My Facebook Sabbatical

So what exactly did I learn from my week without Facebook? More than you would expect as it turns out.

First of all I went into this believing  that facebook was a huge time waster,  keeping me from doing more productive things. Turns out Facebook really isn’t that big of a culprit, most of the time if I’m playing on Facebook it’s because I’m tied down and I can’t do anything else anyway. I still have a nursing child and at times when I’m nursing, there  is nothing much else to do. I used to watch TV while she nursed but now more often than not cartoons are on the TV or we are in a room without a TV. Reading is always nice but  for some reason she’s going through a phase where she likes to slap the book out of my hands every time I pick one up while she’s nursing! So while I do get some reading done and some TV watching done, by and large I’m left with my phone for entertainment. With facebook not being an option what I found myself doing was playing games, talk about time wasters! I went from checking in with dragon city and Moshi village once a day to being on there, well, kind of a lot and also downloaded some new games! 

Tell you something else about Facebook, the games are truly a time waster but Facebook isn’t. Facebook is a connection with the rest of the world. Now I imagine it could be a huge time waster if I just spent all my time on there, but what I realized is, I really don’t spend undue amounts of time facebooking per se. I check in multiple times a day but it’s usually just a couple of minutes here and there. I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to and I enjoy posting what we’re up to. If I’m on there an undue amount of time it’s because I’m reading articles that come across my feed.

Here’s what happened during the week that I was not on Facebook: we got a new puppy, my oldest daughter reunited with her best friend who wanted to tag me in things and put it on facebook, we went to a charity event called gingerbread for Humanity where you buy and decorate a gingerbread house and the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity. My kids were really cute eating as much as they put on the house and getting frosting all over themselves and I really wanted to post those things and share them with the people on Facebook. Honestly, it takes me less time to post a quick status or quick picture in the moment then it did at the end of that week to go back and upload things and try to remember things and put everything out there that I wanted to share. So in conclusion, Facebook might take a little bit of time but for what I get out of it it’s completely worth it and it’s not a huge time suck. When I have a good book to read or something I want to watch on TV, I put the phone down anyway so I don’t think I needed forced sabbatical other than to help me realize the facebook is not my problem, procrastination is.

One more thing, without Facebook I managed to find substitutions anyway. I put status updates on Twitter and I put pictures on Instagram and yes I did blog a little more. But I don’t really like Instagram and Twitter that much and I prefer having my pictures and updates in one place and I have a lot more followers on Facebook and I feel like Facebook is more interactive than those other mediums. So all in all I definitely didn’t save any time since I found other ways to post anyway.

I think what I really learned is what I’ve known all along, and that is, I will get my productive time back when my baby is weaned. Until then I will continue to scroll through Facebook and click through on articles because that’s where most of my facebook time is going when I’m there, not facebooking per se, but clicking through and reading articles. And considering I read a lot of scientific articles and child development articles and things from Psychology Today, I don’t know if you’d  call it wasted time or not. Beats staring at the wall!

One last thing I did learn is that with the WordPress app and voice to text I’m actually able to blog while nursing, which I didn’t see it as an option before, so maybe it was worth the week off after all!

All Lives Matter

Can we all agree that BOTH black lives and blue lives matter?  How about ALL lives matter? Whatever happened to that?  I condemn police brutality by individual officers while still supporting police officers as a whole. I am grateful for the service of those who choose to put themselves in harms way to serve and protect while also finding it deplorable that anyone would abuse their power. I can  acknowledge that it is a dangerous job fraught with dangerous situations and sometimes you have to make split second life and death decisions. I also acknowledge that being human, mistakes can be made especially in split second life and death situations. I can understand all this and still think every person is accountable for their actions and that there will always be some who step over the line. This is not either/or in my book. The people calling for justice in the Eric Garner  case did not cause that psycho to shoot two police officers, he was a disturbed individual who had shot his girlfriend prior to shooting the officers and then killed himself. What he did was deplorable and when I see people posting that it was caused by those who question what happen in the Eric garner case it makes me ill. You can question whether justice was served or not without wishing more innocent people to be murdered. It’s not either/or. Both things are tragedies.

A week without facebook

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve gone and accepted a challenge to go facebook free for an entire week! My first thought was that moving the icon and disabling notifications may not be enough. I may have to uninstall the app from my smartphone entirely.  My very next thought was that I should post status update about my progress! It took a moment to realize the folly there, I can’t do that because I can’t post to Facebook! Then I remembered that the entire point of my original assertation that I could indeed forgo my social media addiction was to open up time for other pursuits. I used to be a pretty productive person, I’ve been known to work a 40 hour week, attend school full time and raise a house full of children, all while maintaining a small farm, keeping a blog and still managing to have some semblance of a social life. What happened to that woman? The sheer ease and convenience of technology combining social media and my smartphone is what happened. It’s insidious in how gradually it takes over your life. For me, it was a nursing baby that did me in! Being tied down in a position that makes it most uncomfortable to try to type or write,  having a child who won’t let me read because she prefers to grab and throw my book, combined with the lack of quality programming on TV these days, pretty much left me my smartphone for entertainment during those long nursing sessions. Well you can only play so much Dragon City and Mafia Wars, eventually I was forced to amuse myself on social media. Don’t judge me, it beats staring at the wall! Point is, it occurred to me that reviving my poor neglected blog would be a pretty productive use of the time regained by staying off of Facebook. Which pretty much explains what I’m doing blogging at 1 a.m. I’ve been meaning for a while to get back in the habit of writing again. No time like the present! I think everyone should take a week off Facebook and keep track of how much more stuff you get done without it then you do with it. Seriously, there should be a national stay off of Facebook week! My sister bet me a German chocolate cake that I couldn’t do it! Luckily she didn’t bet me that I couldn’t stay off of technology altogether, therefore I get to blog and tweet about my progress! Maybe we can make it a hashtag. #stayoffoffacebookweek. Why not?

Bed Sharing, Why Can’t Frozen Sheets Come in King Size?

Here’s something you never consider when navigating all the myriad and complex parenting decision you must make on a daily basis. We have made many parenting choices that fall outside the mainstream. Two of them, in combination, have served to deprive my kids of cute bed sheets. No, really!

First, we have more than the expected 2.3 kids. We are a large family and that was on purpose. Yes, we know what causes that and we planned it that way! Second, we believe in sleep sharing. Over the years that has taken many forms. My first child was 11 years old before he got a sibling. As an infant he slept with me in the adult bed and as an older child he came in and out of the bed as he desired. Bedroom doors were always left open at night. 

Then came child number two, but her older brother was pretty much sleeping on his own by then, no problem. Child three showed up while child two was still in the family bed. By child four we knew something had to change! For many months, my poor husband would end up kicked out of the bed by wiggly children and move to his recliner in the living room. Not ideal. By the time number five arrived we had gotten creative. Two queen sized beds shoved side by side worked to accommodate everyone nicely and we did this for several years.

As they have gotten older, they don’t always want to sleep with mom and dad, but still don’t want to sleep alone. Even the 17 year old says it’s harder to fall asleep and she doesn’t sleep as well when the 11 year old isn’t in the room with her. They have a loft bed that no one uses, they sleep together in the queen bed under the loft. 

My nine year old sprawls out and likes the bed to himself, but only if it’s the full sized bed that has been moved into his brothers room so he is still near others. The bunk beds in his room sit unused. In the seven year old’s room are the full sized bed used by his brother and the queen sized bed he sleeps in with his two year old sister (and most nights me as well). The two year old doesn’t even have her own bed. We know it won’t get used yet. We have time. We have never used a crib and by number three stopped putting one up. 

I know not everyone agrees with sleep sharing but there is ample research to support it as a healthy habit that builds emotionally well adjusted children. Regardless, it works for us. My only complaint is that in our quest for comfortable sleep that accommodates multiple people, all of my children have large, adult sized beds. Which is fine, except when they want Dora or Thomas sheets for their beds. They just don’t make those cute kid sheets in larger sizes. Trust me, I’ve looked!

Don’t get me wrong, the loft bed has Dora and the bunk beds have Mario and How to Train Your Dragon, respectively. But the beds they actually sleep in? Not so much. It’s not a big deal, just another reminder that we function outside the expected, outside the mainstream. Because apparently not one marketeer anywhere ever thought, Hey, we should totally make some king sized Frozen sheets! Because I gotta tell you, I would totally buy those! 

Good books for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Review for Go Away, Big Green Monster!

Great book for empowering children to cope with their fears

My pick of the day is “Go Away, Big Green Monster!” by Ed Emberley. This book delights toddlers and preschoolers alike with It’s rich colors and unique style. It is a fabulously empowering experience that teaches children that they have power over their fears. It’s also great for teaching colors and body parts as it uses repetition to reinforce those concepts. It’s sure to get a giggle and a “read it again!” from the two year old set. With a creative use of colors and cutouts, this book will quickly become a favorite!  Those giggles at the end are the child’s delight in discovering they have the power to direct their monsters to go away and stay away. 

Night Owl Homeschooling

One of the many reasons I love homeschooling is that it lets my family work on our own night owl schedule. I am most productive during the late evening hours.

I worked today (my husband was home with the kids) and my kids spent most of their waking, daylight hours outside playing. But here we are, at eleven o’clock at night, everyone happily engrossed in their various projects, self included. I’ve been working on planning for the last couple of hours and as I look up and around, there’s a child drawing math problems on the dry erase board, there’s an art project going on at the dining room table, a documentary playing on TV and an impromptu mythology lesson in the kitchen. The house is calm, peaceful and full of activity.

Everyone will wind down and head to their various bedrooms soon enough. The 11 year old has already read a bedtime to story to the 7 year old, just because she wanted to share the story about the legend of the bluebonnet. Even the two year old is happily creating worlds with littlest pet shops and la la loopsys in the family room.

Having watched them earlier count by tens, correctly identify cardinal ordinal relationships, work math problems for fun, and read aloud to each other, I am once again reassured that they are, in fact, learning. That this is working and most importantly, my kids are happy and enjoy learning.

 

My Moment of Clarity: An Unschooling Mom’s Epiphany

This happened several years ago when my oldest child was attending public school. I was already homeschooling my younger kids, reading a lot and learning a lot about unschooling. My then 17 year old was still attending public school, by his own choice. But we had issues. He was absent/tardy a lot and so we had to go to court. Let me clarify, I’m talking a few minutes late a few times, adding up to less than an hour of missed school. Then there were a few times he missed completely. I was livid at the $300 fine. Missing six days within six months really doesn’t seem like a lot to me. Especially when I consider that we easily have more than one day a month (we as in me and the little ones) that we don’t do much because we don’t feel like it. They don’t or I don’t. Lazy days, down days that everyone has, sick days, just too overwhelmed with other stuff days. Plus I feel like I’m a competent parent and I know when my kid is sick enough (or tired or grieving etc) to be home but not sick enough to need a doctor. Heck, most companies give you personal days because they recognize that even when you are healthy, you sometimes need a mental health day. (when his great grandmother died they actually told me I had to send a copy of the obituary).

Back to the point: I was livid. They didn’t bother with why or individual circumstances everyone there got lectured and fined. I had just been reading about how the public school system creates all these jobs, like the text book industry and teachers colleges and administration, etc and thought wow yeah, since all but one of the cases before the court that day were truancy you can add that judge, bailiff and the whole office staff to the list. Fining kids for being late or absent is a money making proposition.

Plus there was a teen mom with a newborn there who was also lectured and told to go back to school. Really? Because I think the baby needs her more right now and she can learn whatever she wants later on. She can go back to school later, earn her diploma online, be home schooled. You don’t even need a high school diploma to get into community college. I was outraged at what I felt were very skewed priorities. I know education is important but as far as development goes, those first few years are crucial. What was the rush to get that mom to put her baby in childcare?

I went on a rant about how outrageous it is that the state has more rights over my child than I do! I tried to pick him up early one day and a teacher refused to release him. Who else has the right to take and keep my child against my wishes? It seems crazy when you stop and consider it. My mom agreed at first then talked to my step dad about it then called me back with this take on it: hey, this is part of life, they are preparing him for the real world. everyone has to get up and go to work whether they like it or not. We hate our jobs but we get up and go to them every day and have for thirty years. Its called life. He has to get use to it.

I thought about it for a minute. That sounded so….familiar and like what everyone says and I’ve always heard and believed and… …and…and WRONG!

Wrong as in, it just washed over me, its OK for them to exert pointless control to turn him into a conforming robot because they have to in order to prepare him for a life of misery? Because that’s our idea of adult responsibility?

Then it hit me, so many people believe this and believe it strongly, but is it ok ? Is it right? Is it what i want for my kids? To sit down and shut up and be subordinate to some jerk of a boss who is a jerk just because they can be? NO….I want them to quit any job like that and find a better one, to follow their dreams, if that means being an entrepreneur instead of a wage slave or a starving artist or whatever it means, but no, I am certainly NOT preparing him for a life of drudgery spent in the service of a job he hates. NO NO NO, I don’t want that AT ALL……………

I’ve been an unschooler from that moment on, because it’s not just an educational philosophy, it has changed my outlook on EVERYTHING!

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