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Watcha watchin'?

This week over at Ordinary Life Magic, the latest (if I can be quick enough) of Stephanie's Unschool Tools is Television.

TV is one of those divisive topics - not unlike homeschooling and breast-feeding. You either fall into the "it rots your brain and we watch too much" camp, or you think "it's food for the brain and we should let our kids choose what they want to watch and how much". Mmm, actually, maybe there's a stance in the middle - yep, that would be me, sitting on the fence again!

We like our TV around here. However, my Hubby is quite adamant about no TV in bedrooms and by and large I think that's a good idea - except when I don't want to watch what everyone else is watching.

We have a nice big Panasonic 50" plasma in the lounge room  (go figure - for everything else, Australia is metric, but TVs? We use inches).  Attached to that is our Onkyo amplifier and surround sound speakers, Playstation 3 (doubles as our Blu-Ray DVD player) and the latest acquisition, Telstra T-box (for recording TV and we can also download movies from there).

Lots of remotes - we can't figure out the Logitech all-in-one remote...

We also have an old Sony 64cm CRT downstairs (except for when they use centimetres...) which is not connected to the antenna, so only good for DVDs, Playstation 2 and the Wii.

I reckon my kids learned to read early from watching Sesame Street when they were little! So, I don't really have issues with them watching TV. Generally they are very good at being age-appropriate with their viewing choices (so far). I do have issues with shows like Two and Half Men and Big Bang Theory (which I enjoy) being on rather early in the evening (7:30pm) which usually have lots of sexual references in them. The kids at this age find it all rather uncomfortable (and will hide their eyes or run out of the room if anything makes them feel too icky).

The other thing we have to be careful about is scary stuff and Wombat Girl - she is easily prone to over-active imagination (particularly at night-time) and many's the time I have had a scared girl in my bed when those monsters get too much.

In general, we like to discuss things we watch on TV - whatever the issue. And it's a good way of dealing with "issues" like politics, social studies, sex, drugs, rock-n-roll - whatever comes up. Even the "junk" is a good talking point, because we get to discuss critically what makes good viewing/news/entertainment.

I will just add at this point my husband is a chronic "plinger" - the word we use around here for someone who changes channels incessantly. He cannot watch ads and we often "watching" 2 or 3 shows at the same time. He also tends to forget there is more than one person in the room and it can really annoying. Just saying...

Anyway - some of our favourite TV shows are:
  • Wife Swap
  • My Kitchen Rules
  • Hoarders....
...oh wait...they are my favourite shows (you know, those guilty pleasures you occasionally get to sneak in when everyone else has gone to bed!). OK, our favourite family shows (in no particular order) are:
I also have to mention the amazing ABC iView and BBC iPlayer - great access to great shows and documentaries.

Now we also have a reasonable collection of DVDs and one of our favourite things to do is have a "family movie night" - which is preceded by much arguing, toing and froing and general indecision. Netflix is not available in Australia (just one of the joys of living Down Under), but we do have a Telstra T-box and can download movies from there (we got $200 worth of downloads included when we signed up).

Some of our firm favourites include:

  • Harry Potter (all 7 of them!)
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Lord of the Rings (the kids and not so much)
  • Star Wars (yes, all 6 of them)
  • Indiana Jones (all 4 of them)
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • The Goonies
  • Gremlins
  • Back to the Future (only the first one)
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (I prefer the first one, with Gene Wilder)
  • The Sound of Music
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  • High Society
  • Hello Dolly
  • Red Dog
  • National Treasure
  • Abbott & Costello
And we have a large collection on hard drive of great documentaries and no review of all things TV would be complete without mentioning Top Documentary Films website - just about every documentary you could possibly want to know about!!!  Just a few of our favourites:


  1. We just finished watching all episodes of the Big Bang Theory, ds doesn't really get most of the sexual references, and we're pretty open with the topic.

    Now we're watching The Wonder Years. Just got all the episodes. And that's how we usually do it. We choose something, get all the episodes, watch one or two every evening together. On weekends we watch movies. I love your list, here's mine -

    For homeschool, I download lots of Discovery Channel and BBC videos. Just watched a whole series on the Neanderthal. I LOVE YouTube.

    Great post!

  2. I'm open with the topic too - but they just don't want to know!! They are at that stage where they understand, but find it uncomfortable.

    Oh - the Wonder Years! I loved that show!!! Winnie and Kevin - great stuff! And yes - how good is YouTube?!

    I think that post was the first one I ever read of your blog - I knew we had a lot in common just from that list!!

  3. I missed this one in Stephanie's series. Thanks for the reminder. I love your list. Some of our random recent favorites...BBC's Robin Hood, Mythbusters, Cake Boss, Larkrise to Candleford, WKRP in Cincinnati, Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking.... We're kind of random :)

    Ooh Wonder Years. Loved it. I'll see what my girls think. Lots of good ideas here!

  4. Oh we are big fans of LOTR and Starwars too!!!!

    Our oldest( 21) and I went to see LOTR at the theater, she loved them so we bought them for her when they came out on DVD. This is how Sky found them and they quickly became her most favorite movies.

    My husband how no interest in them what so ever *until* we watched them all in subtitles. By this time our oldest and I were burned out.

    We must petition to get you Netflix! :)

  5. Thanks for the list, have bookmarked and am going to request our library buy some. We're big Horrible History and Magic School Bus fans here, but great to hear of other titles:)


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