Value and Uses of
TV and Video for Unschoolers

Whether to forbid or limit access to video and television is a recurring topic among parents and homeschoolers. It's great to find learning everywhere!

"It's not because unschooled children are superior that they won't exhibit the behaviors that parents fear. It's that their lives lack the factors that cause children to use TV in unhealthy ways."

—Joyce Fetteroll      

Gilligan's Island
My first TV writing: How I watched Gilligan's Island as a kid,
and the thoughts I remembered years later/years ago.

Special TV-Related Memories
in response to an anti-TV sentiment

What might turn your child into a zombie?
Rules, mostly. (Or a zombie attack.)
Just Add Light and Stir
Quotes or images of TV

Television, Children and Making Decisions Rationally
Vijay Owens' responses to a skeptical mom

Dan Vilter's TV Page
August 2003, Dan spoke on TV and learning at the HSC conference in Sacramento.
Here is his outline, with some fleshing-out AND a list of links!

The Economics of Restricting TV Viewing
a professor of economics discusses this in a clinically analytical fashion

The Wonderful World of Television
presented by Schuyler Waynforth at the London Unschooling Conference, 25 July 2009

"Everything I really need to know I learned from video games and cheesycartoons."
An account of a family's changing beliefs and practices.

In Defense of Cartoons
several families' experiences

WHAT CAN HAPPEN if little kids watch TV all day?
Will they ever stop? Will they ever learn?
TV Choice
Joyce Fetteroll responding to
illogical indignation
The Simpsons

Unexpected Learning
"their knowledge surprised us"

HOW Unschooled Kids Watch TV
eclectic tastes and other factors

A Richer Life
"bursting into song" and other surprising joys

History of TV
Links to sites and museums

Monster Mania
The Werewolf accidentally captures Amy Kagey's son

Does TV cause Violence?

WHY? Why not?
Some arguments for and against TV.

Snobbishness vs. Godzilla
A tale of beauty and love.

Shared Experiences are Important

Book Worship
Our culture worships text. Admit it.

What are some good Unschooling Movies?
Unschoolers recommend movies to help others understand unschooling.

on DVD

Magic TV
Magic you wouldn't see otherwise

Television, Children and Rational Decisionmaking
Vijay Owens

Do you want arguments against TV?
Links to various anti-TV sites, with some of their art

Pam Sorooshian wrote,

"I went looking for any decent studies on the effects of tv on children and came across this new study — statistical one involving 300,000 children over many years."

We find strong evidence against the prevailing wisdom that childhood television viewing causes harm to cognitive or educational development. Our preferred point estimate indicates that an additional year of preschool television exposure raises average test scores by about .02 standard deviations. We are able to reject negative effects larger than about . 03 standard deviations per year of television exposure. For reading and general knowledge scores— domains where intuition and existing evidence suggest that learning from television could be important—we find marginally statistically significant positive effects.
PRESCHOOL TELEVISION VIEWING AND ADOLESCENT TEST SCORES: HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FROM THE COLEMAN STUDY, on the faculty site of the University of Chicago School of Business, published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, February 2008


Revolution in a Box, Foreign Policy Magazine, November/December 2009

What is TV doing in the 21st century? This hopeful article says many things, including that it helps create "a world more equal for women, healthier, better governed, more united in response to global tragedy, and more likely to vote for local versions of American Idol than shoot at people."
Is "I Love Lucy" Educational? by Jan Hunt, The Natural Child Project

Don't Blame TV for ADHD Symptoms
"While previous studies have linked early television exposure to attention problems, a new study in the March [2006] issue of Pediatrics failed to find a connection between ADHD and TV viewing habits."

Little kids watch TV—alert the media! by Jacob Sollum


"If students aren't taught the language of sound and images, shouldn't they be considered as illiterate as if they left college without being able to read or write?"
George Lucas

"There's so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?"
Dick Cavett

"If I can't picture it, I can't understand it."
Albert Einstein

"All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value."
Carl Sagan

"I have learned a hell of a lot through watching film and television. That's where most of my knowledge comes from, is the TV. Discovery Channel! Endless assimilating. I'm like [the] Borg. I assimilate information from telly."
Eddie Izzard
voiceover commentary
on Dress to Kill DVD

And that doesn't even begin the glorious topic of VIDEO GAMES!

or the later boogeyman called Screens or Screentime