I read on an Unschooling discussion group a while back about a grandmother who, when she came to stay, would not let her grandchildren watch T.V during the hours that they would have been at school were they not homeschooled. That won't be happening here, if the boys want to watch T.V when we're home they can do, although I'll be offering lots of opportunity for other activities too.
All three boys love a T.V programme about a baby and his family who live in a windmill. The baby goes on lots of adventures, and the boys think he is very funny! We have a few windmills nearby, and whenever we pass one they all shout, "It's baby Jake's windmill!" so when I saw that a windmill not too far from us was going to be open last Sunday afternoon, we took the boys along.
They enjoyed climbing the ladders, looking up and down the chutes, handling some grain and looking out of the windows.
The programme on its own is just a programme that I've no doubt they learn something from anyway, but our trip brought it into the 'real' world for them. I guess this is why it won't bother me if they watch T.V during the day when they might otherwise be at school; T.V is just another means I'll use to gather information about things that ignite interest for them, and then we'll follow these up with books, play, visits to places, art and craft activities, chats...whatever seems relevant and fun to them.
Funnily enough I was thinking about this post and how I should get around to writing it earlier today and Joseph was playing with play-doh. I could hear him chatting away to himself about windmills while playing with one of those play-doh presses that produces long 'snakes' or 'spaghetti' of various shapes. He told me he had been a combine harvester, had cut the wheat, taken it to the windmill (his play-doh press) turned the grain into flour and then turned it into breakfast cereal! He did this by mixing the 'flour' up in a pot and putting it in his toy oven. This self-directed learning suits him really well, and I love following his interests with him.
This evening he watched a short programme in which a teddy bear did some fishing and then Joseph went upstairs and did some fishing in the bath. Perhaps we'll try making some rods over the next few days, I reckon that would be a good way to use up some broken coat hangers and give them a game they can all enjoy together!
A bit of T.V can inspire some interesting stuff it seems!