My family isn’t tremendously fond of the winters up here on the Olympic Peninsula. They’re kind of chilly and damp, to start with, but our biggest problem is the short days. It gets dark here way too early for our testes in the winter.
Our solution to this has been to make that early darkness something special. We start lighting lots of candles (preferably non-paraffin), string Christmas lights across the living room even earlier than National Lampoon’s Griswolds, and cuddle up together on the sofa after the day fades away.
Then a holiday benefactor introduced us to Netflix (we’ve never bothered with broadcast television – we find the commercialism pretty toxic), and all sorts of things needed discovering. The result of this was the occasional introduction of the television into the dinner time space. This was unprecedented, and it did add a welcome flair to the dimness of winter. But as we got drawn into how the US States got their shapes, or the continuing voyages of that iconic starship, it eventually lead to abandoning the dinner table for the couch altogether, and became a habit that needed to be broken once the days grew longer again.
Enter Screen Free Week, excellently timed. The students at Five Acre School sign a voluntary contract, promising that they will not engage in any activity involving a screen for the duration the week. This commitment, of course, needs family support, so away went the dummy box and back we were at the table, sharing more of the day and trading news and opinions like true correspondents of life again (insert sigh of relief here).
Here’s what the Five Acre staff shared with parents about Screen Free Week:
“…Screen-Free Week is a nationwide event sponsored by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and celebrated by schools, families, and other civic and community groups each year. During Screen-Free Week, millions of children and adults pledge to spend seven days screen-free. Instead of watching TV or playing video games, they read, play, think, create, get physically active, and spend more time with friends and family.
The capstone event here at Five Acre School is Storybook Character Day. This Thursday (AND Tuesday for Primary!), students are invited to come to school dressed as their favorite character FROM A BOOK. Please have them bring the book also, so they can show it to their classmates.
Studies show that children who watch less TV are more likely to read well and to be physically fit. Turning off screens also allows for more family time. Each week, average American children spend more time in front of a screen than they do in school! Screen-Free Week is a great way to jump-start our kids into more reading, learning, and active play.
And it’s a lot of fun!”