While I have often been known to strew such items as books, toys, art supplies, and activities, the thing I’m most well-known for strewing around my house is television programs. That’s right! Television programs.
How does one strew a television program you ask? Simple! By watching it whenever the children are in the room. Or by adding it to the Netflix queue. Or by simply talking about it to the kids and saying, “I’ve heard of this show and from what I can tell about it, it sounds like something you’d enjoy.”
It’s worked many times in the past. From sitcoms to programs on the Food Network, I have been quite successful in turning my children on to tv shows from the time they were born. But lately I’ve noticed that my television strewing has become more successful than ever.
By strewing certain tv shows, I have been able to not only cause an actual full-blown tv obsession but I have then been able to turn those tv obsessions into launching points for excellent learning opportunities.
Let me explain.
It all started with “The Simpsons.” I realized that my kids had never seen that show and, while many parents might find it inappropriate for elementary-aged children, I have never once doubted its valuable place in television history. Of course they loved it and Hunter started collecting the comic books, toys, DVDs, and anything else with “The Simpsons” that he could get his hands on.
And we are currently studying art history through episodes of “The Simpsons” using this awesome guide that a friend pointed out to me online. We just completed our study of Norman Rockwell and we are about to move on to Dali and Escher.
Then came the Doctor. I had so many smart, interesting friends who were crazy about “Doctor Who” so I kinda knew that my kids would love it if they gave it a chance. How could I ensure that they gave it a chance? By simply turning it on and watching it when they were in the room, that’s how. Originally it was my daughter who took the bait. The program seemed interesting enough to her so after I’d watched a couple of episodes in her presence, she took the initiative to keep watching on her own. As a matter of fact, pretty much all she did for about a month (in her spare time that is) was watch “Doctor Who.” And at some point, her brothers started watching with her.
Last night the whole family tuned in together to watch the premiere of the new season. We are having so much fun putting together materials for a “Doctor Who” themed lapbook and learning about historical figures via episodes. We recently watched the episode “Vincent and the Doctor” together during our study of Vincent Van Gogh (watch it; bring tissues) and our current study of Hitler and the Holocaust was launched by the Doctor episode “Let’s Kill Hitler.” We have a list of several other historical figures we’ll be studying via the Doctor in the near future.
Most recently, my son has begun watching the show “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” I knew that his buddy loved it so I initiated a conversation about the show between the two of them (as my attempts to get him to watch previously had not been successful). His friend insisted that it was great, that he’d love it, and told him what it was about. The next thing I knew, he was hooked. And I happened to love the convenience of the fact that it goes along well with their request to learn more about Asia. What a great component to that topic of study!
I believe that there are so many wonderful things to learn in this world, and television can be a really fun way to learn those things. If you have a tv program you’d like your kids to try, find it on YouTube. Add it to the Netflix queue. Put the DVDs on hold at the library.
Strewing with television programs can be just as valuable as strewing with any other materials.