The Homeschool Minute ~ Taming the Tech Monster

/ / Advertisement, Blog, Weekly Newsletter-The Homeschool Minute

Taming the Tech Monster
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is YOUR trade magazine for family education. Stay subscribed to this newsletter becausethis is the place where we give FREE education gifts on a regular basis. Read the magazine anytime, 24/7, It’s the Family Education Magazine!

Mercy Every Minute   
The Wuehler Family

Have you found that computers, smart phones, tablets, gaming–in a word, technology–beckons you and begs to overtake more important things? Does it become an escape from those things that are waiting to be done, but you don’t want to tackle them right now? The entertainment, fellowship and distraction that technology provides can be addicting and time-consuming. Here are some guidelines our family has:

  • Screen time is a privilege, therefore, is only allowed when all other school work and chores are done, and only for a short period of time.
  • The younger the child is, the less screen time they should have (for developmental reasons). If under 6 years old, we allow 10 minutes or less on a hand-held device, and one 30-minute video per day. Ages 6-12 years, 20 minutes of screen time (includes gaming), and one hour video per day. Teens: depends on the responsibility of the teen.
  • If a school subject calls for computer usage (which does not count as their reward time on the screen) a parent needs to know when, where, and how long. The student is not allowed to go to ANY site without permission. Teach your kids the online dangers of technology. No chat rooms or private messaging without parental supervision.
  • All bedroom doors must remain open when on a computer or hand-held device. It is safest to keep technology use in open areas.
  • Devices should not charge in a child’s room at night, but in an open area away from bedrooms.
  • Put guards/filters on your wi-fi router and/or parental controls on all devices.
  • Non-school days, no screen time until children have been creative or productive or been outdoors first. Computers should not take the place of imaginative play, or creative activity.
  • Older children may need more screen time for class assignments. Talk to them about being distracted by less important things and the many traps associated with technology.
  • Extra screen time is allowed on occasion, but the child must first do something for the family like an extra chore, help a sibling, or helping prep a meal. Sometimes, the kids have a “laundry party” and fold loads while watching a video.
  • If there is any disrespect, grumbling or complaining, one of the first things to go is electronics. Being grounded from all electronics for a day or two, really makes the children think about their “real life” actions.
  • Moms need time limits, too. It’s too easy to let that blog or social media use up valuable time. Instead of interacting with our children or doing what needs to be done in real life, we are interacting with a screen. We can easily click our way into frustration as other things pile up. Kids are frustrated that they don’t have our full attention. Setting an evening screen time can be a reward for a day filled with real life ministry.

We could lose valuable time that we can never get back. We could easily let another day go by where we haven’t done something for the spiritual life of the home, or spent time talking with that child that needs our attention. After all, it’s easy to check out of real life for the momentary pleasure of technology in all its forms. Sometimes we just have to say, “No!” to ensure the best and highest use of our time. It’s being a good steward of the hours in the day that God has given us.

Take control of the technology beast before it takes control of you and your family. Let’s do what Ephesians 5:16 says and, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”


Fretlight 5 Guitar is your child’s all-access pass to creativity! Get them off the video games and learning a lifelong skill. Lights in the first 5 frets show you where to place your fingers to learn chords, scales, songs and riffs! Free software and video lessons included.

Raising Real Men    

“How do I tame the tech monster?” is one of the most common questions we get. Parents tell us all their children want to know is when they can get back to their game or movie. Other parents tell us they don’t allow any technology into their homes and won’t let their kids have any access until they’re adults.

What’s the balance?

Granted, it’s tough to control it when you can hand them the device and know they’ll be quiet, still, and satisfied and you can get some of your own work done. We’ve struggled with this ourselves. If you say no, they whine and whine.

So, how do you get them off their seats and away from the screens?

Just do it. Start with a screen-free day or evening. One night a week, make everyone put away their laptops, smartphones, and everything else and have some family time. Play board games. Talk. If you can’t stand it, watch a movie together and talk about it. At least you’ll be doing something together. Having their parents free and available will make your kids less likely to complain, too.

Ignore their complaints. For complain they will when you tell them, “Put it away and go play.” Expect it and ignore it. If they get too whiny, give them a job every time they complain. That pretty much takes care of it!

The amazing thing is that within a few hours, they always seem to start thinking and imagining again. They build play forts. They pretend to run a restaurant. They pick up a book.

That’s why you’ve got to limit technology. It’s too easy to just sit and absorb the movie or get lost in a game. Real life is harder and messier, and it first, it doesn’t seem as exciting. It’s important to their development, though, to engage reality-even the dreaded concept of boredom.

If you have older kids who are gaming for hours at a time, you may have a more difficult time ahead of you. Gaming can be physically addicting, really. It’ll take some convincing and a lot of support to help them get it in balance if it’s out of control. Here’s a blog article we wrote that talks more about this.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. It’s super-easy to find yourself at one of the extremes on this. It’s tempting when it seems too hard to control this stuff is to pitch it out entirely. We know parents who won’t let their kids have any technology at all until they’re adults. We think this is a bad idea.

Our children need to learn to use technology wisely before they leave our homes. They need to learn not to be obsessed with it. They need to learn what’s safe online and what’s not. They need to learn to resist temptation. Giving them access appropriate for their age and the accountability and instruction they need will be a protection to them when they leave our homes.

Like everything else in parenting, it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Handling media well is one of the things we talk about in our online classes for parents, Boot Camp 9-12 for parents of preteens, Boyhood Boot Camp for parents of younger boys, and PreFlight for teens and their parents

Your friends,

Hal & Melanie Young 

Home School Days in the Smokies,
November 8-12
! Experience an Educational Get-A-Way at Wilderness
at the Smokies Indoor Waterpark Resort, for as low as $79 per night, waterpark included! 
Also, take advantage of educational lessons about water safety and the Titanic’s history. 

The Art of Reading

Adam Andrews

Adam is away this week, but you can read his latest article in the Fall issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, “Making One Lesson Count.


Free eBook!
Click here and get your free eBook
7 Things You Should Know When Choosing Homeschool
from Excellent Quests.


A division of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members!
No limits
No matter what path your children decide to follow, there is a good chance they will need to have a working knowledge of the technology around them. has several courses to help them acquire that.
  • Computer Science/Programming: Chris Yust of Homeschool Programming, Inc. has a class designed to help your students learn the technology of the future. Twelve months of weekly lessons teach basic website design with HTML, programming concepts, Minecraft Mods, writing Java programs in Eclipse, and much more.
  • Internet Entrepreneurship for Teens: Do you have a child who loves to dream big and reach for the stars? These twenty-four weekly lessons help your teen learn how to start and promote a business and learn timeless business principles. Whether your teen actually starts his own business during this course or creates a mock business, he should be prepared to discover brand new ways to explore his God-given passions and purpose.
  • Keyboarding: David Kimball, “The Typing Coach,” provides ten weeks of audio and printable instruction to teach the basics of typing and improve students’ proficiency.
  • Experience Videomaking: Evonne Mandella, videographer and producer, teaches a class the whole family can enjoy. Come along with Evonne as she shows you how to create custom videos for almost any occasion-from church outreach to personalized gifts.
  • Web Game Design: In the Web Game Design class with Chris Yust, students learn how to create some simple games right in their web browser. This is a programming-centric class, meaning the students will be writing (typing) code to make things happen. The course covers topics including starting a JavaScript game, handling images and sound effects, input fields, 2D frame animation, virtual worlds, and much more.
Try for thirty days for only $1. Keep it and pay just $12.95/month and lock in that rate for as long as you keep your membership, no matter how many new classes and features we add.
One membership to serves your entire family, regardless of how many children you are homeschooling or their ages. There are no per-child fees or additional fees for textbooks, and courses are not live, so you can start them at any time. If you or someone you know is interested in teaching a class on our site, please contact Executive Editor Bonnie Rose Hudson at

Find tools to teach your children in the
Everything Homeschool Directory in the Fall issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. Check out our other directories
here for ideas for travel and family, higher education, online learning, special needs, and educational apps, toys, and gifts.


How would YOU like to win a microscope?
For the month of October, you and your friends can enter to win a microscope from Microscopes and More ($495 Retail value)! 
Win a Microscope from Microscopes and More!
To enter, just find the answers to our 5 science questions, fill them in on our entry form, and submit. You will find the answers in the 
science section
 of, and you do NOT have to be a member to enter.
Just click over to the entry form and start searching for the correct answers. Once you finish and submit the form, you will be entered in the giveaway!
Click here for entry form.
The Prize for this Giveaway is:
Parco XMT 103 – by Capital Microscope Services, Inc of Georgia
The XMT 103 Stereo Series offers precise optical performance with enhanced illumination. The LED stand offers a major increase in light intensity with Rheostat control. Crisp optical performance makes this the smart choice for macro viewing.


Developing Creativity in Every Child
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse


Click here to get access to FREE back issues of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.

Molly Green BOGO
The membership just got even better!
2 YEARS for the price of one at just $39*
 (regularly $89.90!)
This is the best time ever to claim your membership with our BOGO sale that ends October 31!

Like TOS on Facebook
Read the article 
in the Fall issue of

The Old Schoolhouse® 
Read the

Fall 2015

issue free at

or download the free mobile apps at
Current subscribers go here to access all back issues.
The FALL issue of Molly Green Magazine is available! Take advantage of our BOGO sale and get a 2-year membership, including 8 printed magazines, for just $39! And we’ll throw in the Fall issue too! See all you get. Become a member today! Ends Oct. 31. 
Take a peak at our digital version below!
You can also get
Molly Green Magazine
on these free mobile apps:

Have you activated your free access to RightNow Media and the 10,000 streaming videos library yet?  Every member gets it.

The Old Schoolhouse
 has MORE for you!

Check out these resources:

Who We Are:

“You are the “go-to” [for] articles, quotes, ideas, sales, you help us stay connected!”

  –Kamilla Ostwald   

I am amazed at the number of times I open my Homeschool Minute newsletter and have the opportunity to read EXACTLY what I need that day! Thank you so much for putting a real face on homeschooling.”


 –Michelle Sager
Liberty Twp, OH 

“Only just this past week have I seriously checked into the content of the site … May I just say wow?!”

  –Janelle Chille   

Mason City, IA

“I really enjoy reading all the THM articles. I learn a lot from Todd Wilson’s column. [He’s a] funny guy who speaks the simple truth! Thank you very much!”


Brandon, FL

“I look forward to THM every Wednesday. I really enjoy Deborah’s articles. For some reason, it must be God, she always writes about what I am needing to hear. Her ability to put scripture and God in the middle of all her articles keeps me coming back. I recently have been enjoying the Youngs’ [articles] because I have a young man (10) in my house. The encouragement of the Youngs is fabulous. I thank God for parents like them that pave the way for parents like myself and my husband.”

–Racheal Fowler

 Glen Burnie, Maryland

So love reading TOS on my iPad from cover to cover every month!!!”  
–Leigh Anne McGrady
Dunwoody, GA

What I appreciate most about Todd’s column is that he never assumes he knows what is best for me… but he KNOWS that God knows & encourages me to find that & follow that. Thanks for all the encouragement over the years!”    

Kannapolis, NC

…I appreciate them both so much. I love Diana’s passion for teaching history in a fun and interesting way. And that she is all about relationships first. I love that about Todd as well, and that he always, always says it is okay to relax about the schooling.

–Mara Martin

Everett, WA

Have you been blessed by

The Homeschool Minute™

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).