Nic LOVES some computer games. His current obsession is Lego Racers 2. Not 1; 2.
As unschoolers, I try to watch what he’s doing, and not interfere. I see myself as a facilitator and resource person — and chauffeur, of course. Eight-year-olds cannot drive themselves to the library, after all. 😉
And I talk with him almost daily about finding a balance. Finding balance in the food he eats, the activities he enjoys, and what he chooses to do with his energy everyday. But I don’t wish to impose control about these things. I feel that he is old enough to start taking over the controls of most of this, with somewhat passive observation from me.
Of course we have ‘house rules.’ Like right now, they are playing with the chemistry experiment results from yesterday — otherwise known as homemade playdough. It’s a simple ‘house rule’ that they keep it on the play table.
There are also house rules about food and dirt and the way we treat and speak to one another…and these apply to adults and children alike. They are the grease that makes this social collective work and keeps me from spending my entire waking hours cleaning.
But beyond that, how much control should Nic have on how he learns, what he learns, when he learns it? At what point do I feel it necessary to suggest course correction? This is what I have been grappling with lately.
So, back to Lego Racers 2. He wants to play it all the time. My standard response has been that he’s welcome to play it, but I want him to find balance. I want him to develop a better ability to listen to the needs of his mind and body and act accordingly. I don’t think it’s healthy for him to play a computer game for 8 hours. He doesn’t always agree. 🙂
Yesterday was a partially rainy day, and one without his best friend — who couldn’t come over as planned. So it was a good day to experiment.
Nic played Lego Racers 2 all day except to eat, potty and wiggle. Did it rot his brain? Of course not.
By bedtime and then again this morning, Nic did observe that he thought he’d played it ‘too much’ and would try to add more variety to his day today.
So he played the game again this morning, and now he’s playing with homemade playdough with this brother and babbling about how excited he is to go to the library today.
Was yesterday educational? Absolutely, just not in ways that show up on curriculum sheets.