Sunday, August 7, 2011

Podcasts and Geek Shows..More Critical Thinking

I listen to a lot of Podcasts, alot. I would say about 70% of what I use my Nano for is listening to podcasts, and generally these are nerdy geeky pod casts that provide great information to meet my curiosity or they tell a good story. This is not to say I don't listen to a few I won't ever let the kids listen to, Geek Savants this is you, but most of my podcasts are clean and kid consumable. My love of podcasts is met with the hubs love of River Monsters and Before There were Humans on TV.  Our house has some interesting conversations occurring at any one time due to these separate passions. Besides Mythbusters, How Stuff Works, and Dirty Jobs the Things have never really gotten into any other shows or podcasts, but that seems to be changing and it turns out to be a good thing.

This Christmas, Thing One had A LOT of questions about all the different religious holidays that occur in the Winter, and as generally well read as I can fake, some of it was beyond me. So what does a stumped parent do besides Google and Wiki it? I downloaded the couple Stuff You Should Know episodes dealing with the different holidays. Thing One really liked it and generally I have started using Stuff You Should Know when they have a podcast pertaining to something I don't know a lot about that the Things are asking about.  I like the audio aspect because the kids aren't distracted with the picture on the screen they are listening to the words.

On drives that I am not willing to pull out the DVD player, but also don't want to deal with the radio, podcasts have started coming the the rescue also.  We have listened to a number of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, and a number of This American Life and of course Stuff You Should Know.  Due to the content we have only listened to a limited number of Stuff You Missed in History Class and Stuff Mom Never Told You, but I expect these to become frequent conversation starters in the near future. That is what I like about these podcasts over just listening to an audio book. We all think and listen and can then talk about what we are hearing. Nothing like listening to a podcast about the history and relevance of Christmas and then comparing that to what we experience today.  I love the conversations and the questions that we share in a learning about something together.

Back to some of our TV watching, last night I was watching the History Detectives on PBS.  This is probably one of my top 5 shows, I love history and nothing is better than history with a story you can relate too.  First, Thing Two wanders down and plops himself in front of the TV. I was tempted to turn the channel, but decided against it; this is their history, the story of the country they are being raised in and though it isn't always pretty they should know it and own it. I left the TV on and waited to see when he would ask me to change it, he never asked. Thing One followed about 15 minutes later and she plopped down to watch. I was shocked my two never sit and watch a show that doesn't have freaky fish, something blowing up or cartoons.  As the show progressed we watched a segment on a cane carved at a Chinese internment camp and an artists drawing of pictures inside the shapes of gold nuggets and The Things were entranced.  When the show wrapped up Thing One looked and me and asked if she could watch another, I did an inside happy dance. I said that we didn't have any more recorded but that I will defiantly make sure they could watch it again when it recorded. 

Though TV shows or podcasts shouldn't be a babysitter I am learning constantly that they can be a good teacher. Thing Two learned how footballs were made on one show, and Thing One adored getting to see dinosaurs on another show.  As the parent who initially stated her kids would never watch TV and quickly reneged on that, I am really glad that there are great quality programs and podcasts out there to start a conversation, teach, and tell a story.  That isn't to say that everything on any show should be believed or that just because you hear something it is true.  Though I have to say no matter the logic I don't ever want to do in a big river again after watching River Monsters.

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