Video Games

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Consie

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Nov 13, 2010, 9:38:42 AM11/13/10
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Hi - My son is 7 1/2 years old. He got Wii for Christmas last year.
Since then, that is all he wants to do. He plays it all day long.
Now that Christmas is upon us again, we are getting nervous. A fellow
homeschooler told us it may take a year to get it out of his system.
He is not reading, yet, so this makes me more nervous. Any insight/
experience/suggestions?
Thank you
Consie

Robyn L. Coburn

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Nov 13, 2010, 1:55:28 PM11/13/10
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My suggestion is to get him some new games that he will enjoy or has asked
for as his Christmas gifts. A year is a long time, and not only do games
evolve, but his skills will also. I bet he needs some slightly more advanced
games.

Here's Sandra's page about Video Games http://sandradodd.com/videogames/
Tons of reading there to reassure and excite you about video games.

My daughter went from not reading to reading aloud all kinds of complicated
words from many sources over about two years. She is now 11 and there has
never been a moment of stress or worry over her reading except when Granny
wanted to keep asking her if she was reading yet whenever she called.
Result: Jayn refuses to converse with Granny, even though she is now
reading.

Here's a piece of writing that may help with your serenity over reading.
It's an older article, but I added it to my blog today.
http://robyncoburn.blogspot.com/2010/11/when-jayn-reads-vintage-article.html


Robyn L. Coburn
www.robyncoburn.blogspot.com
www.iggyjingles.blogspot.com
www.allthingsdoll.blogspot.com

Schuyler Waynforth

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Nov 13, 2010, 1:59:27 PM11/13/10
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He may not ever get video games out of his system. Simon and Linnaea really enjoy video games and have for a very long time. What may happen, with time and engagement by you with the games, is that he'll be a little more willing to go and do other things. 

The Wii is a really cool system. Nintendo has been very good at aiming at both younger and older audiences. There are so many fun games for families to share on the Wii. We are planning on getting the Just Dance games to add to our collection after a cousin played them with us a few weeks ago. Simon's really enjoying the game Monster Hunter for the Wii. 

Simon didn't read until he was 12. And there were times when I worried, times when I felt that reading was the hinge on which ability to function within the rest of the world rested. When I found myself getting nervous about his reading it helped to play a video game with him. Truly. Watching him see what I wasn't looking for, watching him explore the world of gaming without looking for the written instruction to arrive to tell him what to do, I realized the limitations that reading had put on my own vision. Simon is much faster, still, at seeing the details of the world. He listens better than I do, he spots changes more quickly than I do. Reading may be a fantastic thing, but it isn't the only thing. And it is amazing to notice the limitations that come with it. 

Schuyler


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Sandra Dodd

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Nov 13, 2010, 3:17:14 PM11/13/10
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-=-Any insight/experience/suggestions?-=-

Years' worth of the greatest hits of insight, experience and
suggestions, starting here:
http://sandradodd.com/videogames
http://sandradodd.com/tv

Cons...@aol.com

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Nov 13, 2010, 2:47:36 PM11/13/10
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I did forget to mention that I am also concerned because my son is gaining weight.  He just plays video games, watches tv and is getting fat.  This can't seem healthy.  I was so convinced about unschooling, since he was a baby, and now my belief is really being challenged. I don't like seeing our young child get fat.  When he does run, he can not keep up with other kids now.  Ahhh.   
 
Both my husband and I play Wii with him on a daily basis.  So, he has that human interaction, but he does not want to have friend over very often.  When he does, he is ready for them to leave after an hour, so he can play again.  He does not want to go to the theater, museum, or anything else.  He just wants Wii. 
 
Thanks again for your input.
 
Consie

Schuyler Waynforth

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Nov 13, 2010, 5:44:39 PM11/13/10
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Weights change over a child's life. It is absolutely possible that the two things aren't connected. My son is relatively thin and he isn't a particularly active fellow. He's been chubby at other times and then he grows tall and thin. It's happened over and over again. It's happened with other people's children. It's happened with friends of Simon's and Linnaea's, it's happened with friends of mine. I used to be amazingly (scarily) thin and now, I'm not. I'm more active now than I was when I was thinner. 

It sounds like you want to tell him no more video games. It sounds like that's what you want to justify. You have gone down this route for a while with little niggling worries and now, well, where I am it's colder outside. Going outside to do stuff is less appealing, less desirable, less comfortable. It was easy when Simon and Linnaea were younger to not see the cycle of winter versus summer activities, of any kind of cycle of activity. Now that I've had a lot more cycles of their lives with them, it is easier to see ebbs and flows as normal parts of their engagement with the world.

What would you do to make it all better? If you feel that video games are unhealthy and too big a focus for your son what is your response? Is taking this thing away, or limiting it to just a set number of hours a day a legitimate option? If you really loved something, if you really enjoyed something and doing it made you really happy, what would you feel if others began to try and limit your engagement with it? Would you trust them? Would you want to hang out with them? Or would you cling more desperately to the thing you enjoyed so? 

Relax and enjoy the games with him. Offer other things to do, but maybe really invest in the idea that he is enjoying something absolutely amazing before offering too much. We've recently had a Pee Wee Herman marathon and one of the things it got me thinking about, as he plays with giant underwear or has imaginary food breakfasts is how much more engaging and easily accessible fun is now. Simon and Linnaea don't have to work their way out of boredom into activity anywhere near as much as I can remember doing. My brother and I used to put one leg in our trousers so that it looked like it had been amputated below the knee. We used to play don't touch the floor games. I used to read for hours and hours and hours. I watched anything on television for however long my allotted time was and was quite good at watching the things that most annoyed my brother on my television nights. Even made him miss the first televised showing of Carrie which I still feel badly about. My brother even wrote a satirical piece for his high school newspaper about the week our television was in the shop with me sitting in the corner, rocking back and forth with my only few words being "The plane, the plane." 

Simon and Linnaea watch television and don't watch television, they play video games and they don't, they walk the dog with me some days and some days not, they say they want to go do things sometimes and sometimes not. Their lives are filled with choices and people who mostly don't press them to do things they don't want to. Maybe that's what will take a year. But you have to start over. If you've ever freaked out at him, about video games and how much he's playing them, you have to start all over with the first day of the year. Because as soon as you start talking about how the games are taking over his life and how you wish he'd do more things with you or how you don't understand how he doesn't want to play with other people as much as he used to, you are changing how much he believes he's going to continue to be allowed to play on the Wii. 

Breathe and really relax about the games. Really appreciate how difficult what he's doing is and how skilled he's growing at it. Finishing a level on any game can be so much focus. 

Schuyler

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polykow

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Nov 13, 2010, 7:48:00 PM11/13/10
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We love oour Wii. My 8 ear old is a big time gamer.
He actually learned to read by playing games and he is an
amazing fast
reader.
He has learned so much from playing video games it is
amazing.
For his last birthday we gave him an X-Box 360 and he is
getting a PS3 for
Christmas so he can play Little Big Plannet.
I suggest you get him some more awesome games for the Wii
for Christmas or
a portable Nintendo DSi and sit down and play with him.
You will be amazed.
Here are my favorite Wii games together with my son's
favorites:
Super Paper Mario
Mario Galaxy I and 2
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Legends of Zelda ( many)
Super Maro Bros
Super Smash Brawl
Just Dance
Wii Resort
Pikmin

I sure I am forgeting some!
Video games are chuck full of learning. Embrace it.
My son has read 5 Zelda manga style books in one day!
My son also owns plush toys related to video games that he
spends hours playing with his 4 yr old sister.
Alex Polikowsky

Robyn L. Coburn

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Nov 14, 2010, 12:42:29 AM11/14/10
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My suggestion is to get him some new games that he will enjoy or has asked
for as his Christmas gifts. A year is a long time, and not only do games
evolve, but his skills will also. I bet he needs some slightly more
advanced
games.

Here's Sandra's page about Video Games http://sandradodd.com/videogames/
Tons of reading there to reassure and excite you about video games.

My daughter went from not reading to reading aloud all kinds of complicated
words from many sources over about two years. She is now 11 and there has
never been a moment of stress or worry over her reading except when Granny
wanted to keep asking her if she was reading yet whenever she called.
Result: Jayn refuses to converse with Granny, even though she is now
reading.

Here's a piece of writing that may help with your serenity over reading.
It's an older article, but I added it to my blog today.

http://robyncoburn.blogspot.com/2010/11/when-jayn-reads-vintage-article.html Robyn L. Coburn www.robyncoburn.blogspot.com www.iggyjingles.blogspot.comwww.allthingsdoll.blogspot.com>> Hi - My son is 7 1/2 years old. He got Wii for Christmas last year.>> Since then, that is all he wants to do. He plays it all day long.>> Now that Christmas is upon us again, we are getting nervous. A fellow>> homeschooler told us it may take a year to get it out of his system.>> He is not reading, yet, so this makes me more nervous. Any insight/>> experience/suggestions?>> Thank you>> Consie>

Cons...@aol.com

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Nov 14, 2010, 11:32:16 AM11/14/10
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  Thank you so much for you indebth answers.  I really appreciate your taking the time to help me out!!

>>>>It sounds like you want to tell him no more video games. It sounds like that's what you want to justify.<<<<<
Oh, my, my!!  That could not be further from the truth.  What I want if your you all to tell me that everything is going to be OK!!! LOL  I want someone to come out and say they have a child who is now a successful <fill in blank> and that their child spent 14 hours a day watching video games for < blank.."alot of" > years.  I am a scientist, so my brain needs solid evidence, not conjectures, if you know what I mean.  I (unfortunately?) read Jane Healy's books when my son was young, and she had some pretty good scientific evidence about not having children watch tv. 
>>>> It was easy when Simon and Linnaea were younger to not see the cycle of winter versus summer activities, of any kind of cycle of activity. <<<<
There has not been any cycle at all this year.  For the past 3 years, he loved, loved, loved, loved to swim and go to our swimming hole with all the neighbor kids, and play running bases.  This year, he did not want to swim.  He did not want to go where all the friends were.  He stayed inside all summer playing Wii. 

>>>What would you do to make it all better?<<<
Good question.  I wish I had a crystal ball, to look 20-30 years into the future, and know the scientific evidence that all those tv and video game light rays did not effect the growth of my child.  :)  Since I don't have that, I need some people with adult children to let me know that their adult children are successful.  Not monetarily, but a career they like; and not being a vegetable or an alcoholic who just plays video games all day with his wife yelling at him to get a job!!!
 
I so believe in letting a child be a child.  I love how confident my child is.  How happy he is.  How carefree he is. (pardon the sentences ending in a preposition)  How his little adrenal gland is not producing cortisol from constant stress.  I think this is going to do him such a great service later in life. I just worry about a young, growing mind being effected by constant light flashes of video games.  Does Jane Healy have it right?  My son is not getting any Vit D from being outside.
 
>> If you really loved something, if you really enjoyed something and doing it made you really happy, what would you feel if others began to try and limit your engagement with it? Would you trust them? Would you want to hang out with them? Or would you cling more desperately to the thing you enjoyed so? <<<
 
This is another great point.  I love horse back riding.  When I was young, I rode all day long.  But, I still wanted to do other things. 
>>>> Because as soon as you start talking about how the games are taking over his life and how you wish he'd do more things with you or how you don't understand how he doesn't want to play with other people as much as he used to, you are changing how much he believes he's going to continue to be allowed to play on the Wii. <<<<
I don't mention my concerns to him.  Thank you for reminding me of this, too!! It is just that he is so young, and a large percentage of his life now has been in front of a tv screen, and I don't see an end soon.  I love to play with him, and the bonding we have that I know all the characters and the games.  I just don't want to do damage to his brain.  Those articles I have read don't seem to address this concern of long term, extended use. 
 
Thanks again!!!  You have been great!!
~Consie

Schuyler Waynforth

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Nov 14, 2010, 12:26:01 PM11/14/10
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The evidence on television doesn't begin or end with Jane Healy. There's a lot of stuff out there about how television isn't bad for you at all. Maybe you need to put your scientific lenses back on and really look for stuff to challenge what you read about years ago. 

You mentioned be an alcoholic as an adult, it's a weird fear, it feels pulled out of a hat of fears. But, I can send you a lovely piece of poorly cited science to make you question the hole you see your son residing in for his adult life. http://www.walrusmagazine.com/articles/2007.12-health-rat-trap/ is a review of Bruce Alexander's fantastic work on addiction. He started with rats and moved on to people looking through the literature that already existed. What he found was that you can't take a creature in a good and engaging environment and get them to choose addiction. Miserable, bored rats line right up for a bit of whatever's on tap, but happy rats with a good life and a good place to live it seem to be willing to take or leave anything other than water. 

>>>"My son is not getting any Vit D from being outside.">>>

The range of ability to synthesize vitamin D is huge in humans. Folks with whiter skin synthesize it much much better than folks with darker skin. Good ol' evolution. Does he have rickets? Does he show any signs of being vitamin D deficient? Or are you just piling fear in from any quarter that you can find it?


>>>>"Good question.  I wish I had a crystal ball, to look 20-30 years into the future, and know the scientific evidence that all those tv and video game light rays did not effect the growth of my child.  :)  Since I don't have that, I need some people with adult children to let me know that their adult children are successful.  Not monetarily, but a career they like; and not being a vegetable or an alcoholic who just plays video games all day with his wife yelling at him to get a job!!!"<<<<

I don't have a crystal ball. I can't tell you that your child will have a good adult life, I can't tell you that your child will make it to adulthood. I don't know that about my own. I don't how much longer I've got to be with them. I can tell you that right now I have a 13 year old and 10 year old who are wonderful to be around. They are happy and engaging much of the time. They are funny and interested in talking about ideas and more concrete things. I know that if they had someone yelling at them all the time they would work to be around them less. That's probably as good a response as I could possibly want. Be happy right now with him. That's all you've got. You don't have tomorrow until it's right now. And yesterday's past. If you put him in school the guarantee of success would be the same, none. I know lots of happy unschooled kids, more happy unschooled kids than happy not unschooled kids. But that still isn't a guarantee of your future. And since I haven't done any kind of data analysis on it, well, I've got nothing to show you. 


I don't mention my concerns to him.  Thank you for reminding me of this, too!! It is just that he is so young, and a large percentage of his life now has been in front of a tv screen, and I don't see an end soon.  I love to play with him, and the bonding we have that I know all the characters and the games.  I just don't want to do damage to his brain.  Those articles I have read don't seem to address this concern of long term, extended use. 


When I was in grad school a study came up demonstrating that gay men had more feminized brains than straight men. Autopsies had shown the difference. My biology professor was furious at how stupid the study was, of course they had different brains. Behaviour changes brains. Is change damage? If change is damage then you've been damaging your son's brain with every behavioural thing you've done. And he's been damaging it himself. I think there is no evidence that long term television watching or video game playing is damaging, at least no replicated study. It'll change him  It'll change his brain. Neural pathways will be different than if he were pursuing different interests. That doesn't mean better and that doesn't mean worse. 

When the heck was Jane Healy writing anyhow? There is a fantastic little note from America that Alastair Cooke sent in the 1950's or 1960's that mentions a study down at Northwestern about television watching and it showed there was no damage to attention span or school work or any factors. He was lovely in his comments, but I can't find it, maybe someone else has a link? 

Does he seem to have brain damage to you? 

Schuyler

Robyn L. Coburn

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Nov 14, 2010, 1:27:36 PM11/14/10
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====I am a scientist, so my brain needs solid evidence, not conjectures, if you know what I mean.  I (unfortunately?) read Jane Healy's books when my son was young, and she had some pretty good scientific evidence about not having children watch tv. =====
 
I have not read Jane Healy's books. But I only had to look at the front page of her website to know that her point of view is school focused and her definition of success is school based. She is a former classroom teacher, and just by the title of her latest book, she pathologises learning differences as learning problems requiring treatment. Her whole approach is most likely diametrically opposed to how unschoolers interact with their kids or view learning.
 
I have read the descriptions of some of the studies that various people and groups have undertaken about tv and children's brains, the kinds of studies that writers like Jane Healy will be using as the foundation of their theses and from which they will be drawing their conclusions. NONE of the samples (ie the kids) are ever unschooling children. ALL of the results are seen in the context of how they effect school performance and children's behavior in relation to school and school needs (eg are they willing to devote time to homework? Do they act out in class? Do they prefer video gaming to schoolwork?)
 
The studies I have read are goofy. Far from being "pretty good scientific evidence", the ways they set up the viewing in the lab situation are so far removed from how my daughter (or any real person in their own home) watches tv or uses video games that I am completely confident that the results don't apply in the slightest. Speaking scientifically, the hypotheses tend to beg the question and be theory laden, with the conclusions often demonstrating cognitive dissonance and bias.
 
Frankly there used to be the same arguments proposed about reading by the masses, listening to radio in the home and early cinema. New technology as it comes into general use often is demonized initially. Once upon a time it was feared that if people drove in fast cars (over 25 mph!), they could become impregnated with speed and it would be harmful their body and mind. 
 
Is the brain changed by video gaming? Of course! I believe the brain is changed by all experience. New connections and brain pathways. That's called "learning".
 
Are these changes harmful in the long or even short term? That is asserted but not proven - and I'm going to throw my lot in with unschoolers on the side of no - because our experience with our children form an ongoing research project that is now some twenty-five or so years old. We have a good sized sample of several thousand families all over the world. No one has come forward to describe their now adult child as illiterate (a better rate than schools), unemployable, denied college admission (sometimes conditional - corrections anyone?), or more sorry than glad that they unschooled for all or part of their childhood. My theory is that yes brains are changing and adapting to the new technologically based world in which our kids will be living, and it is good and needful.
 
Some scaremongering I read recently was about kids being cranky after playing video games for some random length of time they described as "extended" - but I can't remember how long. It is definitely true that Jayn is sometimes cranky after playing video games for several hours. However is it simple causation, or are there numerous other factors in her emotional state, like being a bit stiff from tensing her muscles without realizing it, or perhaps hungrier than she realized because she forgot to eat. Maybe it's because she always has trouble transitioning from one activity to another, especially intense ones. Maybe she's just tired. Or maybe after extended video gaming her mind wants to process and store the new information, and she has an emotional reaction that manifests in temporary crankiness while this process occurs. I hope she is not turning into a psychopath because of gaming.
 
If video games cause cranky, what causes the cranky on all those days when she didn't play video games?
 
Another big difference between our unschooling children and many schooled kids, including those experiencing video gaming, is the quality and quantity of emotional interactions with their parents and family. I'm not suggesting that schooling parents don't love their children - not at all. I'm pointing out that the parenting choices made by unschooling parents, founded on mindful parenting principles including acceptance and support, as well as the greater amount of time that unschooling parents consciously choose to spend with their kids (in the same house if not the same room), our Presence in our kids' lives, make a difference to their emotional lives and cognitive development. This is the filter through which all the tv and gaming studies must be viewed.
 
On weight issues: alas my poor near pubescent daughter is also a bit fat. Unfortunately she has a mother who was fat at the same age (in the absence of video gaming) and a grandmother who was exactly the same at the same age (who did ballet several times a week). Both Mum and I got fat again in our forties. Sorry for the genes, Jayn. But I bet dollars to donuts you will suddenly slim down like magic, just like we did once we started menstruating. Except I think you are going to be taller than either of us.
 
So my biggest suggestion is never to look at your son playing video games with the question "when will this end?" in your mind, but instead to think about "when he pauses, what cool thing can I have ready?" - some other kind of activity.
 
The difference in your thinking/attitude is visualizing an invitation to join you in a walk or gardening, rather than a requirement that he "do something active". You don't have to speak your concerns in words for them to be communicated to your son. If he senses your worry intuitively, he might instinctively hold tighter to video gaming.
 
If you are truly worried about Vitamin D, supplement it, but also remember that significant numbers of homo sapiens live in parts of the world where there are very long winter nights, and they survive to reproduce and thrive.

Cons...@aol.com

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Nov 14, 2010, 11:57:59 AM11/14/10
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>>When I look at our life now, Jayn’s pre-literate life and activities, I can see that there are things that are likely to be lost once she can read for herself.
When, in due course, Jayn can read for herself, she will enter a world where she too will have a level of skillful self-reliance that will remove some of her need of me, remove me from her service.
 
Perhaps we all share similar pangs and shed gentle hidden tears as we realize that once again our babies have moved on in the process of releasing us from the center of their innocent world. <<
 
I really needed this reminder!  When I was pregnant, a friend of mine told me a story about her looking in the rear view mirror, at the car behind her.  Her youngest child was driving the car behind her, with her 2 older children in that car.  She remembers when she would look in the rear view mirror, and all 3 kids were in the back seat, strapped in their child seats.  When my son was young, I would play "flash forward" based on her story.  If he was an infant, crying from GERD for hours, I would put on music and dance with him held close to me.  I would flash forward to when he would be an adult and we are dancing at his wedding, and I would be yearning for that little baby to hold in my arms. Oh, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. 
 
So, I want to enjoy this time with him now.  Enjoying his "pre-reading" days, where he is my little buddy all day long, depending on me to navigate him through games, etc.  If I could just relax in knowing that I am not doing any damage to his growing brain, I would enjoy it even more. 
 
I guess my fears are two-fold.  You shed light onto this.  I am a concerned about the length of time each day, and for almost a year, that he has been playing video games. It is like Vitamins or antibiotics:  some is good, more is not better.  Video games may help people with Parkinsons, but can it hurt them/others with prolonged use. Secondly, I am concerned that he is not reading yet.  They are intertwined concerns, but they are also two separate concerns.  If we did not have such a strict reporting system in our state, I would not be so "aware" of what schooled children are doing.
 
Thanks again for reminding me to live in this moment.  When I forget that, I will "flash forward" to when he is driving a real car, and not a Wii car; and he does not have the time to be my 24/7 buddy.
Consie

lylaw

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Nov 14, 2010, 3:08:45 PM11/14/10
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isn’t he only 7 years old?  this is quite young for many kids to be reading.  I’d really encourage you to read up on that – pun intended.  some kids read at 4 and others at 12 or later, and by 15, you can’t tell the difference between the earlier readers and the later readers by looking at reading fluency or retention, etc. 
 
in fact, pam sorooshian shared some *benefits* to later reading at a recent conference panel, including much better auditory memory as adults. 
 
7 is a baby still, in so many ways.  many unschoolers I know have learned to read quickly and suddenly, and all on their own, at around 8 or 9, without their parents even knowing they had done so!    I myself read at 4, without ever being taught, and a dear friend’s  son didn’t really start reading til 13 or 14.    a different friend’s youngest didn’t start reading til 10, and at 11 is still an emergent reader, and yet her daughter started reading at 6.  they had no video games in their house -  I fail to see what it has to do with video games. 
 
lyla

Robyn L. Coburn

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Nov 14, 2010, 5:10:54 PM11/14/10
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Except it is not like vitamins or antibiotics.
 
Adults suffering from specific illnesses of the brain are not like normal children either.
 
He is very young to be reading. Only some 7 year olds in school are actually reading, what in the real world is reading. What most 7 year olds (which is only either 1st or 2nd Grade) are doing in school are pre-reading exercises - being able to recognize from repeated drilling certain specific and simple words in the context of simple, often rhyming sentences. Real reading is being able to decode and understand new written material in real life contexts - including all kinds of different fonts.
 
Early readers exist. Schools love them because they get to take credit for it, instead of admitting that it is nature and luck.
 
Consie, your local unschooling group or list will be able to help you with strategies to do your reporting more painlessly. My only suggestion is to make sure that you are not doing more than the law specifies. Don't get your legal info from the local school district. Get it from other unschoolers.
 
In unschooling everything is intertwined, all knowledge is connected, and everything counts.
 If I could just relax in knowing that I am not doing any damage to his growing brain, I would enjoy it even more. 

Cons...@aol.com

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Nov 14, 2010, 4:35:12 PM11/14/10
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He is almost 8.  In our state we have to do standardized test that have to be given by the teacher.  If he can not read, he can not take a test. 

Cons...@aol.com

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Nov 14, 2010, 6:47:51 PM11/14/10
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>>>Except it is not like vitamins or antibiotics<<
The analogy that I was making was that I am concerned "some are good, more is not better".  So, my concern should not be minimized by saying that my concern does not exist.   Some may be good and mor may not be better, may be true about video games.  The jury is still out!   I think everyone believes that it changes the brain.  But, is that for the good or for the worse when it is to the extreme? 
 
For my unschooled child, I have learned to validate his feelings without promoting his fears.  This is what I was hoping to find here. 
.>>your local unschooling group or list will be able to help you with strategies to do your reporting more painlessly. <<<
I am not having a problem with reporting.  We live in a very strict district, and I just play their game, and know in the end my child wins by being home and unschooled.  I am not going to try to change the world (ie. un-accepting school officials), except for one child at a time...my child.  I know the game.  I played it in school for 20 years.  Reporting is just more of the same.  Busy work.  My concern, as I stated, was the testing.  If he can not read, he can not take a standardized test, that must be given by a certified teacher. 
 
I really want some success stories. I don't want to be told that I am just overly fearful. ie."alcoholic.. it's a weird fear, it feels pulled out of a hat of fears" I was, by the way, just making another analogy of a different type of addition.   I don't want to be told that my fears are weird.  Again, as unschoolers, I don't think we would say that to our children.  Why would we say that to an adult?  That feels like invalidation.   Let me clarify.  I was hook-line-and-sinker unschooler since my son was born, once I read my first John Holt Book.  I could not stop reading for 2 years.  I found it fascinating, and it totally resonated with my beliefs.   I am the go-to girl for unschooling advice in our community.  When my son taught himself how to swim all by himself, just like JH said he would, I was on top of the world with "proof".  He is a really good swimmer.   So, I am not a newbie unschooler.  I am an unschooler who is now just a little scared.  Looking to others for support and insight and stories of their children.  My concern is that my son has done video games for all of his waking hours for a year!  So, my faith is being tested.  I just want a little support to restore that faith. SD stated in one of her articles "If you don't let them play as much as they want, it's all they'll ever want to do"  This is what I hung my hat on last year when 2 months went by, then three, then six, then nine.  Now it is 11 months, and what I am saying is that this IS all he wants to do; and I just want to be a good mom and do everything to make sure that his brain is not harmed.  Isn't that the one of the foundations of why we unschool?  Don't we all questions ourselves at some time?  I know we do, and I don't want feel foolish or ashamed that I am questioning my faith in unschooling.  Does anyone have a son that spent all of his waking hours as a 7-8 year old or so playing videos, and now that child is an adult?  I want some assurance (without judgement) that he will likely turn out OK, since others have seen it be OK.   I hope that clarifies where I am coming from.  It is like someone's faith in God being shaken.  I want the faith restored.  I do it for people all the time, but this time I need the help.  Please!
 
In unschooling everything is intertwined, all knowledge is connected, and everything counts.
Well-stated!!!
Consie

Jacquie Krauskopf

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Nov 14, 2010, 7:20:04 PM11/14/10
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My son was encouraged to read by playing video games so he could read what the game had to say!
 
Jacquie

Jacquie Krauskopf

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Nov 14, 2010, 7:22:38 PM11/14/10
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What about when you discover your 10 year old playing a favorite game and crying because he has played so many games and not won a single one that session?

 

Jacquie


Jacquie Krauskopf

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Nov 14, 2010, 7:31:45 PM11/14/10
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This a problem for most people today- kids and adults. Look back at a hundred years ago and they did so much more and ate so much less. Now today we have made so many machines to do so much of our work for us that a lot of people have to go to the Y or a gym to workout on even more machines! I find myself pulling hens teeth to get my 10 year old son to go outside and PLAY on even the nicest day- (too hot, too cold ect.) A few weeks ago we had called up another homeschooling family and had the kids over to play kickball. The kids came and played for maybe 10 minutes before they wanted to come inside to play in my sons room. SIGH.
    How do we encourage our kids to be physical? Last week i took him the park and we walked a trail in the woods where he had a blast trying to climb up hills and explore but i can't do that every day.
   So what do you all do to get your child(ren) to be physical when they are not?
 
Jacquie


From: "Cons...@aol.com" <Cons...@aol.com>
To: unschoolin...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Sat, November 13, 2010 2:47:36 PM

Subject: Re: [UnschoolingDiscussion] Video Games
--

Cons...@aol.com

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Nov 14, 2010, 7:42:27 PM11/14/10
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Awesome!!  Thank you!!!
 
In a message dated 11/14/2010 7:37:31 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, home_m...@yahoo.com writes:
My son was encouraged to read by playing video games so he could read what the game had to say!
 
Jacquie

Cons...@aol.com

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Nov 14, 2010, 7:52:07 PM11/14/10
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That is such a good point. 
 
I thought that if my son was home, he would not get fat, like the schooled kids; because he would not be sitting around in a desk all day.  I guess I thought wrong.  :)  LOL   I guess this is part of the challenge.  Thinking that things were going to be a certain way:  doing little art projects, cooking together, etc.  And, now, reality is different.  Learning to go with the flow, and enjoying what is. 
 
Consie

Rina Groeneveld

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Nov 14, 2010, 8:02:33 PM11/14/10
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Hi Consie,

I know that there are a whole lot of replies about this one that have probably dealt with this issue, but I just wanted to add my two cents about your concern that your son isn't reading yet. All three of my younger unschooled children only started being able to read after the age of 8. My daughter, who wasn't able to read till she was nearly 9, is now, at 13, reading about 5 books in the space of 3 days - we do a lot of trips to the library and it's dangerous to go into a bookstore with her ;-) . So the fact that your son isn't reading yet is Nothing To Worry About. It seems that it's actually unusual for children who don't have reading drilled into them to be doing it at such a young age.

Rina


From: Cons...@aol.com
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 11:57:59 -0500

Subject: Re: [UnschoolingDiscussion] Video Games

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 14, 2010, 8:12:45 PM11/14/10
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It's better to start a new subject/topic if you change the subject.


-=-He is almost 8. In our state we have to do standardized test that

have to be given by the teacher. If he can not read, he can not take

a test. -=-

It's vital for you to connect with other unschoolers in your state--
not through this international discussion list, but directly, within
your state.

Be careful of any thought or use of "we have to".
http://sandradodd.com/haveto (" In our state we have to do
standardized test")

This list is to help people discuss and understand unschooling, it's
not for test preparation.
If your priority isn't unschooling that's fine too, but the legalities
and technicalities of regions or nations aren't the subject or purpose
of this list. There are others unschooling in your area, I'm sure,
and if you're not in contact with them, please establish that as soon
as you can.

http://sandradodd.com/world might have a link if you don't already
have one.

Sandra


Sandra Dodd

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Nov 14, 2010, 8:13:54 PM11/14/10
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-=- It seems that it's actually unusual for children who don't have reading drilled into them to be doing it at such a young age.-=-

Children cannot have reading drilled into them, but many (because of the attempt) do have reading drilled out of them.

Sandra

lylaw

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Nov 14, 2010, 8:11:03 PM11/14/10
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How do we encourage our kids to be physical? Last week i took him the park and we walked a trail in the woods where he had a blast trying to climb up hills and explore but i can't do that every day. >>>>
 
are you physical every day?  why can’t you go in the woods every day if he had a blast doing that?  sending the kids “out to play” is not at all connecting or relationship building.  are you going out with them?  initiating games or playful projects?  
 
lyla

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 14, 2010, 8:26:34 PM11/14/10
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-=- >>>Except it is not like vitamins or antibiotics<<

-=-The analogy that I was making was that I am concerned "some are

good, more is not better". So, my concern should not be minimized by
saying that my concern does not exist. Some may be good and mor may
not be better, may be true about video games. The jury is still
out! I think everyone believes that it changes the brain. But, is
that for the good or for the worse when it is to the extreme?

-=-For my unschooled child, I have learned to validate his feelings
without promoting his fears. This is what I was hoping to find here. -
=-

Except it's not like vitamins or antibiotics. Your analogy did not
work.
Your "concern" and claim of being scientific and your insistence that
you are NOT wanting to limit your son (quote below) show confusion on
your part, which is fine. Insisting that we're wrong and you're
calmly examining an idea, though, shows even more confusion.
Confusion is fine, but it's good to realize you're confused and admit
it rather than thrash around at the people who are trying to point it
out.

---------------------------------------------


>>>>It sounds like you want to tell him no more video games. It
sounds like that's what you want to justify.<<<<<
Oh, my, my!! That could not be further from the truth. What I want
if your you all to tell me that everything is going to be OK!!! LOL

---------------------------------------------

When experienced unschoolers with older children are freelly
volunteering to read your questions and concerns and respond at length
with ideas they know could help you, if you would thoughtfully
consider them, "LOL" is not any part of a thoughtful or courteous
response.

-=-What I want ...-=-
-=- This is what I was hoping to find here. -=-

If you know what you want and what you're hoping to find, why do you
need this list at all?
You pictured the way you wanted the list to be, and you're arguing to
try to make us into your vision.
You pictured the way you wanted unschooling to be, and the way you
wanted your son to be, and you're trying to get us to agree that
unschooling, video gaming and your son should change.

We're trying to say that unschooling, video gaming and your son are
fine; YOU need to see the world (and unschooling, natural learning,
choices, enjoyment, time, energy, health, video games, your son and
this list) in a different way.

http://sandradodd.com/deschooling

Until a mom changes, she can't begin to see unschooling clearly at all.
Until the parent changes, unschooling can't begin to work.

http://sandradodd.com/seeingit

Had you read through the video game link that several people sent you
("through" meaning following the links and reading all those pages),
you would have felt better sooner. The questions you have are
discussed a couple of times a year (at least) and the best of many
years' worth of answers (since before your son was born) are collected
there.

The scientific thing to do would be to observe and test, not to trust
or have faith in any book or idea or philosophy, but to look
thoughtfully with all that you know from direct knowledge.

"Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch."

Sandra

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 14, 2010, 8:31:31 PM11/14/10
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-=-Last week i took him the park and we walked a trail in the woods
where he had a blast trying to climb up hills and explore but i can't
do that every day. -=-

If that were your priority, you probably COULD do that every day,
couldn't you?

"Can't" might mean something particular that you didn't clarify.

But if you did it every day, it wouldn't continue to be "a blast"
forever.
http://www.sandradodd.com/t/economics
http://sandradodd.com/choices

You chose to take him to a park one day.
Other days, you haven't chosen to do that.

If you see the choices you make, you'll see more clearly than if you
say "can't do."

Sandra

polykow

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Nov 14, 2010, 9:17:28 PM11/14/10
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"Now it is 11 months, and what I am saying is that this IS
all he wants to do; and I just want to be a good mom and do
everything to make sure that his brain is not harmed. "

Would you feel afraid if all he wanted to do was read books?
Or play basketball?

Alex Polikowsky

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 14, 2010, 9:52:39 PM11/14/10
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This came privately from Consie99, but I think that was a mistake and was intended for the list as a whole.

====================================================
Except it's not like vitamins or antibiotics
 
Can you explain your reasoning further?  I am confused by what you are saying.  Some vitamins are good, more are not better.  I am a doctor.  Some antibiotics are good, more is not better.  What am I missing here that you are trying to get across?
 
Thanks
=========================================================================
 
Writing on a list isn't an invitation for private correspondence, but I think that was an error of response choices.
I don't have time for or interest in corresponding privately with every unschooler.  The quality of discussions in groups is generally better than one-on-one, too, and that's the way I choose to spend my volunteer time and effort (that and the website and the blogs).

It's very important that each person wanting to learn about unschooling read AND wait and watch and think about it and read some more, and wait and watch and think about it.  Writing doesn't create understanding.  Reading doesn't prove that unschooling works.  Only seeing your child learning will help you see how learning looks in and with your child. 

-=-Except it's not like vitamins or antibiotics
 
-=-Can you explain your reasoning further?  I am confused by what you are saying.-=-

Playing video games is not like taking vitamins.
Reading books is not like taking antibiotics.
The analogy of more not being better, as if those things were vitamins or antibiotics, does not follow logically.
I'm not the only one who had explained it.

-=-Some vitamins are good, more are not better.  I am a doctor. -=-

What kind of doctor?  
Unschooling isn't like medicine, either.
The kind of learning kids do in their own interests isn't like the kind of crammed memorization of the names of nerves and muscles and bones and diseases that medical students do, either.

-=-Some antibiotics are good, more is not better.  What am I missing here that you are trying to get across?-=-

Some thought is good.  More IS better.
Some observation is good.  More is better.
Some waiting is good.  When it comes to writing too much about unschooling and not doing enough trying, waiting and watching, more waiting is better.

Until a person stops doing the things that keep unschooling from working, unschooling cannot begin to work. It seems simple to me. If you're trying to listen for a sound, you have to stop talking and be still.  http://sandradodd.com/gettingit

Sandra

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 14, 2010, 9:53:48 PM11/14/10
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Alex asked a good question:

-=-Would you feel afraid if all he wanted to do was read books?
Or play basketball?-=-

http://sandradodd.com/intelligences

How do you "get your child" to be more musical or more active or more
cerebral or to be a better dancer?
Perhaps you don't try to do that at all.

Sandra

Cons...@aol.com

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Nov 14, 2010, 8:38:47 PM11/14/10
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I thought I read that entire link on video games.  I did not see anywhere that a child was playing games all day every day for this length of time.  If I missed a link, please let me know.  It did not make me feel better.  It made me more scared, that there is scientific evidence that it will change a brain; but no evidence as to if this is good or bad.  It did not make me feel any better.

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 14, 2010, 10:07:41 PM11/14/10
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-=-I thought I read that entire link on video games. I did not see
anywhere that a child was playing games all day every day for this
length of time. If I missed a link, please let me know. It did not
make me feel better. It made me more scared, that there is scientific
evidence that it will change a brain; but no evidence as to if this is
good or bad. It did not make me feel any better.-=-

I'm sure you didn't read it all, because it seems you've been writing
and posting since you first asked, and the quality and direction of
your questions shows no indication that you read anything there, which
is why I wrote "Had you read through the video game link that several

people sent you ("through" meaning following the links and reading all
those pages), you would have felt better sooner. The questions you
have are discussed a couple of times a year (at least) and the best of
many years' worth of answers (since before your son was born) are
collected there."

-=-I thought I read that entire link on video games. I did not see

anywhere that a child was playing games all day every day for this
length of time. If I missed a link, please let me know. It did not

make me feel better. -=-

"That entire link" was a page with links to several articles and to
tons of stories by unschoolers and gamers themselves. If you scanned
it for a story of a child playing games all day every day, perhaps you
should have read what people suggested you read instead of attempting
to use it to prove you were right and we were wrong.

If you want to limit your child's video games, do it.
If you want to have the same good results unschoolers write about
every day, freely, generously and honestly, then you will need to stop
wanting to limit.

If you don't want to stop limiting, then don't.
If you don't want to stop limiting, you will not have the same good
results other families have had.

If you want people to re-write everything they know from scratch,
that's not a good use of their time or yours, as so much is linked
from this page. Do not "read the link." Follow all of the links on
that page, and read thoughtfully and openly. Then try some of those
ideas, wait a while, watch what happens. The read some more, try a
little more, and wait a while, and watch.

What you're missing is having the desire to learn.
Unschooling doesn't work without the desire to learn.

http://sandradodd.com/videogames
If you want to skip all the outside articles, that's fine. Here's
what's by unschoolers:
http://sandradodd.com/game/tales
http://sandradodd.com/game/gamecube
http://zajosa.blogspot.com/2008/04/problem-when-parents-think-childs.html
http://sandradodd.com/game/reading
http://sandradodd.com/game/cheats
http://sandradodd.com/game/nintendogold
http://www.lessontutor.com/kd3.html

Kathy Ward's dyslexia link isn't working; I'm waiting for her to send
me that article, and it will be up again someday. Her old site host
folded.

http://sandradodd.com/videogames

Sandra

Cons...@aol.com

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Nov 14, 2010, 10:21:27 PM11/14/10
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sending it privately was to prevent further public humiliation.  wow.  I would think the kind thing would have simply been to ask me if you wanted this posted publicly, and tell me personally that you did not want to answer offline. 
 
thanks to all of the members who posted to me offline, and gave me wonderful advice to chew on. 
 
I am leaving this list, as so many have advise me that members are chew up and spit out as a routine, if they don't understand things right off the bat

lylaw

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Nov 14, 2010, 10:20:35 PM11/14/10
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=====
What kind of doctor? 
Unschooling isn't like medicine, either.
The kind of learning kids do in their own interests isn't like the kind of crammed memorization of the names of nerves and muscles and bones and diseases that medical students do, either
====
 
nor does being a doctor make one  a scientist.  memorizing muscles and bones does not make one capable of analyzing studies or using critical thinking skills to differentiate between good science and bad science.  fear has no role in science, nor does believing everything you read, or even most of it.  this article is really pretty great about the faulty nature of *most* scientific studies. 
 
 
I’d really recommend the original poster extract and examine each fear, question, observation, etc. regarding video games, individually, rather than lumping them all together in a chaotic ball of fear combined with observation, combined with self-image, combined with questions that contradict each other.
 
if you are worried about brain damage, look into that, with scientific rigor, where possible. if you are worried about addiction, look into that.  if you are worried about obesity, find out more about that.  if you are worried about something else, figure that out, and the look into that.  at the moment all the posts have everything jumbled up together, but you keep saying it’s just about impact on the brain.
 
in addition, anything anyone could tell you, anecdotally, about their kids, would not be scientific.  it would be anecdotal.  so you might need to decide if what you are looking for really is scientific, or if it’s reassuring stories, and not confuse the two...
 
lyla

lylaw

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Nov 14, 2010, 10:22:59 PM11/14/10
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oh I meant to say “if you are worried about reading, look into that”
 
++++++++++++++++

polykow

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Nov 14, 2010, 11:16:12 PM11/14/10
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"sending it privately was to prevent further public
humiliation. wow. I would think the kind thing would have
simply been to ask me if you wanted this posted publicly,
and tell me personally that you did not want to answer
offline.

thanks to all of the members who posted to me offline, and
gave me wonderful advice to chew on.

I am leaving this list, as so many have advise me that
members are chew up and spit out as a routine, if they don't
understand things right off the bat"

So all the time people took off to answer and giv you links
and try to help you see it diferently equals public
humiliation???
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I don't understand why people that think this list is about
chewing up others would stay just to point out to other
posters that this is a bad place.
If you don't like it then leave. Why are they still here?
I have been on a list where some were proud to invited
people to leave Sandra's list and happy to spout how
horrible she is together with other posters that post in her
list.
I have learned so much from the discussions in Sandra's list
and this list.
I remember writing here years ago ( but not long ago) and
having it challenged.
I learned so much from it. Yes it was unconfortable for a
second or until I thought about what I wrote and what they
your pointing out to me.
It has made me a better mother, unschooler , spouse and
writer.

People here are trying to help you see different and they
know it is hard sometimes. They are takingtme out of their
families and life ( Sandra is traveling in India) to try to
help you see how unschooling and video games work.

Alex Polikowsky

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 14, 2010, 11:17:52 PM11/14/10
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-=-sending it privately was to prevent further public humiliation.  wow.  I would think the kind thing would have simply been to ask me if you wanted this posted publicly, and tell me personally that you did not want to answer offline. -=-

No. Sending it privately was a mistake.
Something that came from and involved a public discussion should stay in that forum unless one is invited to discuss it privately, and accepts that invitation.

Sending it privately was intended to claim to be a doctor, and to attempt to get me to explain one-on-one something that was better discussed in public.

I know there are people who write privately and invite people to other lists.  That's fine.  I think everyone should be on more than one unschooling list, and read more than one book and have more than one friend.  Find LOTS of resources, lots of people, lots of evidence.

Some people prefer to posture and to claim to be more scientific and to imply that they care more about their children than we must, and to reject lots of resources, people and evidence.

Sandra

Robyn L. Coburn

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Nov 15, 2010, 12:47:29 AM11/15/10
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====my concern should not be minimized by saying that my concern does not exist.  ====
 
Consie, I'm not trying to minimize your concern, and I'm sorry to cause you to feel badly.
 
What I was trying to suggest was that the reasons for your concerns might be bogus (in the context of unschooling) because they include some writings by someone who is not an unschooler, and research studies that are not about unschoolers, with practices and agendas that have nothing in common with unschooling. Plus by your own report your concerns are to some degree being spurred by interaction with school officialdom, rather than unschooling principles or the experiences of unschoolers.
 
Video games and unschooling are not like either vitamins or antibiotics. Unschooling is not like prescribing something to treat a specific problem with the desired outcome being a return to normalcy. I just don't think attachment to this analogy is helping your serenity.
 
People have made other, better analogies about unschooling that have to do with behavior and processes. One awesome analogy was created years ago by Kelly Lovejoy - that unschooling is like being in a swimming pool. People who are afraid cling to the sides and can't see how you can let go and not drown. Unschoolers try to invite them to let go and see that they will be safe, but the cling ons see their outstretched hands not as invitations but as the frantic waving of the drowning. They refuse to hear the reassurances. Sometimes they even perceive the beckoning hands as calls for help and try to pull the swimmers back to the side. Then they get angry when their rescue attempts are rejected, refusing to believe no rescue is needed.
 
===I am not having a problem with reporting.===
 
You were the one who wrote this:
=== They are intertwined concerns, but they are also two separate concerns.  If we did not have such a strict reporting system in our state, I would not be so "aware" of what schooled children are doing.====
 
I thought that sounded generally like a problem with reporting. It sounded like you were worried about reporting that he spends so much time playing video games. It sounded like you were worried because you see that your son is not keeping up with "schooled children". I and several others have tried to reassure you about the timetables of reading from our collective experiences.
 
In your place I believe I would be looking more at what other home schooled children and unschooled children are doing than schooled ones.  Are you looking at the ideal as represented by state standards and curricula or are you looking at what some particular real school kids of your acquaintance are doing? I wonder if you are comparing your son to the very top of the class, rather than looking at the middling average. I suppose none of us want to think of our kids as academically average, but it might be more reassuring about test scores to look at average, the C students from an academic point of view, rather than the A's and A+'s.
 
What happens if your son doesn't ace his test, has a middling result, or even fails it? Does the law say he has to immediately go to school, or is there that common clause about "showing progress"? You don't have to answer here, but do think for a moment about the worst case scenario. If all that happens is "do better next year", is that really something to fret over today?
 
==== I really want some success stories. I don't want to be told that I am just overly fearful. ie."alcoholic.. it's a weird fear, it feels pulled out of a hat of fears" I was, by the way, just making another analogy of a different type of addition.   I don't want to be told that my fears are weird.  Again, as unschoolers, I don't think we would say that to our children.  Why would we say that to an adult?  That feels like invalidation. ===
 
You may not be new to unschooling, but it seems like you may be new to this list. This is a discussion list, not a support list. You are not our child. You are an adult in a rigorous discussion forum. Our purpose is not to validate your feelings. Our purpose is to discuss unschooling ideas to help each other and ourselves unschool. 
 
This "video gaming = addiction" conversation has been canvassed over and over again here and on Always Learning. If that is the analogy you are holding, then you are choosing a paradigm that will keep you living in fear.
 
Several of us have shared success stories. You seem to want to argue with them or invalidate the success stories. It seems like you want to get some kind of agreement that your son's gaming is probably a big, bad problem. We collectively appear to have a bunch of different experiences with heavy gaming kids. Stop looking at other people including us, and return your focus to your son. Is he happy? That is the foundation of your faith in unschooling.
 
Try this - ask him how his game is going and then listen to his joy. Bring him food at regular intervals. Hang out nearby. That is what I do with my heavy gaming 11 year old. Plus I offer her other choices, in case she wants to take a break at any time, but really all she wants is Sims 2. And I really try not to take it personally when she is frustrated, tired and grumpy after a mentally challenging day. All she needs is some food and rest and cuddles and simple physical games like tickle fests, and her equilibrium returns.
 
You may not want to be told that you are just overly fearful, but we are seeing you as overly fearful. Your words and stories are the ones giving the impression of fearfulness.
 
You are the one insisting on clinging to your fears despite our numerous and repeated ideas (including the pages on Sandra's site) about why your fears are probably, if not groundless, then at least needlessly exaggerated.
 
=== I could not stop reading for 2 years.  ====
 
You have a whole year on him. And yet you turned out alright. And apparently stopped. Maybe his passion is bigger than one year, just as yours is for unschooling. You said "all he wants is Wii". So give him Wii.
 
If you want some more reading, here's a parable I wrote a while back: http://www.sandradodd.com/park
 
Your son is almost 8. That means that actually you have been officially unschooling for about 2 years, maybe 3 in some places. I'm glad you love it.
 
I've been official for 6 (counting the kindergarten year), with about 2 1/2 years before that identifying as an unschooler to avoid dreary discussions of early academics programs so popular with many of my local home schooling community members.
 
Some of the people posting have successfully unschooled healthy, happy kids who are in their mid twenties. Years and years of letting go of fear.
 
And just to be absolutely clear - my 11 yo daughter plays Sims 2 games and You Tube videos for most of her waking hours every day. She falls asleep with her laptop in front of her. She downloads custom content for Sims. She comments on the characters and videos created by other Sims 2 aficionados. She spent pretty much all her birthday gift money on expansion packs. Every now and then, for a break she plays Free Realms, Nancy Drew or Sims Castaway (on Wii), and checks her Facebook.
 
Our ONLY worry in all of this is that her laptop isn't good enough for her needs. She needs a faster, newer computer with more memory to enable her game play to be faster and better with fewer frustrating crashes, but presently we don't have the bread for it.
 
I have absolutely no fear that anything that inspires this much passion, this much creativity and makes her laugh this much can be in any way harmful.

Robyn L. Coburn

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Nov 15, 2010, 12:51:43 AM11/15/10
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But why send it to Sandra, the moderator, when I was the one who posted that sentence about vitamins and antibiotics not being the same?
 
It's just my parable again. www.sandradodd.com/park
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 8:17 PM
Subject: Re: [UnschoolingDiscussion] Video Games

Pam Sorooshian

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Nov 15, 2010, 2:18:31 AM11/15/10
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On 11/14/2010 9:47 PM, Robyn L. Coburn wrote:
I have absolutely no fear that anything that inspires this much passion, this much creativity and makes her laugh this much can be in any way harmful.
 

I am one of those with kids in their mid-20's (26 in a couple of weeks, 23, and 19).  Lots of video game playing and television watching here - for many years. Now they're all in college or grad school - but they still play a lot in between studying, etc.

I think a parent needs to look at their child beyond "He's playing video games all the time." What I mean is, is he playing happily? Is he challenging himself? What IS he enjoying about it? Is he eagerly getting started or does he seem to drift to it out of boredom? Is he interested in learning more about the games? Does he play creatively? Does he tell you about his successes? Does he like you to play with him? Does he like Nintendo Wii magazine? Online game reviews, hints, cheats? Youtube videos of people playing? Youtube reviews of games? Saving money to buy new games? Maybe he'd like to record himself playing and put one of his best games up on youtube.

If my child was playing video games from waking to sleeping with truly nothing else at all going on - and was unwilling to go out and do really fun things, I might worry, too. My worry would be that there are all kinds of other wonderful things to do in the world and I would want my kid to have more variety of experience. BUT, I wouldn't try to lure them away from it - I would support support support it. One thing will, eventually, lead to another.  I'd get him online playing with other people, for example. I'd get Skype so he can talk with other people. I'd subscribe to video game magazines. We'd buy and sell video games. I'd get him new games - sometimes similar ones and sometimes really new and different ones.  With the wii, I would for sure have gotten the balance board and the family would play together. We'd get Rock Band and play that together.

I'd also make sure we had the best system we could afford, and get other systems if possible.

Support support support.

I'd bring food and drink to him.  I'd ask him how it was going? Get familiar with the games so you can converse intelligently about them.

Kids are super intensely sensitive to parental approval and disapproval. He may feel somewhat desperate to play as much as possible, sensing your lack of enthusiasm and assuming that means he may be forced to stop at some point.

Counter that by being the opposite - super supportive and interested and helpful and involved.

Eventually he will want to experience some of the rest of the world. Really.

The health hazards of video games are, imo, wildly exaggerated and irresponsibly repeated by professionals (like doctors) who should know better, but who don't check the studies and think for themselves, but just parrot the paranoia of others.

Yes - brains are changed by --- LEARNING. Video games change brains because EVERYTHING anybody does changes their brain.  Scientific studies on the effects of video games on children really do not provide good evidence of anything.  Seriously - go look. Find the study you think is actually well designed and offers real evidence. Find the real study - not someone else's report of it. They are simply not well done. The researchers are so extremely biased that they don't even bother to hide it - they all but say, "We're setting out to prove how bad video games are for children."

Changing brains to be able to function well in an information-rich environment is a GOOD thing. The kids who learn that could be more successful in their lives because of it.

 You know that the best way to pick a surgeon is to ask them how many hours a week they spend playing video games? The more the better surgeon they're likely to be.

Finally - please go read articles by Paul Gee - he is brilliant in discussing the benefits of video games. I've observed, in unschooled kids, a lot of the learning he talks about in his articles. Here is one:
<http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.05/view.html>

-pam



-pam



Schuyler Waynforth

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Nov 15, 2010, 4:50:02 AM11/15/10
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I really want some success stories. I don't want to be told that I am just overly fearful. ie."alcoholic.. it's a weird fear, it feels pulled out of a hat of fears" I was, by the way, just making another analogy of a different type of addition.   

My statement was really that you are ramping up your fears. Alcoholism isn't linked to television watching or video game playing. You hadn't yet called his video game playing an addiction. You hadn't yet bridged those two things to this list. If you'd gone to the link I'd put out for you, the link to Rat Park by Bruce Alexander which talks about addiction from a scientific understanding and not a fearful one, and honest examination of predictors of addiction, you'd have seen how I wasn't treating your fear lightly. 

Do you think your son is spiralling down into addiction? If you do looking at him playing on the Wii with the eyes of someone watching an addict get their fix it will be very hard for you to reach out and enjoy what he's doing. You will feel like you are enabling him in this horrible relationship. It would really be in your interest not just to look for success stories but to also address your fears. 

Success, I have two children who can read at 13 and 10 and who've played hours of video games at a go. Linnaea spent 3 days on Fable 3 almost straight when it came out. She's 10. She's been reading since she was 6. Simon's been reading since he was 12 and he's spent a lot of time playing video games. His aptitude to video games is phenomenal in this mother's eyes. He can pick up a control and run with a game he's never played before with such amazing ease. He's also very supportive of other players. He's exceptionally kind and patient with me and his dad and mostly with his sister, although they can have minor tussles over who gets to be the safe point in Halo.

Go back and recheck the links that have been sent to you. Go look through all the accumulated qualitative data points on unschoolers who enjoy video games. Go immerse yourself in the stories that people have taken the time to link, that Sandra has taken the time to collect, and see if those things answer your fears, your need for a held hand, your need for evidence that your child will grow up straight and tall if you nurture his interests. Read Dan Vilter's essay on a life with television: http://homeschooling.vilter.us/richer_life.html

Schuyler

Schuyler Waynforth

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Nov 15, 2010, 5:03:00 AM11/15/10
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I love that Simon and Linnaea like being at home. I love that I've made their home a rich and good place to be. Their friends like to come over and hang out and eat food that's fixed with love and care and grab a soda from the fridge. They also like going out to new things and are willing to go most places if they think there is something engaging in it for them. Things like the grocery store, less so. 

100 years ago people were moving into bone-aching poverty. 100 years ago child mortality levels were so much higher. 100 years ago World War I (or the Great War, the War to end all Wars) was over and nobody knew that there would be another one coming in a few years. If you think life was good 100 years ago, read Old Jules or read Wisconsin Death Trip. Actually Wisconsin Death Trip was made into a movie which I think has a lot of it on Youtube. 

Rather than pull hens teeth, go play with him. Be out there first with exciting things to do. Don't send him off in the hopes that he and other children will form their own creche/gang. And, as other's have asked, why can't you go every day, or every other day, or every third day? If it's important to you and him, why not explore lots and lots of parks?

Schuyler

Joyce Fetteroll

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Nov 15, 2010, 6:51:24 AM11/15/10
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On Nov 15, 2010, at 4:50 AM, Schuyler Waynforth wrote:

> If you do looking at him playing on the Wii with the eyes of someone
> watching an addict get their fix it will be very hard for you to
> reach out and enjoy what he's doing.

And no one here can prove without a doubt that video games aren't
addictive to some people.

What people here can do is report from their own personal experience
that they haven't seen any long term effects that resemble addiction.
They can describe how their kids have immersed themselves in games and
discuss the factors that are different from addiction and why. They
can tell stories of when and how their kids learned to read and what
effect that's had on their lives. They can tell stories of how their
kids preferred staying home and how they supported that while making
their kids lives rich and helped them when there were times trips out
were necessary.

People here can reassure other parents, based on experience and
similar stories, that they believe a poster's kids will be fine too.
But we can't know.

Yes, that's scary. This isn't school where there's one right way
leading to one right answer. It's real life where uncertainty is part
of every problem.

But, schools and conventional parenting can't offer guarantees either
-- though they make it sound like they do! No one can say anyone's
kids will be fine too. They can point at the successes. They can blame
the failures on other factors (eg, the kids or the parents are bad).
But not even conventional parents can guarantee that another's kids
will be fine.

What I can say is that I have yet to see someone who understands
unschooling (as it's discussed here) say that unschooling failed their
kids. Maybe they're afraid to speak up. How many people are willing to
have past failures they can't fix analyzed in public? Maybe they've
left to find something that will work for them and have no interest in
coming back to say why unschooling didn't work for their kids.

People should enter into unschooling with wide open eyes. They should
unschool because they want the benefits of unschooling and be willing
to work on themselves to make it work and work to get their fears out
of the way. But there are no guarantees. The success of unschooling is
all up to the parent who puts it into practice and how well she or he
taps the resources available to help them figure out ways to do better.

Parents who are questioning whether what they see in their child is
good or not can read the stories. They can listen to and then turn
over the discussion of the what and how and why people believe
unschooling works. They can observe their own children through the
lens of unschooling to see if their behavior looks different, eg, do
they now see the joy, engagement, the reaching out for more to feed an
interest rather than zombielike behaviors.

Then parents need to decide for themselves if the benefits of
unschooling are worth working through their fears for.

All we can do is provide the ideas and similar experiences in homes
where radical unschooling is being practiced. What a parent does with
those ideas, how they decide to change, what work they decide to do on
their fears, that's all up to them.

Joyce

Joyce Fetteroll

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Nov 15, 2010, 6:51:17 AM11/15/10
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> I was, by the way, just making another analogy of a different type
> of addition.

Analogies don't make just one connection. Analogies suggest many
connections. And it's difficult to think clearly about one idea when
an analogy is suggesting more. If video games are likened to drugs and
playing to addiction because surface behavior looks similar then it
will be difficult to not see more ties to addiction and very very easy
to dismiss the aspects that point away and don't support the analogy.

Is a guitar like antibiotics where a little is good and too much is
bad? What infection would a guitar be a cure for? Is interest being
likened to an infection that needs cured? And if a a child isn't
infected with interest and chooses to play the guitar anyway what
would be the negative effect? That a future infection of guitar
interest would be immune to guitar playing?

Are books like heroin? If a child reads a lot would time be the only
factor that would suggest addiction or overdose?

So what factors *other than* time spent would suggest addiction? What
factors would point away from addiction?

Analogies can help someone make a big leap when trying to understand
something new. Analogies can also overlay images and feelings that
aren't part of the new thing and muddy the understanding.

Joyce

Joyce Fetteroll

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Nov 15, 2010, 7:32:12 AM11/15/10
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On Nov 15, 2010, at 6:51 AM, Joyce Fetteroll wrote:

>>
>> If you do looking at him playing on the Wii with the eyes of
>> someone watching an addict get their fix it will be very hard for
>> you to reach out and enjoy what he's doing.
>
> And no one here can prove without a doubt that video games aren't
> addictive to some people.

Is going back through to clear out my inbox and I'd forgotten she'd
come out and directly said she wanted proof. This is the quote that
should lead into what I said!

> What I want if your you all to tell me that everything is going to

> be OK!!! LOL I want someone to come out and say they have a child
> who is now a successful <fill in blank> and that their child spent
> 14 hours a day watching video games for < blank.."alot of" > years.
> I am a scientist, so my brain needs solid evidence, not conjectures,
> if you know what I mean.

Joyce

Chris Sanders

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Nov 15, 2010, 11:58:28 AM11/15/10
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This is my contribution to the request for success stories:

My son wrote the two essays that are linked 3rd down in the list Sandra posted.  He wrote those when he was 16 years old, now he's 19.  The four years prior to his writing those essays, he immersed himself in video games.  He would play the same games over multiple times to try to accomplish every task, solve every puzzle, earn every achievement for what in his mind was a perfect score.  When he was 15.5 he started blogging - mostly about video games. He wrote reviews.  When he was 16 he asked me to help him find ways to improve his writing and he opted to enroll in a college Composition course.  The essays that are linked below were written for that course.

Now, at 19, he is a sophomore at a community college, taking 18 credit hours and with a high GPA. He's been awarded a couple of small scholarships, and has plans to transfer to a public university next year, earn an advanced degree in History, and possibly double major in Political Science. He still enjoys video games but plays them much less now.  A couple of years ago he had a job for 9 months at a used video game store.  He earned enough money to purchase a couple of game consoles and he still has several thousand dollars saved that he is going to use for traveling in Europe soon.

Chris in IA

Chris Sanders

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Nov 15, 2010, 12:20:19 PM11/15/10
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A friend on Facebook posted a link to this article today: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.05/view.html

It's written by James Paul Gee, a University professor and author of 'What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy'

In the article he writes about how kids are learning more playing video games than they are sitting in school, 

"In cognitive science, this is referred to as the regime of competence principle, which results in a feeling of simultaneous pleasure and frustration - a sensation as familiar to gamers as sore thumbs. Cognitive scientist Andy diSessa has argued that the best instruction hovers at the boundary of a student's competence."

Chris in IA

T Maia

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Nov 15, 2010, 2:50:15 PM11/15/10
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L

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


From: "lylaw" <ly...@comcast.net>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 19:20:35 -0800
Subject: Re: [UnschoolingDiscussion] Video Games

 
=====

--

k

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Nov 15, 2010, 10:39:48 PM11/15/10
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Not just in answer to this post but to anyone with similar questions, confusion or desire for reassurance about how video gaming effects children's ability to learn.

I went to school. It was worksheets of picture matching and letter matching then. I wasn't a reader until about 8. When I began reading I jumped straight into elementary biographies on the lives of a number of people, books that were in my school library. I didn't read out loud fluidly but I read to myself very easily from the very beginning and I read voraciously. For years. Looking back on it, it's clear to me that school teachers didn't teach me to read. I picked it up.

My child is 7. He is not a fluid reader. He guesses words more and more confidently everyday. And video games are a central part of the ongoing process. Karl is a child who has wished to be a reader ever since another child, who was going through reading difficulties and school damage, called him a baby for not being able to read. That happened when Karl was four, and it hasn't been for lack of motivation or interest that he has yet to read fluidly.

Today I was playing a vidgame online. Karl, reading over my shoulder, asked me if a word was the word "gold" ... I said "That's close, I bet!," and on a hunch I looked up the etimology of the word which was "guild." Turns out that guild is related not only to money, gold, tribute, etc but also to gilding, gelding and other similarly spelled older words which are no longer in use.

I looked it up on a hunch and in doing so provided a connection between the word he had guessed and what it turned out to be. That's the direct application of what playing a lot of video games looks like in my house.

In my opinion, there actually *is* a good use for testing. Here's an etimology on the word "test" which I wrote about on my blog here: https://blogkath.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/testing-the-lifeblood-of-learning/

~Katherine


Usha T.

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Nov 16, 2010, 3:33:54 PM11/16/10
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I'm not an expert, my oldest is 5. But I thought I'd share my
experience regarding video games and learning. I find myself wincing
at how much time my children spend in front of screens when I hear all
the "experts" tell us not to. I remember my tv-free childhood filled
with books and tree climbing and imagination and worry that my kids
won't get that. But it's not MY childhood, it's theirs. So I
remember to step back and let them have their lives. My son plays
pirate games and Sonic all the time on the Xbox. He has learned to
read numbers into the thousands, figure out quantities and read a huge
number of sight words from playing games. He is now picking out those
words on signs on the road, or boxes at the store. He can look at his
score and another's and know who is winning (greater/less than).
These are all skills that would be 'taught' in Kindergarten or first
grade. He is doing all this while enjoying his games. He is learning
hand/eye coordination, how to use a controller/computer, and using
logic and thought to solve puzzles. He has trouble turning it off to
do other things, but we focus on the transition not seeing the game as
the problem.
I will sub in another 'issue' that happened the other night to make a
point here. My son wanted the hall light on instead of the playroom
light to go to sleep. He wanted it to just stay up and play, and my
husband decided (I have no idea why and we talked about this later)
that this was a sticking point and insisted it be off - he unscrewed
the bulb. My son freaked out and started becoming angry and yelling,
hitting etc. Yes, I know this is a weird situation that should never
have happened. But I bring it up to make a point. Is this the light
bulb's fault? Should we take away his light because it's causing him
to behave angrily? That's silly. We dealt with the way he reacted,
talked about other ways to express feelings etc. [and talked to
husband about why the heck he couldn't just have the light (rolls
eyes.)] It's the same with games. The games don't cause him to be
upset when we need to do another activity, we can teach him how to
deal with feelings without taking away his games.
Now we are not a completely unschooling family. Our son goes to a 2
day drop off charter school and we do curriculum and such at home, but
we draw a lot from the philosophy. It flows naturally for us from the
way we parented our babies. We don't enforce sleep and food rules
strictly and treat our children with respect. I've always believed in
golden rule parenting and this philosophy just flows with that
naturally. But in the interest of full disclosure we do 'school'.
Usha

k

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Nov 17, 2010, 10:30:52 AM11/17/10
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The tall human with access to the lightbulb took access away from the shorter human and got a predictable response.
I think the reaction to suddenly having no access to light and what sounds like enforcement of sleep would happen whether school is involved or not. And with school, enforcement of sleep patterns is almost guaranteed by school schedule.

>>>We don't enforce sleep and food rules
strictly and treat our children with respect.<<<

No matter what parenting style is, resistance to force is a factor that parents influence yet can't remove from the picture. It can be discouraged by repeatedly dashing a child's hopes but I don't recommend doing that.

Why I don't recommend it: a child who doesn't care about or understand consequences may make (perhaps dangerous) decisions to get around parental force if the child doesn't trust a parent to respect personal freedoms as much as possible. I was the child who wanted to know if I could fly, and since my parents always said "no" to just about everything in default mode, I jumped out the second story of a barn loft. I never told how painful my legs and back were and luckily I didn't sustain much damage (I was about 10 or 11). When I wasn't even two I climbed on top of the refrigerator and got into the medicine cabinet which I had been warned against, so of course the cabinet was interesting to me. It had been pointed out to me very pointedly. There was a lot my parents didn't know about me while I lived under their roof because they didn't fully consider how determined a person a child can be, how well they might hide what they do, and what to do about the use of force.

Here's a link to consider ideas about choice. It is from an unschooling point of view and much of it won't fit the school paradigm very well I'm afraid: http://sandradodd.com/choice It is an advertisement for unschooling really since it's an entry on an unschooling website.

The very first sentence is almost universal among children: "Arbitrary rules and limits have the characteristic that they entice kids to think about how they can get around them and can even entice kids to cheat and lie."

A child starts out curious and inquisitive with a drive to explore their world and increase in competence and mastery in their environment. Parental force works against what children (what humans actually) are all about. And that's true no matter what your parenting style, if school is involved or not, and so on.

~Katherine


Jacquie Krauskopf

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Nov 17, 2010, 11:37:36 AM11/17/10
to unschoolin...@googlegroups.com
Very true. I had forgotten that my son also learned to read large numbers because of video games.
   I am a very non traditional type of person and i try not to believe "the experts" of any kind. I like good true experiences to go by. With "the experts" opinions everywhere we look it is difficult sometimes to just observe the facts for ourself. My son is playing his video games now and he also looks up stuff on the net because of video games.
    As far as exercise, yesterday i put in a video and together we did it. Today i suggested he dance to his favorite radio station and he did and really liked it.
   Thanks to all of you who are so encouraging and eye opening.
 
Jacquie


From: Usha T. <ush...@gmail.com>
To: UnschoolingDiscussion <unschoolin...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Tue, November 16, 2010 3:33:54 PM
Subject: [UnschoolingDiscussion] Re: Video Games

Jacquie Krauskopf

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Nov 17, 2010, 11:43:30 AM11/17/10
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I was wondering how you handle it when someone who has made it clear that not sending your child to a school is wrong? I REALLY hate this and it has happened twice with two different people.
   This last time was funny though. The mom/grandma found out we homeschool and i guess told the boy that is my sons age. So the next time Jonah and the boy were together the boy asked my son a multiplication math problem and then my son got it correct but the kid questioning him got it wrong and the kid admitted he was wrong. Really it is funny, but it also makes me angry as i don't think anyone has the right to try to grill a kid.
Any ideas?


From: k <kath...@gmail.com>
To: unschoolin...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Mon, November 15, 2010 10:39:48 PM

Subject: Re: [UnschoolingDiscussion] Video Games

Sandra Dodd

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Nov 17, 2010, 12:19:24 PM11/17/10