What the purpose of this site is NOT

 Over the years people have often marveled at the educational results I’ve achieved with my kids by using TV as such an integral tool for teaching. But after they’ve expressed their admiration they inevitably make one (or more) of three comments

  • “I’d rather my kid read a book”
  • “Doesn’t TV ultimately just become a babysitter?”
  • “There may be some good TV programs out there but most of the stuff out there is junk and I really don’t want to risk my kids being exposed to that.”

 My answer to these people is that they’re right – to a certain extent. However I believe that their wariness is limiting and stands to deprive them of a very valuable educational tool

 Let’s look at their issues one by one. Let me begin by stating that books are a wonderful thing. I myself am a dyed in the wool bookworm, have studied for 3 degrees in literature at a top University and all my kids are readers (except the youngest who’s already been reading words for awhile but at 3 is not sitting and reading whole books quite yet) and I’m not talking about Goosebumps but about books with hundreds of pages – books above their age level. I’m also the former manager of a second hand bookstore.  But let’s face it – even we booklovers don’t want to read %100 of the time. Sometimes we simply want to be entertained.  There’s nothing shameful in that. Much of the greatest literature of all time – Shakespeare leaps immediately to mind – was originally meant to be viewed as a spectator rather than read as a book. Furthermore, using TV doesn’t mean not reading books. The purpose of this site is not to suggest that TV is the only way to teach but that it should be a method of instruction that you should include in your teaching arsenal. I’m not advocating TV replacing other educational methods but complementing them. And most importantly, while I have plenty to say about books – so do many people. I’m not saying that I couldn’t blog just as well as anyone else on the topic of the use of children’s books and reading in expanding a kids education. But you don’t actually need me for that as so many are already, for better or for worse, dealing with that topic. This topic, however, is thoroughly neglected and so I can offer you information that no one else is discussing.  I shall refer further to the this issue when considering why one should bother opening a blog at all in my contra-article to this about the purpose of tvteaches existing.

Does TV become an electronic babysitter (henceforth to be referred to as an EBS)? It can. In some cases it’s not even a bad thing. Even parents need a break now and then as we all well know and for a limited time there’s not even any great sin in a kid’s watching a program with no educational value. Obviously all programs should be previously checked out by the parents before exposing their kids to it for the first time to ensure that it doesn’t contain inappropriate material – same as with books!  However once that has been checked out there’s no problem using it in that manner. On the other hand, the answer to the question of whether it’s going to turn into an EBS really depends on the parent. It’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure that TV is used responsibly and to know what their child is being exposed to. I’m certainly not advocating using it as a substitute for parenting! On the other hand if you are going to be sticking your kid in front of the TV and you’re determining what they’re going to watch (and if you’re not then you have big problems already relating to parental control and discipline) I’d suggest that you consider choosing to give them (enjoyable) material they’ll benefit from educationally rather than commercialized fluff that at best gives them nothing and at worst imparts negative values.

 Is there a danger in your kid’s being “exposed to a lot of junk out there”? Yes, the dangers exist – as they do with books. But, as with the babysitting question above, that really depends on you the parent more than on the content available. TV is a tool and can be used positively or negatively. As the parent you’re the user of that tool and the one responsible for using it right and making sure your kids only use it right. I’ll bet %99+ of those reading this have at least one knife somewhere in the house that’s sharp enough to cut through skin and that’s within the reach of your kids.  Used properly nothing will cut through a carrot or a steak like a good knife. And so despite the dozens of negative uses for knives you keep it handy.

But in order to avoid any misunderstandings let me set out here what my purpose is not in creating this site.

 I did not create this site

  • to try and replace any already existing educational tools that you use.
  • As a license to park your kids in front of the TV and forget about your educational role as a parent
  • a guarantee that once you put your kid in front of a program they won’t change channels or switch DVDs at some point and be exposed to other material.

Your participation in your kid’s education plays a crucial role whatever tools you use and my purpose isn‘t to release you from responsibility for expanding your kids’ education. Rather it is to help you find effective tools to enable you to best carry out your educational goals for them.

8 Responses to “What the purpose of this site is NOT”

  1. Kenneth Howards Says:

    Very nice, i suggest the webmaster can set up a forum, so that we can talk and communicate.

  2. Homeschooling Works Says:

    I agree that TV can have some great stuff for kids to watch for educational purposes. We love to watch movies with our kids, we also have watched with them some of our childhood favorites from the 80’s and 90’s that most children today do not get a chance to watch. We also like video games in our home, which is another great educational tool for kids. We do not have television in our home and have only had it on and off since having children 8 years ago, we have one TV in the kids room for movies and computers for everything else. We just find what we want to watch at the library, Netflix, free online stuff to watch etc… It is more than enough when we can get our kids to sit and watch lol! My youngest is 5 and he loves to sit and watch movies. My oldest who is 8 loves the computer and video games more, yet we all spend a fair amount on each activity each I would say, me getting to use the computer less lol! Right now we are watching Invisible Worlds by the BBC is is very good.

    Great blog by the way!

  3. tvteacher Says:

    Thanks Homeschooling Works
    Yes i agree that there are quite a few shows from our childhood that our kids today are sure to miss out on if we don’t make the effort to hunt them down and you’ll see evidence of this and likely wax nostalgic as i continue to blog. sometimes these shows can be found on esoteric channels and other times they can be bought or rented. I’ve stocked my store with links to shows I intend to review so that even before the article is up it itself serves as a sort of resource center for finding out about shows.
    Yes we also work off of rentals and purchases and such. I lucked out in that my oldest was at the age for my needing to buy at the same time as people were changing over from video to DVD. So when people would sell their video collections for a song I’d sweep in and buy up all the educational programming.
    there are lots of great games out there as well that are educational in different ways though of course as with TV a parent should check it out first since some can have problematic content (we never seemed to have that with pacman :-)). However lots of more qualified people discuss that whereas tv isn’t really being discussed and I have experience with it so I’ve chosen to focus on the TV as a tool. But I’m open minded and so of course anything that can help expand a child’s knowledge, skills, and general horizons in a positive way is ok in my book!

  4. Cara Enton Says:

    Real quality on this website.

  5. Daniella Tan Says:

    Amazing blog! Best of luck to you.

  6. Erin Strutynski Says:

    Thanks for the information you have discussed here.

  7. Karen Jennings Says:

    magnificent points altogether, you simply gained a new reader.

  8. Lana Henerson Says:

    sensible piece for setting people straight ahead of time!

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