We unplugged everything.
The announcement went well:

{We're re-doing our living room, hence the naked-ness of the room.
Just so you're not wondering why we're living in a bare brown box.}

It's an experiment. A Social Study on Exploration. Conan and I noticed things felt off with our kids; they were too connected with technology and not enough with each other. They were missing things as they really are. Their actions and interactions had one end result...screens. Creativity was lacking and authentic leisure was obsolete. So we unplugged.

Back to literature, music, arts, sports, imagination, developing skills and talents...exploring.

Once they get the work done, they can choose to explore whatever they want, as long as it's safe, affordable, and within the confines of gospel teachings. We will help them explore whatever they want. Explore a good story, history, a person. Explore drawing, glue, clay, woodwork. Explore the ocean, space, Africa. Explore our neighborhood, the dirt, the dishwasher, cooking, golf, instruments, massage therapy...Whatever! They seemed pretty excited once we presented it that way.

We asked them each what their hypothesis's on the experiment are...mostly they said they were going to die. But slowly they've started to talk about being better friends, having quieter moments, and more fun. Sigh.

Conan and I are hoping that by disconnecting they will re-connect with what's real and important. With each other, with us, with themselves, and most importantly with their Father in Heaven. That life saving relationship comes in the still moments when they can think, feel and listen. we need more of those.

So far so good. It's only been two days with just a couple minor meltdowns from Mickey Mouse detox, but we've already noticed a difference.

In the last two days we've gone to the gym, made green chips, made playdough, went to the park, played with playdough, made more playdough, cleaned up the playdough, made cookies, played Blockus, vacuumed dried playdough, explored the woods, made plans to build a dog house (for the dog we don't have), had piano lessons, dance parties; and they've played ninja, who can throw the ball against the wall the hardest, super hero doctors, and I think there was some cowboy mermaids in there too.


Homemade Playdough:
It's now memorized.

2 cups flour
2 cups water
1 cup salt
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
Stir in a big pot over low heat for around 10 minutes, until it pulls away from sides of pan and isn't sticky anymore. Let it cool and add food coloring. If it's sticky when you take it out of the pan, nuke it for 20 seconds and the moisture will absorb.

I've scoured homeschool websites and kid's crafts ideas to keep the little kids busy, but I'd love suggestions and ideas, if you've got any. It's a new way of thinking and planning and executing for me, not just the kids. It's kind of exhausting, but the way it should be.

Kacie says, "Mom, is the compooter plugged up?"

"Yes, honey, it's unplugged."

"Is the Wii plugged up?"

"Yes, sweetheart, so is the Wii."

"Is the music plugged up?"

"No, we can listen to all the music we want."

"Okay. Let's dance to Super Mario."

Life is good.


chris said...

Well done. I'm about to do the same thing.

Amanda Joy Petersen said...

This is great. We don't have Tv channels, just DVD's to watch on our TV. This experiment would be great just so that I don't have to watch Mater's Tall Tales one more time:)

We are doing this project next week

My little boy help me make these
crayons and chalk

This is one that I am going to do with my kids shortly as well, or the YW for girls camp


Good luck:) If you need more ideas, let me know.

~Amanda Joy

Unknown said...

Does this mean that you have to quit blogging too?

I am wondering how you got a house full of dramatic actors. Wink LOL

I think you are brave...very brave.

And smart. We may have to try this...just for a week or so, but we are already unplugged during the week, so that has to count for something.

Lori said...

Kudos. Sorry I ruined Kacie and Joey today.

ShEiLa said...

I am glad its you guys and not me. I love being connected to my kids with my cell and computer... I am all for taking a technology break. I know I survived as a kid and we had no VHS, DVD, Computer, cell phones, etc. Yep I was born in the Fred Flintstone days.


ps. I have spent less time with my computer and TV and more time with my sewing machine... so that's all good.

Laura said...

Wonderful!!! We did the very same thing. Actually, we said that the TV broke... end of story. It was much easier than anticipated and was only a matter of days before the requests for TV were replaced by requests for books. I'm not sure if it's directly related, but I've noticed we sleep better at night since the TV 'broke'.

Giggles said...

A friend showed me your blog.

I spent just one week last year off all social networks and forums. Just disconnecting from that part of the internet made such a difference to me. It might be time to do it again. With family scattered everywhere I still need email to stay connected to them (none of us like phones). But sometimes you just need to take a step back.

Jennifer Dawn said...

The teacher in me is LOVING this!

Beeswax said...

I just had the cable hooked back up after 1.5 years off. It is fantastic. But maybe not better than play dough.

Misty (aka MOM) said...

Wonderful! We did this 8 yrs ago and still love the screens gone in our house! I have a link to a collapsible picnic table my son and I are going to build when it gets a little warmer here! LOL My husband doesn't build but I do! LOL This link has pdf's and pictures. http://www.1stmerrickville.ca/docs/picnictable.htm

Kari said...

Add a packet of sugar free koolaid to the dough--you won't need the food coloring and it will smell super yummy.

Shannon Gillman Orr said...

Hooray for unplugging! We try to do it regularly. Its amazing.

We like to make forts in the living room with chairs and blankets, play hide/seek, and lately make towers of paper towels and crash into them!

Janelle said...

I already was a little bit in love with your blog - I may or may not have read through a few pages of it before subscribing, but finding out you and your family love Jesus makes you that much more awesome! I'm so excited to have found you!
I'm looking forward to trying out some of your fun crafts, too :)

Child Family said...

i want to say "oh, i LOVE unplugging. what a way to transcend all things unproductive, and life is at such a higher level of joy" and all that jazz, but i'm gonna risk judgement from all you moms more energetic and motivated than me and be honest...
that freaks me out.
terrifies me.
i might just pee my pants out of sheer horror.
how do you people LIVE?!?!?!
but good for you.

can we have your Wii??

Anonymous said...

I am sure your children will find plenty of things to do!

wendy said...

wow....you took on a mammoth, but VALIANT task.
I do agree we as a society are so hooked up to something, facebook, blogs, texting, Ipads, computer games ....you know the list
that there are FEW..moments to HEAR THAT STILL SMALL VOICE
How can it get through???

it is hard to be a hands on creative mom.
Um.......don't think I could do it as well as you.
and I used to make homemade playdough when the kids were little

Danielle Spangler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danielle Spangler said...

We unplugged in October...right after conference. The kids did great...I went crazy. August travels a week a month and tv after the kids in bed makes me happy. We lasted about 2 months with nothing. We now have an antenna that we get the basic channels on for free. I watch the news at night and the kids occasionally watch cartoons on the weekend. The kids now also get the Wii as a reward on Friday/Saturdays for an hour with Dad. I have seen a MAJOR change in their playing skills. Josh, 3, frequently tells me he is going in the play room to "use his imagination"...so funny:)

I think unplugging is great. I think it is another step in doing "all that you can" for your family. Good Luck!

Laura said...

My sister-in-law found this Paper City-- http://madebyjoel.blogspot.com/2010/04/paper-city.html

Andy was perfect in his 100 year old costume! He stayed in character all day. :) I miss seeing him in Kindergarten.

Shalum said...

Aww. he's such a cutie.