Topic | TRANSFORMERS! – Dealing with fads during the Charlotte Mason experience

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  • Heidi

    Hello everyone,


    I am bran spankin’ new to Charlotte Mason, so first forgive me if I’m repeating something that’s basic CM 101.

    My husband and I will be Homeschooling and we currently have a 4 1/2 YO, a 2 1/2 YO, and a 1 year.  My 4-year-old, Oscar, because of my husband’s love for 80s cartoons, has discovered Transformers (the newest Rescue bots as well as a few classic cartoons).

    Now that’s all he wants to talk about.

    To be clear we don’t allow Oscar to watch many episodes, and not too often, but it doesn’t seem to matter.  In the past it was Thomas the train, and with that we’d try to introduce trains and how they worked.  Oscar would listen but didn’t seem too interested, I think it was just Thomas he liked.

    I was just curious if anyone has had this experience and, if so, things they’ve tried to get the child interested in other things.  My husband is more careful about some of the twaddle he interoduces, but there will still be other influences (my parents, the in-laws, etc.).

    Any ideas?  Thank you so much,





    Hugs, Heidi! I be been homeschooling for 18 years, all boys. If you ever get this figured out, let me know. I’d love to know how. 🙂


    Lol, I agree with Robin, part of it is just natural. I have six boys and two girls and they all get absorbed in the topics they are interested in – be it something I love or something I loathe.  We’re still knee deep in raising little ones (oldest is 12) so from my experience so far here is what we do:

    Relax.  Breathe.  Encourage lots of time outside.  Read interesting books.  Use a wide variety of art materials.  Listen to music.  Create.  Play together.  Include them in your chores/day/work/activities.

    We also try to limit the things we do not want.  So we place limits on media as needed.  We generally do not purchase toys that are based in fads we wish to avoid or want our children to move past.  So while we have Legos, wooden trains, and stuffed animals you won’t see Transformers, Barbies, or whatever the current cartoon turned toy fad is.  Will this stop your child from talking ad naseum about them?  Probably not.  But it won’t feed it either.  When there are so many creative materials around they usually move on eventually. 

    And just for another perspective, if he’s talking to you telling you stories about these characters it’s narration!  Let him.  If all he’s doing is asking for toys of the characters it’s not narration.  It’s begging/nagging/hounding. 


    My kids do this as well.  It isn’t always a TV show or movie that they get obsessed with.  Right now it’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings…yesterday they dressed as a hobbit, dward, elf, and wizard.  At other times they’ve been interested in things like magic tricks, origami, photography, sculpting with clay, various books, countries or places, animals, etc.  Eventually they move onto something else and the obsession starts all over!  

    I love seeing the creativity they often show when they are learning about new things of their own interest.  A couple years ago they spent hours making carnival rides for their Webkinz…I loved seeing what they would come up with!  They also learned quite a bit about solving problems when their rides didn’t work out on the first try.  I think they can learn quite a bit when they are exploring a topic of their own interest.


    Same thing here with my 6 and 8 yrs. They constantly talk about Star Wars yet have never seen the movies. A relative gave them a Lego set and there has been no end to it. Personally, I am looking forward to the next fascination.


    My son is now 10 and when he was a toddler/preschooler he was all into Thomas the Train.  He had the toys, the videos, books, the clothing, shoes, ride-on, backpack, lunchbox, puzzles, and more.  We went to the Day Out with Thomas a few times.  We did encourage it too.  Then at about age 6, he became obsessed with dinosaurs.  Again the toys, books, clothing, videos, etc.  That was about all he would draw, but his drawings greatly improved.  He also made some of his own books.  We certainly had science covered that season with a lapbook and some books from Master Books on the topic.  I thought he was certain to become the next great paleontologist.  Older men warned me that he would outgrow it and I could not believe them because his interest was so strong.  Then at about age 8, his interest became strong for Revolutionary War, after studying it for school, and he left dinosaurs behind in the dust.  He likes to dress in period costumes for re-enactments, read books on it, watch documentaries on it, do drawings of it.  There was nothing I did that changed his interest though.  I think part of it is the age they are at and what things they are exposed to that can interest them.  Obviously, they could not get obsessed about something they have never seen.  Media, especially as books or tv, can have a great influance, good or bad.

    I think it can be great to have a strong focus on one area, to be really great at one thing rather than good at several things.  I see the same tendencies in my husband to get really into his hobbies.  As long as it is nothing bad, it can help them sharpen other skills.  I am one to dabble in a variety of interests and not be really great at any one thing.  My daughter tends to be like this too.


    I agree it goes in phases.  I wouldn’t stress it too much.  If it is a worry try non-chalantly to move his interest on to something else.  I think my children all did this a bit. Thomas, Barney,Barbie movies.

      Then it was books and time periods as that got older.  Weeks of outdoor play that involved neighborhood kids and wagons and ropes and bonnets and Indian attacks, and yes even outbreaks of chollera!!!Then they moved onto Knights and castles, seiges, Goths, etc… At some point it became weeks of the neighborhood kids surviving earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos, etc… There was a lot of action and screaming in our yard back in the day!  I actually miss that they have all mostly grown out of that. 

    All this to say… kids focus on things intently and then when they are finished with it, they move on. I think that may sortof CM”ish”! Just choose what you are comfortable with them  choosing from to focus on and then sit back and enjoy!!!


    I don’t know.  I have had a lot of the same experiences as those mentioned above, and I’ve generally handled them the same ways mentioned.  Still, I don’t know.  I find my son more prone to this than my daughter.  And we’ve experienced more the obsessions that are ok at first, then with more time become real inhibitors to other play or activities.  I actually completely banned a few things after talking them over with my son.  He understood completely.  He was fine with interest in them being shelved after we talked too.  However, I feel like you do … it’s always something …. and it’s a hard spot to be in as a parent.  I’m never sure if I’m squelching the next game designer or raising a good Christian man with work ethic and interests that are more mainstream and ones I deem healthier.  I think my issues pass the character obsessions.  We did a few of those, but many many subject obsessions over the years.  Now, I’d take those over these any day!  LOL.


    Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences!  Laughing  They really put my mind at ease.  Yesterday I tried a few planned events together rather than just “free time with Duplos”: drama movement, a few games of Hide and Seek, reading books together, baking cupcakes.  They had so much fun!  It seems when it’s just “time on their own” it really comes out.  But after a few activities together they ended up doing other things with their free time.

    Nothing else got down around the house, LOL!  But I guess we all have days like that. Wink  I figure on my deathbed I’m not going to be lementing that I didn’t clean the bathroom more often.

    And thank you Tristan for that bit about narration vs. nagging.  That was very insightful.



    My case was not helped at all by Sunday’s “May the 4th be with You” celebration of all things Star Wars!  By Sunday evening, even I was phrasing sentences like Yoda!  Ahem! 

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