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Back To Earth

I’m unsure how many of you are experiencing the same thing during this unbelievable crisis but I thought I’d take a moment to share. Our household is virtually a screen free home. My children have no electronic devices that they use on a regular basis nor do they have phones. We do family movie night once a week and otherwise we play, connect and spend a lot of time outside. The 1st week of no school we spent on an 18 acre farm exploring nature and farming. This week I thought we would allow the kids some time in the morning to do their schoolwork before we headed out to the farm. Sadly, the impact of screen time was almost immediate. Two hours working on their computers caused them some of the most severe attention and focus issues I’ve seen. And yet last week we spent seven hours a day on a farm learning through exploration, creativity and play. We had science lessons, geography lessons, language, art, music and more. I did not have any of these attention and focus issues. There is of course a balance to be struck. I think a combination of outdoor time and in classroom time working collaboratively and learning is ideal. That said I’m struggling with the concept that my children are meant to learn their lessons from  computer work, games and videos. We’ve resorted to printing out all of the worksheets and bringing them with us as we play in our backyard or explore the farm.  It’s not just my kids that need the movement and fresh air. It’s especially true in a time like this where they’re not able to connect in person with their friends or teachers. Over the weekend I saw an unbelievable number of families out hiking. My kids and I hike every weekend and have for as long as I can remember. I never see parents and children hiking together on the weekends. This past weekend Sawnee mountain was packed. Families were not interacting with other families, but rather with their own family unit. I suspect that when all of this is over everyone will go back to their cell phones, computers, long hours at work and intensive academic programs. But I hold a small glimmer of hope that we will carry some residue from this time together. The parents and children will continue to connect in nature and through playful engagements outside of technology.

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