Scrabble for all-around fun! In closing, I’ll remind you of Roald’s Dahl’s wonderful poem/song, “Television.” You may read the whole thing on the
Minstrel’s site, or in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite:

“The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set
–Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we sawA dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunkWith all that shocking ghastly junk…”
Read more of the poem…
Janice Campbell homeschooled her four sons from preschool into college. She is the author of Transcripts Made Easy, Get a Jump Start on College, and Evaluate Writing the Easy Way, as well as the Excellence in Literature curriculum for grades 8-12. Be sure to visit her website,, to get a free writing evaluation rubric and sign up for her free, twice-monthly e-zine.

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