Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pop Culture At Our House

Notice I'm not writing a post about pop culture and homeschooled kids....because I can only speak about what I know. That is, I can speak about my family.

I think my daughters are very oblivious about pop culture. I would love for someone to come up with a little quiz about "Things Tweens Know and Love" and let me give it to 10 1/2 year old Sweetheart. I think she might fail. She doesn't know who Justin Bieber is. She's never watched American Idol or Dancing With the Stars. She hasn't read Harry Potter or Twilight. She could not list one single Jonas Brothers or Taylor Swift song if you offered her money. She doesn't have a cell phone or a Facebook account. I have no idea what popular things I am leaving out.

This isn't entirely because she's a homeschooled kid. 'Cause we know plenty of homeschoolers and many of them would know every single thing I just listed. Sure, it comes into play. She isn't around a roomful of her peers for 8 hours a day so she simply does not know what is popular at the moment. If she did, she'd be all in. She's always been sway-able. It used to really concern me. When she went to private school there was a popular girl in her class who was really into Littlest Pet Shop toys. Sweetheart HAD to have them. She worried about how she only had ____ when (popular girl) had ____.

Know what happened? As soon as summer hit, those Pet Shops went by the wayside. The whole first year we homeschooled I was delighted to watch my little girl realize what things SHE was interested in and spend time pursuing those things. Things I know she might have been ridiculed for liking by school friends.

That's just an example. It still happens. What little things Sweetheart does know about what's popular usually comes from church. She came home talking about The Diary of a Wimpy Kid the other day. Told me who all at church had read it...who had seen the much she wanted to read it. So, I looked into it and set her up online reading at this website and after a while, she was done. She hasn't mentioned it again and I'm not sure it's something she really liked or just thought she should like. It's hard to tell.

There's nothing wrong with hearing about something everyone is talking about and being interested. Truth is, now that we don't have TV, all the talk about TV shows on people's Facebook statuses bore me. I know what show they are talking about, but I'm not INTO

And yes, I really do think the lack of TV is causing seriouse lapses in my children's pop culture knowledge. They used to know who Hannah Montana was and oh that's the girl from (fill in name of Disney channel show). But now, nearly 4 months after turning off all TV service, we are clueless.

Magazines? Uh, we have Golf Digest and my mom's hand-me down magazines. Books? We go to the library mostly instead of the bookstore (or to the used bookstore) so they don't even see the big displays that scream HERE IS WHAT YOU SHOULD WANT TO BUY! Movies? There is so little worth going to see. We used to get Netflix so we stayed up with what was out there a little. I'm pretty picky and look everything up on Plugged In Online.

And we don't parent based on what other parents are doing. Your friend has a cell phone? That's nice dear. If you need to make a call, you are more than welcome to use mine. You want to get on the internet? There is your favorites folder, call me if you want to search for anything and we'll do it together. You want to watch TV? Run down to Grandpa's house...I'm sure Tom and Jerry is on.

Today I'm not going to talk about all the WHYS behind our decisions. That's another post in itself. The only point I'm trying to make is we are really out of it over here and we have no idea what's cool.

And I like it that way.


  1. Brenda, love this. And you know what almost got me teary-eyed? This: "The whole first year we homeschooled I was delighted to watch my little girl realize what things SHE was interested in and spend time pursuing those things. Things I know she might have been ridiculed for liking by school friends."

    I love the fact that we are "out of it" over here as well. I also love the fact that because we are homeschooling, the pressure is off all of us to try to keep on the latest and greatest whatever. It frees up a lot of time and energy. :)

    Great post, Brenda!

  2. I have no idea what is cool and to be honest with you, I didn't even know what a blog was till you showed me yours. I was blissfully ignorant of blogs just a year ago : )

    I think this may be why our two girls get along so well, they get to be individuals with each other, not some molded want to be what every one else is person.

    I like not being cool or in the know, it's always "worked" for me.

  3. Being overseas and without TV, I have no idea what's going on in the world in general until the Prince fills me in. Not to say I don't want to know, but politics isn't my "thing". It many times makes me feel sick.

    About pop culture; my kiddos, too have no clue. I agree not knowing lets them decide what things they like and who they are. Nothing wrong with that! Although I am sure someone, somewhere, will disagree and say you are a horrible mom because of it. I am too. :0)

    Horrible moms unite!!

  4. My older kids ,being P.S. kids, are up on many things, but not on others. They know most of the hot TV shows, even though they only watch a few. Most are unacceptable. They are totally clueless about most of the music their peers listen to. They are 15, 14,14, but do not have Facebook pages.

    Their friends are constantly wondering why they can't call or text them on their cell phones. It's because we have decided they don't need all of those features. The purpose of their phones is to keep in touch with us, so they don't need any thing more than a basic, prepaid plan.

    Could we be doing a better of job of keeping them unplugged? Maybe.

    But I do not think you all are horrible moms. Me, maybe, lol, but not you guys!

  5. Isn't it great to have kids that are interested in things just because THEY like them? However, I really don't think it's a trait that can be claimed only by home schoolers. I grew up public schooled and was not up on all this stuff either, because we did not have TV, and my parents tried to shelter me from a lot. We knew there was stuff that was popular, but that those kids were boring and all following each other like sheep. Sometimes we heard about stuff that was popular, but we didn't hang out with those kids.

    Home schoolers are probably better at the concept though, but they don't have the monopoly on it. I also think that being aware of what is popular and indulging in it are two different things, and it can be good for a child to know but not indulge, it builds character. I think that helps our kids learn to be good thinkers.

    My kids will probably be the ones that have a Facebook page (NOT Myspace) but not have cell phones or TV. There is nothing wrong with Facebook whatsoever, although I personally know some parents that withold Facebook from their TWENTY YEAR OLD kids just because it's a website and "websites, apart from ones to buy modest clothing from, are wicked". These people don't believe that blogs, Facebook or anything like that is right. It's nuts.

    I believe it's up to each individual family to decide what is and isn't acceptable for their family, but I also think it's time to let the 20-somethings decide for themselves, lol.

    I also think that the pop culture phenomenon happens in the patriarchal world as well. Think about it. If your daughter is interested in auto mechanics, sports, or woodworking, she is a wicked and rebellious girl who is "denying God's plan for her life". She must, according to the patriarchal standards, enjoy cooking, sewing, and having tea parties. It's just a different kind of pop culture...pop culture within a subculture, and it's still wrong, even if the activities are "sanctified".

    Good on you for raising thoughtful and interesting girls, Brenda!

  6. Mrs. W-- completely agree with you about the 20 year olds. I was thinking about all the 10 and 11 year olds I've seen on Facebook lately. Not so sure they are ready for that (maybe they have excellent supervision), or that it's entirely necessary.

    Also, about the patriarchial movement. You are exactly right. "Pop culture" can be defined different ways by different groups of folks. There is pressure no matter where you are to conform to that group's idea of what's popular to be into. Good point.

  7. Brenda, never mind that Facebook makes you state that you are at least 13 years of age. There are a lot of liars on Facebook obviously. My cousin is one of them. Her mom let her have an account though.

    If our sons are allowed to have stuff like that, the privilege will come along with filtering software on the computer so I can see everywhere they've been and block certain things.

  8. You know I have said what you just said and boy was my booty burned for it! HA HA! Why this upsets people I will never know. I am not judging them, but I like that my kids like what THEY like and have the toys that they find enchanting. What is funny is that my kids have opened up new things to thier public schooled friends that they had no idea about. Hee hee.

    We do have 5 channels and 3 of those are PBS. My boys love watching what they call learning shows. And somehow PBS gets to subjects before I do and add in the books from the library and I NEVER teach because they know it. LOL

    I love your family. Keep up the good work. We are not of the world, we just live here.

  9. If I could pick---this is what would happen. I could pay for just the cable channels I want. No packages. AND, we would pay for the minutes used. NOT for when the TV is off.

    Yeah right. I would like to have Animal Planet, Discovery, PBS, and a few others. There are some good things on TV but it's just too expensive to worry with it.

  10. We don't have tv here because the commercials and everything are more of a European standard- which means nudity or almost full nudity in daytime commercials, etc. It's everywhere else too. They even advertised a "Sexpo" at a convention center with a naked woman's rear end in a thong and leather boots. On a huge billboard.

    On our way to church.


    If I could pick, I would take those channels you mentioned, plus HGTV. :0)

  11. I think that it IS a lot because our kids are home schooled simply becasue we have to abiblity to truly be in control to what our children are exposed to. We couldnt stop a teacher from reading harry potter outloud. We couldnt stop a teacher from talking about "x" thing. We couldnt stop a teacher from making the kids memorize a taylor swift song for a school preformance.

    Homeschooling dont have a monopoly on it but NO one can possible convince me that we dont have it a whole heck of a lot better!

    My kids know more than I might like but still our clueless when it comes to other kids talking about stuff. Kaitlin said something about hannah montana and anyway, I ended up informing her that they were teh same girl. She had NO idea.

    Emily almost instinictively knows some things I think... she is the child that people say 7 going on 17 about. I DO NOT like it at all. I however cannot change her personality. I do however tend to be more legalistic about what she can and cant do than I was with the other too who appeared to be more clueless! She is my STRONGWILLED child! Way more than Kaitlin!

    We just simply talk things out as much as we can and we limit interaction with certain things as much as possible.

    In fact... I have friend who I love a lot but her daughter is simply not a good example, Emily wants to hang out with this older teenager, she just loves her. So we are literally having to limit contact. It makes me sad but what else can you do!

    I know my kids have seen some things and know some things I would really prefer them not to know but I feel like I have tried to be so careful about some things and have let others slip by!

    did you ever imagine that parenting (the right way) would ever be so hard!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Love it Lady!! Our 11.5 year old daughter has no idea what most of that stuff is. And I love it!! Our 11.5 year old is really into American Girl Books and Dolls (thank goodness we found all but one doll in thrift stores and the other was a gift from Grandma) Most girls her age have given up dolls, I remember playing with dolls till I was about 13 things change!! My daughter went to a sleepover at her cousins home who is the same age, but schooled in the "in" stuff. They played pin the lips on that Justin B using a poster. My daughter thought it was awful and told them so (it did not go over well as you can imagine, but I was so proud)I am just thankful that we can still keep our children - children. Take care!!

  13. All I can say, is that young minds are so impressionable. They should be filled with the things of God first, so that they can make the right choices about whether or not the websites, TV or whatever is appropriate for their viewing. I do not allow my children to have Facebook because of the ads on the side. Have you seen some of the smut on there? My children do have cell phones, but they are for my convenience, not theirs. They are not allowed to give their numbers to anyone or text anyone. My home does not have cable/sattelite...we use Netflix...the best thing ever! You get movies in the mail and you can also view some online. We also have Clearplay, which filters out parts of the movie that are not appropriate. I really enjoy all of the comments you all post and glad know that I'm not the only one who protects the children's minds. Be blessed.


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)