Friday, October 16, 2015

The Social Media Discussion

In our very first, bare bones schedule for the school year, this week was supposed to be one of our break weeks. It was Fall break for the homeschool co-op and for one of the local school districts. Oddly, we live at the corner of three different suburban public school districts, one of which is converting from year-round school to longer summer breaks but they still get more vacation days throughout the year.

Not remembering that school district was off this week, Amber and I scheduled our October "Amber and Mom" day for Tuesday. Thankfully, we hadn't planned on doing too much outside of the house because it was crowded everywhere, except PT.  Our one trip to Target was crazy like a Saturday afternoon.

Milori waiting for Amber to start school earlier this week. Then today, happy as can be that she's doing German with him.
Biscotti - looking a bit better. The original course of antibiotics did not completely eradicate the UTI. He had a relapse Wednesday and is now back on antibiotics. He looks much better again today.
Although it wasn't supposed to be a break week, we didn't have a single day spent entirely at home. I felt extremely disconnected all week because many things were off their normal schedule: flute lesson was moved to a different day just for the week, PT was moved to a different day because of the therapist's vacation, and there were no co-op classes. At least art class was at its regularly scheduled time.

In addition to all of Amber's normal activities (minus the co-op classes), Biscotti had a recheck at the vet and then a relapse of his UTI causing me one sleepless night and many hours of care. The DCE at our church scheduled a fairly last minute, but fun, middle school youth gathering for Thursday afternoon since many of the kids were off school. Now today Amber had another homeschool teen group outing to a rural farm to traverse a corn maze, take a hayride, go through a not-very-haunted haunted house, and generally goof off with friends.

Fun at the farm: her shoes gave her some height today. And the kids darting into the corn maze.
Sunday Lunch: She was kinda grumpy but took a picture with mom anyway.
Unfortunately for Amber her attitude this week wasn't the best. German writing assignments given last week were not completed by their deadline this week, regular chores were not done when asked, home therapy exercises have not been a priority for Amber, and she has been sloppy in her regular school work. I hate to say it, but texting with her friends has become an issue. I love that she can stay in touch with her friends so easily, but she has been making poor choices for her time usage.

It is important for us, as her parents, to realize she is still a child who will make poor decisions and needs to be guided down the proper path. However, Amber doesn't seem to always remember that consequences come with those choices. Sadly for Amber this means she will be finishing assignments over the coming weekend in hopes of keeping limited texting abilities.

The allowed daily texting time has been greatly narrowed in order to resolve the conflict between texting and other responsibilities. In truth I don't mind the occasional text during the day from a friend with an immediate question, but long conversations can't happen until all assignments, exercises, flute practice and chores are completed. This is a change that has been a long time coming, but I have been loathe to make it. Amber desperately needs the connections with her friends while also keeping balance within the rest of her life.

Amber and Mom day lunch; two new books.
I feel very strongly that kids in the current connected society need to learn, while still young, how to be present in their lives and not experience it through their devices. There will be no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for Amber any time soon even though she is technically old enough for accounts. She needs to discover her place in the world and not how to tweet about every minutia of her day without actually participating in her own life. Honestly, I'd rather her talk on the phone with friends than the disjointed, random text conversations full of copied status updates, but even I understand how un-cool that is. 

All of this to say, it's not been the best week and she's not the most pleased with me at the moment. Thankfully, she does understand my point. She gets how easy it is to become absorbed in social media and to forget there is world out there to explore. She knows with her chronic illness she will be even more tempted to just watch the world than join it. Still, she's not all that excited over the new texting rules, and I'm sure she has a few friends who will think I'm *the meanest* mother ever. But it's not my job to please my teenage daughter and her friends.

Reviewing German dative case and geography.
Having said all that, school went much better than you'd think. Amber stayed home while I ran errands several times just so she could complete some assignments. Her list of missed assignments for this weekend isn't nearly as long as it could be and is comprised mostly of science experiments, confirmation, and history. She is even working on assignments on a Friday afternoon after a long day out with friends.

Next week everything is back to normal for our schedule and we might even manage a couple of days entirely at home. Here's to hoping!


  1. Christy - I understand where you are coming from. I REALLY do. Amber is so lucky to have you in her corner, caring enough to help her navigate these waters. Here's to a better week next week. Hugs!

  2. When schedules get changed, it does throw a kink in things for sure. Even when we don't start our days around the same time, it throws the rest of the day off. Electronics can be an issue here too. My kids aren't big on social media and texting yet, but they live Minecraft and other video games. I have been a bit wishy washy with enforcing the rules concerning time spent. I have to shut Sam down just last night so he would go to bed at a decent hour. Balance is a hard thing sometimes!

  3. Christy! You are doing a great job! Our kids don't have cell phones and texting abilities (yet), but I completely understand where you are coming from.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Amber texts with her iPad and not with her emergency use phone. So this does limit her texting to friends who have apple devices. Still, it's become an issue.

  4. Philip doesn't have a cell phone yet and until he can either pay for it himself or convince me that it would benefit me he won't. Social media I have wondered about but none of his friends have accounts yet so I have some time there. Our balance problem is Youtube videos. I think new limits will be coming down in the coming week.

    Philip is currently reading the 'Ranger's Apprentice series. He is at a scout camp this weekend so I can't ask him where he is in the series.

    1. Amber finished the Ranger's Apprentice series a while back - immediately after the last book came out, whenever that was. She was sad for weeks that it was officially the last book in the series according to the author. She has been reading the Brother Band books that are set in the same world, but says they aren't quite the same. When I saw the prequel had come out I got it as a surprise. She is ecstatic that it appears to be the first in a several part prequel set.

  5. OH I dont like it when our schedules are out of wack...throw in a few dr appts and some other switching of schedule times and there you go...seems kids do so much better with the routine of homeschool also...

    Not looking forward to the "texting years" 8(

    Hope next week is wonderful!

  6. When our girls were still homeschooling, getting text messages during school hours was an extremely frustrating problem. We had to establish a few rules limiting them, too. Jeremiah doesn't have his own phone or any device other than his laptop. He's not interested in having social media accounts, yet either. But he does still spend a lot of time playing online games! We have a few rules about that too! Sorry about Biscotti's relapse. I hope he feels better by now!

  7. T bought himself a phone a year or so ago and pays for it completely by himself. Last week we had a tricky week with bad attitudes and illness. This week I have needed to clamp down on lots of things which I felt were destroying the joy in our days together, the phone being one of them. I feel the same way as you. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with it, just that using it wastes minutes which could be far better spent. Navigating the waters of teendom is certainly not as simple as those of childhood, is it?

    1. Exactly. I'm sure these teenage years could be much harder than they have been so far, but it's not a cake-walk either.