Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"That nauseating, foul, unclean, repulsive television screen!"

So far so good in homeschooling Duke (wiping the sweat off my brow).  I realized the first few weeks I was being too ambitious with the basic three "R's" and science, history, art and music.  Goodness gracious, he is only 5 and would be in Kindergarten!
 So now we are working on the basics; the three "R's" and I am reading all types of  books to the kids.

I pulled out my dog-eared Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and told the boys they were in for a treat. Can you imagine being able to listen to that story for the first time once again? And as much as I enjoyed the first screen adaption with Gene Wilder (I refuse to watch or discuss the newer version with Johnny Depp, YUCK!), I wanted my boys to listen to the book first.  Other than Jaws, I haven't ever seen a movie adaption that was better than the book.

So I started reading it yesterday and 98 pages later (it is a 160 page book) my voice was almost gone.  I never knew a three-year-old could sit still that long and Duke was completely mesmerized.  "Read one more chapter, PLEASE!".  Today we completely finished the book (a record) and when I closed it Duke turned to me and said "Read it again, please". 

I have to confess I have a bit of a book addiction myself.  I never go anywhere without one in my purse or hand.  I am like a kid in the candystore every time I walk in the library or visit a bookstore.  If I had to choose between coffee or books I would pick books in a heartbeat.  My husband want's to surprise me with a gift?  Please make it an Amazon gift card; diamonds and flowers are BORING!

I have to share a long passage (edited from the original to save my fingers from exhaustion) from Charlie and the The Chocolate Factory with you. I love the Oompa-Loompas' songs about the naughty childen and my favorite is the one about television. I actually used this passage as a reading in drama class in middle-school.

My husband and I watch some TV at night after the boys go to bed (I am a news junkie), but I don't let my boys watch it at all right now.  They watched plenty when we were sick with mono, so I decided to have them quit cold turkey and they have handled it great. I know I will turn it on in the future, but it is fun to see how long the kids can go without the idiot-box.  And I have some nature videos for those emergency times (sickness or grumpy mom).

So here it goes!

"The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, never, NEVER let
Them near your television set-
In almost every house we've been,We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotized by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all of that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink-
but did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
"All right!" you'll cry.  "All right!" you'll say,
"But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children?  Please explain!"
We'll answer this by asking you,
"What used the darling ones to do?
How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?"
Have you forgotten?  Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
   READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
to READ some more. 
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Igoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll  now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read.
And once they start-oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts.  They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

You don't have to only read parenting books to be inspired, just pick up a great novel.  Thanks Roald Dahl!!!  Reading to your kids counts as doing Nothing, watching TV is doing nothing.  ;-)


  1. Roald Dahl was my absolute favorite - I loved the BFG the most. And I'm so glad to hear someone else doesn't like the new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I hated it and can't believe it's so popular.

  2. Ditto....from a fellow "book junkie"

  3. I'm not a parent (Plan to be one day in the future)
    and I think reading is so important for kids. Not only is it a time for you to bond with them it helps them use their imagination!
    I think it awesome your not letting them watch TV... In my opinion it doesn't help them develop their imagination because everything they could imagine is right there in front of them... Lol
    Keep up the good work!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your free actions and such!
    You do an amazing Job with everything!

  4. Sweet memories. :)
    I'd say that the movie Julie and Julia was better than the book. Way better.
    Glad you're getting into the swing of school. It's such a sweet time!

  5. Good for you! I am so impressed that you chose to homeschool and that you took tv away. You are far more brave than I. And I love love love that book. But we listen to a lot of audio books. Again, I am so impressed that you read the whole book aloud.

    (But I do prefer the Johnny Depp version to the Gene Wilder version of the movie. Its just that I heart Johnny Depp.)

  6. My boys love the Witches (absolutely hilarious--they lay in bed busting up as my husband read to them) and Matilda. We are huge Roald Dahl fans at our house!

  7. OK, is it weird that I heart Gene Wilder??? ;-)

  8. I picked up the psycho version of WW&CF for $5 on vacation to pop in the dvd player on the ride home, and now the kids are addicted. I'm sure they would LOVE to read the book. I love love love the passage you shared. Awesome. Any tips for dealing with a grouchy husband who refuses to ditch the TV?

  9. Tell the grouchy husband to watch tv after the kids go to bed! I use my DVR all of the time. The kids don't even know I watch at night most of the time. ;-)

  10. I LOVE IT! This is my first time to comment on your blog (just started following honestly). I home-school my younger two and we JUST had this discussion not two minutes ago! I just read this to my kiddos and one applauded and one complained, lol! Thanks for the help and support by sharing this, teehee! And glad you realized that a 5yr old doesn't have to do it ALL!

  11. You really should read the BFG, it's awesome. Your kids will love it. Ronadl Dahl is a great writer! Very imaginative.

  12. Huge book lover here too! The other night my little girl would't go to sleep so I was telling her about how my Dad, her Grandpa, would read me to sleep and started telling her all the stories we read together. When I mentioned 'Matilda' she wanted to know about it so I ended up telling her what I could remember and the look on her face was priceless! Now I'm trying to dig out my old copy from wherever its hidden so we can read it properly!
    I loved BFG and The Witches too, I have the whole collection somewhere, lol

  13. Hello, totally off the subject, but I was wondering if you could tell me the principles behind redness relief, because I'll like to use them to do a "yellowness relief" it seems whenever I brighten peoples faces who are a bit shadowed they always turn out a funny yellow tint. So I wanted a good way to fix that. I'd appreciate any tips because you seem to know everything. My email address is reflectionsbybrittanie@yahoo.com Thank you!

  14. If you like books.. You're going to love this. It's like Netflix for children's books.



  15. Sounds like our house...reading until momma doesn't have a voice!

  16. Loved reading to my kids. Think we did almost all of the Roald Dahl books, and Tolkein, and the early Harry Potter books (they started reading for themselves for the later ones)
    I still miss this.

  17. Very little TV (I was going to say "no TV", but they watch a couple of shows on Sat mornings) during the school year is easy - we're all so busy there's just no time for it HAHA! I've never read CatCF, but my daughter's 1st grade teacher is reading it to the class - she talked about oompa loompas all last week.

  18. LOVE THIS!! And unfortunately today I needed it! Roald Dahl was my favorite growing up!! Today I had two 3 yr olds with fevers and all over not feeling great... and neither was I... so we spent the whole afternoon watching TV (hiding my head ;-p ) anyway it was terribly nice how quiet things were (my 5 yr old could sit in front of it all day - sick or not - so he thought it was great), but with a horrible nagging guilt that I should be cuddling and reading to them instead. So that really struck home hard tonight! Thank you! Tomorrow I'm going to do better! Maybe we'll pull out some Roald Dahl! Now to find something to keep a busy 1 yr old happy while I read to the other 3... board books right?!!

    PS - I LOVE your blog! I've been following it for 1-2 yrs now. Thank you for sharing so much with all of us out 'there' you are an inspiration to so many. And it is so nice to 'meet' other moms, who have similar educational values... and a love for photography and PS. Hope all is well with your family.

  19. Wow, you've got stronger vocal cords than I do! Reading chapter books out loud is NOT one of my best homeschooling mommy skills.

    Have been reading through some of your old posts this morning and absolutely loving your blog. :-)