I have been doing a lot of blog reading lately. It gives me insight into how other families are managing learning at home along with all the other things busy families do. One post at Camp Creek Blog deals with the issue of technology vs. reading. Putting down the Wii or the Xbox in order to read makes reading a punishment. How does a parent handle the balance between the two? Do they limit time with technology? Do they mandate reading time? Children in traditional school have a finite amount of time to devote to pleasurable activities. Unless more time is freed up during the school day for things like reading for pleasure and game playing they child is forced to choose between the two at home.
This sums up how I feel to a tee. Part of my wish for G to come home is for her to experience the joy of more time. She is the kid described above. She loves to play board games, she loves to play the Wii, she loves to play basketball, she loves to ride her bike, she loves to walk her dog, she loves to read a book. How do you take care of all these loves with only 5 hours a day: one in the morning to get ready for school, one hour taken up after school with homework, about an hour taken up with dinner and showering/preparing for bed. That leaves my child with so many loves only 2 hours a day to be just a child and do the many things she loves. She has Saturday and Sunday is taken up with Church and Sunday School leaving about 6 hours. Not much time to be a nine year old extremely active child. I know she is happy in school. I know she enjoys her teachers, her friends, and the structure of the day. I feel that it is unfair to give L the time to learn, to discover, to explore and yes, to play, while G toils away at a different subject every 45 minutes and very little time to become invested and hardly any time left over for play.
So when she is home, do I let her play the Wii uninterrupted for hours? Do I ask her to put it down and pick up the book she is reading at a snail's pace? Do I encourage her to go outside and shoot some hoops with her Dad or take the dog for a walk? Usually I let her choose realizing that reading is not going to be the first choice she makes. I hold to the belief that books will appeal to her and there will be time at bedtime or before she comes downstairs in the morning for her to snuggle in with Harry, Percy, Opal or Ivy. I will always be there with a good recommendation and a willingness to share my reading spot with her. Until then, she is working on her basketball skills on the actual and virtual court.