Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Help! My Internet Is Down!

One of the most frightening things that happen these days, sadly, is when the internet goes down. Of course, it isn't an emergency but, it is terribly annoying when you have a gazillion bills to pay, emails to open and reply to, several blog posts, scheduled social media posts, grocery orders, homeschool lessons, and you need to put money on your school kid's lunch accounts and check their grades.

Unfortunately, we seem to rely on the internet a little too much. Although, a lot of places, including schools, make it difficult not to. I also rely on it as a full-time job so it is necessary to have reliable service.

Verizon cell phone data is available but for a pretty hefty price. We do have data on our plan but my husband uses the majority of this while driving truck. He needs it to access maps, check traffic situations, most of the brokers and companies he deals with use some sort of website for everything. So, the leftover data allowance isn't much.

I tried to salvage what I could so I could check in on social media accounts, catch a few Pokemon, and check in with my internet service provider to see what kind of progress was being made on the outage. We have been having outages quite a bit lately. Since last fall to be exact. So, I'm in the market for a new provider. We live in a very rural area so we don't have much to choose from. matter of fact, we have just 2 options. (We had just one option until about a year ago.)

The kids have been a little annoyed due to not having access to certain games, apps, Youtube, and Instagram accounts, (Our 10-year-old was recently allowed to create an Instagram.) Apparently, this was only for her to follow One Direction and everybody in One Direction and post pictures of none other than, One Direction. She does manage to fit in a few minutes a day to message a couple of her friends, though! But when they start asking things like, "What are we supposed to do?" (Actually, it's more like, "WAT are we supposed to doooooowhohoooo?") I start to think that maybe they're on to much.

We do have times they are allowed to be online and there are "no screen times" each day and at meals. But, if they seriously can't find something to do with their time when the internet is down, it makes me think I should cut that time in half yet again. I mean, after all, I found plenty to do when I was a kid without internet!

Times are different and most kids have learning apps and even their schools have different websites and accounts to log onto. They read books on their tablets nowadays and can even play video games. They can chat with friends who live far away or just across town. This all got me thinking of each individual activity that is done online and what could replace it offline?

It is very hard to replace everything since it seems to be so hard to find a house phone that isn't being used as just a fax. I haven't even seen a pay phone in years! Letter writing is nice but we can't mail to an @ symbol. We need a physical address. (Pen pals are being worked on, though!) Video games can be played on a console or in the form of board games, card games, or any of the other several games we have. (We love board games and cards at our house!) Books and research, well, I am not particularly fond of eBooks so we have an extensive, physical library inside the house. Research is done often online since I haven't purchased a new set of encyclopedias in many years. There are plenty of toys here, plenty of crafts, we all love to bake and cook so we have that too! (If the weather was nicer outside, they'd be out there digging holes and drawing with sidewalk chalk.) I decided to add more things to our "power is out" or "the internet is out" bins.

We have a toy bench filled to the brim with board games and cards. There are some crafts in there as well. Then there is a massive bin filled with googly eyes, paper, crayons, colored pencils, various pipe cleaners, pom poms, paints, foam stickers, fabric paints, everything and anything that can be used to occupy kids of all ages. My favorite would be the drawer in the end table that has every set of Rory's Story Cubes ever created, tons of National Geographic books and Mad Libs and a few Farmers Almanacs. Believe it or not, that is the most used drawer in the whole house.

Even when the internet is up and running, the most fun times at our house are family time. Whether that is just watching movies, baking cookies, or playing games, it really doesn't matter.

What are some fun things you do when the power is out or you don't have WiFi?

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