If you ever came to my house, the first thing you would probably notice is that it’s littered with books. I have been an avid reader since I was 4, and I like to have all the books I’ve read on hand in case I want to revisit them. I was a librarian for years, and books became even more important to me then. My beautiful husband teases that we should make furniture out of the books because then at least we would be able to walk through the house. It’s not really That Bad, but only because he is constantly building me new shelves. Also, the boxes in the closets make a handy holding place.
Okay. It’s That Bad.
I am not ashamed. There is far worse clutter to be had.
The shelf in that pic, from our first year of homeschooling (weren’t they adorable? They made those Native American vests and headdresses), covered a whole wall and was that full from top to bottom. That room now has shelves all the way around it. Because books. Duh.
Now, my Littles know their way around a computer, a tablet, and even a smartphone. They are Children of the Tech Age, so of course they do. But when we are learning, be it history, language, math, or science (or any of the other weirdy things I throw in there for fun), I want them to have a Learning Experience. I want them to be able to put their hands on the words, to feel pages beneath their fingers, to be able to use an index and a table of contents. I love when we can open a book to a page and leave it laying there while we do the experiment or project on the page. It’s okay if we spill flour on the book while making salt dough. It’s fine if a beaker gets knocked over and a few drops land on the book. We don’t have to be careful not to ruin something that will cost a couple hundred to replace. We can have fun and be free and learn without stressing over messes. In fact, if I find something fun to do on one of the wonderful blogs I follow, I print it out so we can just read the directions off paper. Because no way am I putting my Kindle or my phone or my beloved laptop in the line of fire.
Sometimes we use their tablets for reading, but I don’t like it. I want them to know the joy of turning the page.
It seems to me that while technology is a necessity in this era, it is also capable of being fleeting. Its continued use depends on so many things. Energy resources. Affordability. I mean, if the lights go out, you can still use a book, but once the battery dies, a tablet is worthless.
My main issue, though, is that a good book published by a respectable publishing house is always going to be well-researched. When you read what’s in it, you’re going to be getting pretty close to the actual facts. Not so the ol’ interweb. As much as we may love it, Anybody can put Anything on the interweb. It doesn’t make it true. Think about that Facebook rumor that’s been going around again–the one where they’re going to start charging users. I had 3 people come to me saying, “OMG, Is This True?!” Um, no, no it isn’t. What a dumb move that would be on FB’s part. Because I don’t know about you, but I could totally live without FB, and I wouldn’t hesitate to cancel my account.
My point is that if you search China’s history on the web, you get thousands of hits and if you read through just 2-3 websites you get 2-3 different sets of dates and facts. Which one is right? Well, how would you know unless you spend hours doing your own research and getting it narrowed down? I’m a homeschooler, a SAHM, a farmer, and a blogger. I don’t have those kinds of extra hours. But there are authors out there whose job it is to get it right and publishers who have fact checkers to make sure their authors are getting it right. So when my kids learned about Asia this year, we took our info from these:
Okay, so we didn’t get to Australia, but that’s a whole other can of worms. My point is that these books are pretty reliable. Plus, they give my Littles the opportunity to get their hands on the info. Because learning is not all visual and, let’s face it, technology is more visual than anything. I know, you could argue that books are, too, but tech doesn’t have the same tactile effect that poring over a good book has.
Plus, books don’t make that annoying whirring sound or emit weirdy waves that interfere with your brain. There’s a reason everything tech warns not to use it for too long or risk doing damage to yourself. Epileptic seizures because we played an online game for math? Not my thing.
So I limit the tech we use in school and I limit the tech they use outside of school. When they are grown, I want them to know how to use a freaking book.
Kind of like I don’t want cursive to be a foreign language.