It is the last Thursday in January and that means that Organized Thursdays over at Between the Worlds is coming to an end. It has been fun participating and reading about how others organized different areas of their life, from calendars, to laundry, to chores and on to this final Thursday's topic about Computer Time. The question has been asked: How does one keep up with everything around the house, plus home schooling kids plus taking care of little ones plus spend time on the computer blogging, or chatting on message boards or just surfing??
In this high-tech world, it really can be hard to control the amount of time that one sits in front of the computer or even the television for that matter. I really think that it comes down to setting boundaries or goals and then having the self-discipline to carry them out. I think too that as parents we need to be good examples to our children in every part of our life(including the amount of computer time we do on a daily basis).
It really is hard to be disciplined in this area of my life when I am married to a "computer guru", who has successfully put together enough computers for each of the older four kids to have their own computer and also for me to have my own. Then dh has several that he uses most of them are for work purposes. You also add to the mix that I use the educational resources on the internet to provide the majority of the curriculum for the schooling my kids. And that I also use the computer to stay up to date with education reforms(like reading on the No Child Left Behind Act) and other educational insights/aspects. You also add into the mix that we have more computers in the house(at current we have 8, sometimes that number goes to 12) than what we have cars! It really makes my household seem that our life revolves around the computers! Anyone want to take over my electric bill!?! LOL
I have tried all different types of things to regulate my time on the computer. I have tried the "setting the timer" routine, only to ignore the timer and continue on surfing. I have tried "fasting" from the computer for several days only to find that when the time was over I was back on computer for even more time than I was before the "fast". I have tried not going downstairs to the office for the whole day til my work is done only to find that I end up staying up way too late surfing and then lack sleep. Needless to say, I really have worked and thought hard to get this area of my life organized and under control to a managable level.
So what I have found to work the best for me is to do my computer time similiar to how I exercise during the day.....Do 15 minutes of exercise...Do 15 minutes of computer time. In a day's time, I try to do a total of 45 minutes of exercise. So usually within the day I end up with also 45 minutes(sometimes 1 hour) of "fun" computer time. You are probably thinking only 15 minutes at a time!! WOW! she is really disciplined! LOL I am working at making this system a habit! I have found that this system really only works the best during the week when dh is at work and I am home with the kids. How I usually do my time is while the kids are eating breakfast, I will check my email and make sure that I have everything I need for the day's school work. In the afternoon, the kids have a quiet time where the little ones are napping and the older ones are reading. During that time, I will take 15 minutes to check the two message boards that I frequent or write a quick blog post. In the evening, after dinner and it is wind down time for everyone, I will take the time to read other's blogs. Now that I have added a blog of my own to the mix, I will sit down in the afternoon while the kids are finishing up their school work on their own to work on my blog. I never would have imagined that having a blog would be so educational for me!
Also, I have one day were I focus on office type duties(pay bills, do lesson plans, filing papers, etc) and usually that means that I am on the computer more than any other day of the week!
As for the kids and their time on the computer, dh and I have set rules for them. The main rule is they get one hour of computer game time a day. This only happens when they are done with their schoolwork and responsibilities for the day. The time they spend on the computer for school work does not count towards their one hour of game time. My boys love to play the multi-player type games with their dad so usually on the weekends they end up with more game time on the computer than what they do during the week. However, should there need to be a consequence handed out for bad behavior or a unrespectful attitude, computer game time is the first thing that is lost.
Well there you have it, how I try my best to organize computer time at my house. For other's tips/ways of organizing computer time, head over to Organized Thursdays at Between the Worlds