Monday, August 30, 2010


It's good to step away from the computer.

Last week, I took my four boys camping in northern Wisconsin. It was a first for us, in a way -- our first long-term camping trip. (If you can call five days long term. Since I was alone with four boys, I declare that you can!). It was also a first in that it was probably the longest any of us have been without screen, TV or computer in, oh, about five years.

Sad, isn't it?

We've gone up North (Up Nort', as my fellow Wisconsinites tend to say) for years, but in years past, we've rented a cabin. And in years past, we've always packed along my laptop computer. In case of rain, we said. You know, so the kids could watch a DVD instead of driving us crazy. And generally, they did. I also had a bad habit of bringing it out to do "just a little work," while their Dad pulled it out at night to play Solitaire.

But last week, camping on a simple, non-electric site in a state forest, we had no electricity. My laptop -- still infected with a virus it caught over a month ago -- remained home. And you know what? We had fun. We biked. We hung out at the lake. We played mini-golf, went go-karting and toured the area. We spent time around the campfire. (Did you know that 1) boys are more likely to eat food cooked over a campfire and 2) more likely to remain in the vicinity while you cook if you cook over a campfire?) Five days without TV, computers or Wii, and no one missed it.

Ok, not no one. Boy #4 *did* pretend my back was a TV while biking behind me down the trail.

Have you gone screen-free, even for a short time? How did it work out for your family?


  1. good for y'all. i wonder sometimes what long term life without all this would be like.


  2. Hi Jennifer,

    You win mother of the year award; taking four kids camping alone is a BIG DEAL. It is a big deal with TWO adults, nice going! We love camping, cheap entertainment, and we never take along anything more electronic than books on CD for the car trip. The sounds of nature are not as sweet with the buzz of a laptop, are they? We camped in Northern Wisconsin last year too, and have been longing to return soon, it was lovely.

    As for going screen-free, we have decided that screen time in our house happens only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as a general rule. That said, sick children are sometimes allowed to watch an extra movie or does make life easier.

    I have posted a link to another of your articles on my blog this morning (It All Comes Back to Boys). I was much inspired by the "Are Children the Enemy of Creativity" article, thank you for sharing!

    All the best,


  3. Hey, Jennifer! "Going wireless" takes on a whole new meaning sometimes, doesn't it? You asked if anyone had gone a week without being plugged in, and yes, our family has too! You can read about our experience at!
    The post is quite old, but I have decided to get off my duff and get started again! As a homeschooling mom, it can be easy to find a zillion other, "more important" things to do. . .
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. I took my three camping by myself once-- and any numbers of days camping alone with multiple small boys is LONG!
    but always fun! glad you had a getaway!

  5. Hi Jennifer,
    So glad to have found your blog. TV? We don't own one :) And we're better off for it. Since we ditched it years ago my boys have learned blacksmithing, cabinetry, wordworking, music, hunting, fishing, and how to drum up their own entertainment. We can watch DVD's on the computer but we could count on ONE hand how many movies we watch in a year.
    I would encourage everyone to give it a try. Who knows, you just might learn to DO something.