Saturday, November 9, 2013

Don't forget to set your VCRs!

A few weeks after school began back in September, Rich and I attended curriculum night.  At the end of all the presentations, a short video, maybe two minutes in length, was shown.  The music was fast-paced, as was the data being flashed on the screen.  (Good marketing as it created a sense of urgency.)  The video was designed to inform parents of the importance of technology in the school system based on the growth of technology over the past 10 years and the inevitable growth of technology in the future.  Call me crazy but I hadn't really thought about all the jobs of today that didn't exist 10 years ago until the list was right in my face.

I read on FB the other night that my favorite band ever was going to be performing on Leno Thursday night.  That night, I said to Rich, "Oh, we need to set the VCR."  I meant to say DVR and have no idea why my brain reverted back to 1999.  I can still remember what it was like without computers in the 1980s.  When I was in college in the early 90s, I didn't have my own computer.  No one did.  You went to the computer lab if you needed to type something up or you actually just wrote it out by hand.  By the time my kids are in high school, they and all of the classmates will own iPads or similar devices.  They probably will own multiple items.

When I wrote my kids and technology post a few months ago, the girls had not yet started the first grade.  Math facts have become a big thing in our house as the girls have a 3 minute timed test at the end of the school year.  I've found that, for the most part, verbal quizzing seems to be easier and work better.  A week ago, we began a different bowel management program with Anna that requires her to sit in the bathroom for 20-30 minutes, which can be a long time for a 6 year old.  I found a bunch of free educational apps (1st grade spelling and math) for my iPhone and she's been really excited to be able to play on my phone.

Because she normally doesn't use my phone, this is a big deal.  The only downside has been Allie and Emily exclaiming how unfair it is that Anna is allowed to use my phone.  At first, I threw out the statement that it's unfair that Anna has spina bifida but I'm not convinced that this is the way to go.  A six year old doesn't understand "fairness" like an adult does and I'm not sure it's correct for them to believe that spina bifida is "unfair."  Parenting triplets is difficult enough but now we have the added fact that one has a need greater and different from the other two and it's up to us to keep life as equal and fair to all three of them as possible.  So what we've been doing is allowing Allie and Emily to play games (math and/or spelling) on our computers or phones while Anna's in the bathroom or afterwards.  I tell them that they need to be helpful while I'm busy with Anna and this is their "reward" for doing so.

I'm still a firm believer that free play generates creativity so phone/computer usage is still severely limited in our home.  In addition, the girls' timed math test at the end of the year is a written test and so they need to practice answering those questions in written form outside of school.  This is definitely a learn as you go situation for us.        


EngrSandi said...

We frequently told our (now) 18 year old that he was our test kid. We'd never been parents before, so didn't know how we "should" do things. Everyone has to figure out how things work best for them. Other parents might have suggestions on how to something, but that might not be the best way for you.
Good for you for keeping the technology limited. I love seeing kids use their imagination and actually free play rather than being glued to an electronic "ignoromatic".

Side by Side said...

Yes, the writing component was the one that tripped my girls up.
Every year they barely made it with math facts, because they got so nervous and held their pencils so tight they could hardly write.

Kristen D said...

I love your blog and have been following for awhile. Fairness is so hard to explain to little ones in a way that they understand. I taught kindergarten for several years and was going to share what I used with them that seemed to help them understand..."fairness is not giving everyone the same thing it's giving everyone what they need at that time." And then I would give them an example or remind them of a time they got to do something "special or different" because that's what they needed at that time and their classmates didn't.

Sarah said...

Thanks, Kristin - I like that explanation.

Tara said...

This post reminded me of a blog I had read a while back, linked through Pinterest. Working with children and with many "multiples" this has been a good way to help kids visualize fair vs. equal and that what one person needs another may not.

Nikki said...

I think your solution is a great one. I grew up in a family of 6 and we learned early on that "life isn't fair" (maybe it's because my parents used that argument in retort every time we wanted what a sibling had). But, as a mom of twins, I understand the desire for each multiple to get equal treatment, so I see how this puts you in a tough spot. Sidenote: I'm also a teacher, and I can attest to the fact that technology in schools is a priority in education. Last year I taught an on-campus preschool class, and the cutie pies had never seen a desktop computer. They didn't know how to work a mouse, and were trying to access characters by poking the screen! Your little ones will do great at their end-of-year test because you are making it a focus as a family.