Monday, October 28, 2013


Kenneth has been doing so well in school. His last report card was straight A. His behavior has been exemplary as well.
When I found out about the website sumdog, I thought I had found an end to the homework hassle. All I would have to do is turn the kids loose on an educational learning site, and my work was done. That's pretty attractive to an old guy with not a lot of energy.
And there were other educational sites besides sumdog, like coolmath. Actually, coolmath bothered me a little, because it appeared to be more game than learning. So, when Alicia continued to struggle, I told her she must not go anywhere but sumdog; I let Kenneth run free.
And on weekend, the laptops were just another entertainment tool. They could go to the Disney site, or pretty much wherever they found joy. No downloads, no for-pay, but still they were able to navigate and have fun.
And it gave me a couple of teachable moments.
TANSTAAFL. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Kenneth wanted this benefit that was free to members. And I was able to explain to him that if you had to be a member, and you had to pay to be a member, then the benefit wasn't free; and that lead to a lot of other topics about the way things work. Air is free, if only because nobody has figured out yet how to restrict it.
And then today, he told his teacher her assignment was boring.
Well, screeching halt time.
I had let him play on the laptop all weekend, with time off to run a 5K charity race with Vanessa and church. Other than that, he was on the laptop all weekend long, without wanting to take time off for food. He was still on the laptop at 8:29 on Sunday night, and he was fully aware that he needed to be in bed by 8:30.
There were no flashing lights and engaging sound effects in his classroom today. Therefore, by comparison, it was boring.
Doing something that feels good, to the exclusion of all other activities, even if doing that brings harm: yeah, that's a start of addiction.
So, the conversation with Kenneth started with his description of what happened.
And then, what is the difference between discipline and punishment, and an assurance to him that he was NOT going to be punished, and in particular that he was not going to be spanked.
And then we proceeded.
And he doesn't like the results, which are that he doesn't get to use the computer, but it's possible that he may be able to understand the rest later. I have to keep him from having his intoxication becoming an addiction.

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