My electronic fast story. Week One.
(bear with me, this is a long post)
I will be listing different things that happened each day (for the whole month of October…one week per blog post) and including photos here and there. For those who like detail, I will be adding a lot. Those who don’t can just skim around.
(And just for the record, I am writing this blog post after almost a whole month has gone by! Each day of my journey, I have kept good notes! I’ve had many people ask me how our fast has gone, so I wanted to make sure to post as a way to encourage others!!)
Ok…so the chocolates have nothing to do with this post, but I thought I’d try to keep your attention! (They were from my Husband) Now…
Here are my:
6 homeschooled children, ranging in ages from 2 to 15…
Now picture them going about their day at home, instead of apple picking.
Picture one of those children (a certain 7 year old boy with fire under his feet) jumping like crazy playing a Wii game in the Living Room. Then picture another 2 more of those children, the oldest and the youngest, laying on the couch side-by-side. One is on his iPad with his tiniest sister beside him on his iPod. Then picture an 11 year old girl, on the other couch, vegging out to music on her MP3 player. And last but not least, picture the other 2 kids, one 8 year old girl on the laptop and the other 10 year old boy on the computer, playing the ever famous, “Minecraft”.
OH and don’t forget to picture Mama, also going about her day…
In the morning, catching up on Facebook from her Android phone, putting a tv show on for “Squeaky”, then knitting the morning away drinking coffee. You hear Mama saying, “Yes, you can have your 1/2 hour on the computer” and “Only a little while on your iPad!” Although knitting should be UNstressful, Mama is stressed thinking about if she’ll be able to school the kids this morning, get the granola made, and catch up on the piles of laundry. “Hey, you’re 1/2 hour was up A HALF HOUR AGO!!!! Get off the computer and give someone else a chance!!!” And then she says to her little “Squeaky”, “come and see Mama so I can change your diaper” and her response….”in minute!” Sheesh…where did she hear THAT from??
That was the story of my life!!!!
For years, I have desired a life without all the crazy. I’d do this and that to make it a “little” better but it honestly never got much better. I felt like Henry, in “Henry and the Great Society“. (if you haven’t read this great book… do it!!!)
The world was caving in on me and I just couldn’t fight it. Then it hit me.
On Sept. 28, 2012, I was talking to a friend about how frustrating it was to me to see my son on his iPad so much! She told me how her daughter could be on electronic devices for 6 or more hours a day and that every now and then she needed to “fast”. So, that week she had taken the internet away from her because her homeschool assignments weren’t done.
This got me thinking.
SO, after only a couple days of planning, I started our “2 Week Electronic Fast”. It was October 1, 2012, which was a good starting point to calculate the 2 weeks easier.
Only problem was…
after the 2 weeks, I wasn’t ready to give up my peace!!
Here is my story as I am typing on Day #28 of our fast! I am going to backtrack and start from…
It couldn’t have been a more perfect week to start.
My oldest son had gone to a friend’s for the week to go through the Bill Gothard seminar, “Basic Life Principles“. I knew, although he may do a little electronics while he was there, it would be a great time to get my younger 5 kids adapted to our “electronic fast” life. In my mind, my 15 year old would end up being the most difficult, so it was just easier for him to not be here. The younger kids seemed more pliable to me at the time.
I woke up to my 2 year old, “Squeaky”, asking for her daily morning “show”. She wanted to watch, “Veggitales”, but when I said she couldn’t, she absolutely had a complete nutty! Super meltdown at it’s finest! And rebelliously, she walked over to our computer, unplugged her big brother’s iPod and said, “ready?” and pushed onto a song. Needless to say, nutty #2 happened. Honestly, that was it. She never had even ONE more meltdown over not being allowed electronics. Not ONE!
My 8 year old daughter, “Beanie”, woke up and I read some books to them. Then my youngest son, 7 year old “Toodles” (that’s his desired “stage” name for when he does concerts for us haha), woke and I sent all three upstairs to pick up their rooms. Once all of the kids were up and dressed, they played upstairs between meals and got along great! A lot of the day was spent cleaning up in the kids bedrooms, stripping beds, vacuuming mattresses, etc. I went through lots of clothes and did loads or organizing. The first day was a success.
“Squeaky” asked for a show in the morning and I reminded her that we were not watching anymore tv and she was JUST fine about it. Her big 10 year old brother, “Noogie” was awake, so she played with him! All morning the kids did their own thing! From playing dolls, to reading, to playing Legos. (if you look closely, in the back, they have a whole band set up!! haha)
While my oldest son was away, I took some time to clean up his bed area and to get his bed all fresh for when he returned home! Although Day One was great (most “new” things are awesome…at first), I had a bit of naughty behavior to deal with. I made sure to mark, in my “electronic fast” notes, of who and what the offense was. I hold almost daily meetings with my kids, so I make sure to point out certain mishaps during our talks.
I had kids arguing about doing dishes and other chores and kids acting fussy over silly things. It’s hard to get used to doing other things rather than have plugged in things entertain you!
As for me, I started reading, “Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style“. Quite a few years back I had won a copy from the Bluedorn’s during a blog contest. As soon as I saw, “Classical Style”, I set it on my bookshelf to ignore it. I had always labeled myself as a “Relaxed Style” homeschooler and from what I had seen from “classical homeschooling”, it went against all I stood for!!
The most important part I missed was the “Christian” part!!! But, it’s funny how God allows things until just the right time! As I was reading along, in the very first chapter, I read a scripture verse they mentioned:
Romans 12:2 “And fashion not yourselves to this age: be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order for you to test and prove what is the will of God: what is good, and acceptable, and fully-formed”
Wow! That was JUST what I needed to read!!! The Lord was showing me how this “fast” from all things plugged in, was renewing our minds!!! It was transforming us!! It was only Day Two, but I had seen renewal already!!! Thank you, Lord!!!!
Each and everyday, (with the exception of maybe just a couple), I have studied this book and have gained so much wisdom from this wonderful couple! They use the bible to support their view on teaching our children and have lots of practical advice!
So Day Two continued and I planned a “school area” in the room I’ve always loved teaching in…the Dining Room. I decided I wanted an easel to hold our dry erase board and we actually went out and bought a bunch of supplies to make one, until my Husband remembered we had a really nice easel in the spare room! Duh! How did I forget THAT??
Here I am on our “good for nothing” trip to the hardware store. haha But… nothing is a waste of time, really. It was all just part of the process.
Here is my cute little easel holding my dry erase board! I love it and use it ALL the time now!
Here are a few pix from Day Two
My 11 year old, “Poco”, made a little bed for her beloved, “Sparky”…
“Beanie” gathered her dolls and had fun playing on her bed…
“Squeaky” and “Noogie” hanging out in the boys room…
And “Toodles” banging away, “August Rush” style, on our “mostly string-less” guitar…
OH and on Day Two, I decided I also needed a new set of cubbies in the school room. ”Squeaky” decided she’d help me build them after Daddy bought them…
Getting there!! She decided Barney needed to “help out” too! (that’s him wrapped in the pink blankie haha)
Finished! Ahhh…I love my little cubbie. But since it only has room enough for each child to have a spot for their school books, (later on in the month) I found another one like it I already had (hidden in a closet with junk in it) and had my oldest son take on the task of cleaning it out! Now it sits on top of this one and my Alphabet posters are to the right of the window!
As Day Two went on, I had a few bad attitudes to deal with. ”Noogie” was still in his PJ’s at noon and gave me a hard time about getting dressed because he wanted to feel “cozy” haha. Then after complaining and being disciplined, he said that he was just going to change into MORE PJ’s!!!! Well, needless to say…I won the battle and he actually wore day clothes!!
And, being creatures of habit, I thought of a few things I had to do online….then remembered I couldn’t GO online!! OOOOPS!!! The kids aren’t the only ones that need “renewed minds”!!!!
So, Day Two ended with lots of cranky kids going to bed…well…cranky.
Our morning was spent with me talking with my Husband about all of my organization plans and how happy I was without Facebook, updating my Ravelry everyday, Instagram on my Android…blah blah blah. Without tv on through the day, even with the kids busy around the house…it was “quiet”.
“Squeaky” asked for “a show” but, again, was fine when I reminded her that she can’t. She just went upstairs to play.
I spent the rest of the morning organizing photos…
The girls ended up painting…
The boys played Legos on the car carpet…
The rest of the day was very productive! The kids played the day away while I did regular chores and some organizing of the kids journals that I keep.
I used the computer for a few minutes to prepare an order for Associated Buyers! But got off quick in order to not be tempted! haha
The evening was a struggle with more bad attitudes and grumpy behavior. It was SO loud that I had a hard time settling “Squeaky” down to sleep. I decided to have a long talk with them on Day Four about how our evenings are going to be QUIET from now on!
I wrote in my journal, “Love my new quiet mornings!”
But I laid in bed that morning and figured I’d get up and order some photos for the kids journals. UGH. Realization that it’s our “Electronic Fast” and I couldn’t. I can’t take time to do THAT when there were other messes to organize!! Priorities, Bridget, PRIORITIES!!!
“Squeaky” was funny. She asked, “Show?” but she was saying it to make me laugh!!! Her expression was the cutest! She KNEW my answer before she asked the question!
I love her.
I had a great meeting with all FIVE of the kids. (Reminder… my oldest son is still away at his friends!)
Being a bit creative, I pondered over some things I wanted to talk with them about, and came up with this alliteration:
Bible Believers, Best Behaviors, Bathing Beauties, and Book Brains.
Aren’t I witty? haha
So I explained how I felt these were the most important things we needed to focus on:
Getting Closer in our walks with the Lord by reading God’s Word daily, being obedient & respectful, caring for our bodies and appearance, and gaining in knowledge, understanding and wisdom!
After our meeting, the kids got ready for the day and I told them it was a…
All on his own, my littlest boy, “Toodles” (hehe I still giggle whenever I write it), decided to clean out our “not-in-use-but-messy” television stand. He noticed “Noogie” was playing with the guitar and that he wasn’t working like I’d asked! Then he said, “I’m not doing this to earn computer. I’m doing it because we are having company tomorrow!” And in my journal I wrote, “Awwwwwww.”
Then of course, “Noogie” had to defend himself. After hearing his little brother say, “You’re not cleaning!”…his VERY respectful and loving response was, “Yes I am, you little brat!!!” (another naughty behavior jotted down in my journal to use as a moment of teaching later on!!!) After being disciplined and apologizing…he got to work too!
This is the section under where our tv sits, where we keep our Wii stuff. Great job, “Toodles”!!!
The kids did a GREAT job at cleaning their rooms!! I was very proud of them!
Here’s the girls room:
And here’s the boy’s room…
Then after cleaning, “Poco” decided to make cookies! After making them a few times with me, she is completely making them on her own and it’s so nice! Whenever I don’t feel up to making the kids a snack, I can ask her to make something! She’s so handy in the kitchen!!!
The evening of DAY FOUR was a learning experience for me.
The kids had a quiet night and got off to bed great! I brought Suri up to our bed, got her to sleep, and actually fell asleep myself. BUT I ended up waking up at 10PM to find my Husband had gotten “Domino’s Pizza”! haha So I had a piece and…
watched a little tv with him. It was a show full of violence and I hated it. We ended up shutting it off and went to bed! ha
Lesson learned… TV STINKS!
I woke up with my little “Squeaky” and this is what I wrote in my journal…
“We colored and I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I did. I loved that time with her”…
As soon as “Beanie” and “Toodles” were up, they gathered around and colored with her as I had coffee with my Husband. ”Noogie” woke up and just did this and that around the house. What a blessing to have them just relaxing instead of hyped up with electronics! “Poco” slept later. That’s just what 11 year old girls do who stay up too late reading!!!
I have been reading more of “Teaching the Trivium” and have gained so much wisdom from it! I wrote in my journal, “I’m so thankful for the Lord leading me.” And thankful, I am!
Well, when it came time for breakfast, sweet “Toodles” asked to help me make pancakes. What a little helper I have!!
At about 11 am, “Squeaky” fell asleep while she was nursing! She NEVER does that anymore! She’s 2.5 for crying out loud! She barely even naps! I think it was always because she was in front of the tv, and now she is learning to listen to her body!
The kids played nicely and I had a long talk with “Beanie” and “Toodles” because they had questions about adoption.
I washed the floors downstairs, and yet again, Mr. “Toodles” decided to help me clean! He vacuumed the couches ALL over and UNDER! He is awesome!
We ended up cleaning more to get ready for afternoon company!
“Beanie” was one child to give me a hard time. I asked her to clean out the clubhouse, but she wanted to clean the yard like some of the other kids were! I ended up enlisting one of the others to help her (after talking to her about no fussing!!!!!) since it WAS really messy and would have seemed overwhelming to anyone!
Then there was “Noogie”. Before obeying me and cleaning, he wanted to “read 10 more pages!” Then after I set him straight, he took his jolly old time getting dressed (YUP…still in his PJ’s haha) and then decided to eat a cold piece of pizza before working. More guidance and discipline by Mama.
Our company came and we all had a blast! For dinner we made mini pizzas…aren’t they cute? Can you find the one with the face? (made by my wonderful friend, Cindy!) ~ Love ya, MB!!!!
Before the day ended, we reinforced our house rule:
NO SHUTTING BEDROOM DOORS…EVER!
While company was here, the boys shut their door because they “didn’t want the girls coming in” and the girls shut their door and blamed it on one of the kids that were visiting. Neither excuse was gonna fly with Mama!!! My kids KNOW our rules! I told them that if they did not obey my rules, then (thanks to the advice of my friend) THERE DOORS WERE COMING OFF!!! I think they got the hint!
I didn’t write anymore notes for Day FIVE so I’m moving on to Day SIX!
I didn’t take any photos on Day SIX except this one. Sometimes I take odd photos for no apparent reason.
We had a very quiet morning and then a productive day! Started out with my youngest coloring, then her sister got up and played with her and they stuck stickers onto paper. Then the littlest brother got up and joined them.
Off and on all morning, as the kids got up, they took their baths or showers!
I read more of “Teaching the Trivium” and “Poco” and “Noogie” were reading on the couch beside me!
FINALLY!!! It was time to go and pick up my OLDEST SON!! YAY!!! He was missed SO much!!!!
After going through his seminar…he came home with LOTS to talk about!! All that time I thought HE’D be the most difficult with no electronics, but he had been so convicted by the seminar, that it wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought! He was actually on fire for wanting to stay focused! Woo hoo!! Thank you, Lord!!
The day ended with ALL of my children under our roof. Ahhhh. Peace!
Now as I’m typing, Genesis popped into my mind. ”So the evening and the morning were…”
Phew… the first week was almost over! We survived without electronics!!!
I woke to a very messy downstairs. That’s one thing I’ve noticed…and expected. Life without electronics means life with lots more MESSES! And we had gone to bed lazy and hadn’t picked up after the previous nights activities!
Before the kids got up, I cleaned around the house.
And since I didn’t take any pix (with my phone) this day EXCEPT another random one, I guess I have to post that just to keep you reeled in!
My breakfast. An english muffin, fried egg w/ cheese, fried onions & garlic and ham. Yum.
We ended up taking the kids to the park once everyone was dressed and fed! And I just remembered that I DID take more pix but on our regular camera! Let me go and hunt for a couple pix from the park…
Ok…so I found more than a couple! I tend to take a lot of photos with my digital as opposed to my phone. I’ll just post one of each of the kids…
And my biggest guy, “Cam”… (no silly name for him because that would just be embarrassing). I didn’t get one of him alone so I added one of him doing a biggest guy kinda thing…
Oh…alright. I don’t want to list him as family, but it would break “Poco’s” heart if I didn’t. Last AND the least (ha)…
The rest of the day I spent planning for schooling the next day! Daddy took the boys to buy walkie-talkies they wanted and the girls just played around the house.
I used the computer again to order library books and to print off some information I needed.
I also let the kids listen to music on the computer for the first time all week. I decided to not let them listen to their MP3 players or the iPod until I search through the music and take off any Christian music that is hardrock. Some of their CD’s have great songs, but others are not my cup of tea for them!
So… we made it through the first seven days! The 5 kids that were home all week were used to our new lifestyle, but I was curious how the 2nd week would go with my big kid home!!
I will post about WEEK TWO very soon!!!
Feel free to leave comments! I love them!!!