Friday, December 11, 2009

Leaping Into "Video Games"

Kyle and Owen have been working very hard for the past five weeks to earn their first ever "video games" (these Leapster2 Kindergarten systems, to be precise). Every once in a while we do an 'earning chart' but we've never done something as big as this. They needed to accumulate 100 checks each to "earn it!" And we really wanted them to earn it before Christmas (i.e., not a Christmas present) so that they'd have them for the long road trips we're going to be setting out on in the coming days! They had 3 chances each day to get a check-- making their beds and tidying up their rooms in the morning (without complaint), feeding Cooper and setting the table for dinner each evening (without complaint), and doing "good bedtime behavior" at night. 100 checks is a lot when you're five years old. But, we wanted this to be big because it is a big deal for us to dive into the whole 'screen-time'/video/media world with our kids. At age 5.5 K & O have never had any exposure to this stuff. They have seen only two movies in the theater, ever. And they've never watched television with advertising (only PBS, with the exception of a handful of baseball and football games only in the past six months). The videos they have exposure to are very limited (the majority of their video collection is comprised of Curious George). We've held off for lots and lots of reasons, about which we feel very strongly. But we felt it was time now, and the boys really wanted these Leapster things, and the more we researched them, and talked to other parents about them, the more we thought that it was the right thing to do. Anyway, this week they both earned it! They couldn't be more thrilled with themselves. And seriously, they on fire with spelling and reading right now-- both of them-- and this is in large part thanks to those hard-earned Leapsters.


Katie said...

Gosh, you guys are awesome!

I have no kids (still in grad school...perhaps in 2015 it'll be time) but love reading things like this and saying, "I'll definitely do that. My kids will only watch PBS. They'll only eat organic clean vegetarian local food. They'll have books instead of video games." Etc.

So this makes me wonder...did you plan on raising your kids this way? Did you discuss things like this for years before adopting? Were there any plans you had that you didn't follow through on? Is there anything you feel exceptionally strongly about? I guess what I'm getting at is...are these life philosophies of yours, or did they evolve once you had your boys?

Also, I was wondering if you guys might consider doing a post about adoption. You've mentioned many times why you decided to adopt. But the actual "paper chase" and such...what was the process? How did you tell your families? How did you tell your friends? Did anyone object to adoption? Transracial adoption? How did your home studies go? Did you have to take any classes? What did you learn in the process? As someone who plans on adopting (unfortunately, I don't know if I can stand the ridiculous process in Haiti, but I would definitely love to since I speak French), I love reading about your daily life and musings, but I would love to know more about the process.

As always, I really enjoy reading your blog.

Ani said...

We're huge fan of the Leapster (it was a surprise present before a LONG trip) and I am surprised at the number of learning games available. Our son is a year younger than your boys, but the tracing games have really helped him with his pencil grip and his letter recognition - best part, he thinks its a game :)