How does one discern what really matters?
How do we remain current and not waste a ton of time?
Current Events. This year marks the first time I have put today's world in the hands of my older children. They've read books, they've talked with grown ups, but this is the first time they themselves will come face to face with the world as presented through the media. It isn't a safe or pretty place. In particular, because of the nature of the internet, and folly being only a mouse click away, it is vital that they not be left to their own devices or be given too much liberality when it comes to sifting through the headlines.
Dealing with Time and Developing Discernment.
With so much information at their fingertips, how are they to know what to read? Obviously, if they pick something that simply isn't important, all is not lost; discernment will come with time. There is the good, there is seemingly a lot more of the bad, there is the appropriate and an unfortunate amount of the inappropriate. Someday, they will choose. all. by. themselves. EEK! At some point in time they will probably read things I'd rather they hadn't. Can we just come to terms with that? (no, believe me, I'd rather not)
In the meantime, I will try to teach them how to go about the choosing. After all, we are in the world, even if we are not of it. An understanding of which might just be the key to developing proper discernment. :)
However, with one computer, our main concern at this point is time. And all of our news sources online as they are, we don't have a lot of time to spare :)
The time factor:
- Limiting time. This is a tool that I use as a grown up ALL of the time. I commonly limit the time I have to finish a certain task. I take 30min to read in the morning. We start school at 9am, for example. It is when I do NOT limit my time that I end up wasting hours upon hours getting super side-tracked or just plain lazy. A timer with a LOUD and annoying beep is a very helpful tool for practicing self control ;)
- Limiting the sources was also a big help. Limiting them even more will be even better. For now. In this way, I can use Masterly Inactivity, instead of hovering, pestering, or generally showing myself as a control freak. :)
- They might also find that following a certain interest over the course of several weeks would be very interesting - discoveries made within a certain branch of Science, political issues, war and it's outworkings, a particular country in the news, etc.
- I thought that narrowing the selection would be a good way to keep them from being overwhelmed with the flood of information as well as time limits (they had 2 sites to choose from). It worked alright in that regard. But even with the limited choices, how were they to discern for themselves what items were worth their time? This is a big deal. I find that for myself, sensational headlines often draw my attention much quicker than the world happenings that really are affecting history.
- For now, I will be their discernment filter. I will choose for them. As we go along, I will dialogue with them about what is worthy of their time and what clearly is not. Later on, I will ask them to join me in deciding what news is pertinent for them to read. When I see a maturity and responsibility in this, I'll be happy to simply guide their choices. How long does this process take? Hah! I could foresee it being within a year's time, or several... it absolutely depends on the student!
- I can usually tell, from family conversation about what is happening in the world and knowing my children well, what will interest them. Based on what the news is, I've picked 4-5 articles for them to choose from (this way I can print them off!).
- I like to add an article about the same event from more than one viewpoint/news source. I would love to always have a conservative print magazine (World) to compare with the more liberal media.
- At some point, once we have some experience with this subject under our belts, I will graduate my kids to selecting their own articles from well-known and trusted sites. This will probably not take place until we have more than one computer between the 7 of us ;)
The links for this week:
Wall Street Protestors Decry “Gilded Age” :
Better Late Than Never :
Occupy Portland Summary : Protesters march, begin to fill Pioneer Courthouse Square :
Occupy Portland: Photo Essay :
Occupy Movement Reaches Critical Stage :
Editorial Cartoons at World Magazine :
Food Stamps Surge :