Rippy and Graham

Here are some fun and funny stories of a few ways my children have been using the internet. They are examples of real world reading, writing, editing and researching about things that are important to them for their own reasons. I thought it might be helpful for parents of younger children to see some examples of unschooling children doing these things with enthusiasm and excitement that comes from within themselves.

The last couple of Wednesdays, I participated in Sandra's Wednesday chats ( The children watched me with fascination and asked questions about how it worked and the places all the coloured names came from. The other day, Gisele had opened up the Chatzy website on her own and said, "Look! We can chat together". So Gianluca, Gisele and I sat around the dining table, each of us not taking to each other, but just writing little notes. Then Graham got involved (he was not home) and chatted to them in Dutch. They were writing to me in English and to him in Dutch :-) It went on in bits and pieces for hours.

On a different day, Gianluca did something super sweet for me and I said something like "Oh, thank you! You know you're one of the nicest people I know on the planet" (He really, really is!). So then he happily came and sat on my lap and asked me if I was serious, and I told him I was. Then he googled "nicest person on the planet" for proof and the first hit that came up was 'Patrick Stewart Continues to Prove that He's the Nicest Person on the Planet'. I started laughing and told him that's the actor that played Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his name was inspired from that character. He loved it! He had a huge smile. I think it was good enough proof for him :-)

And on another day, Gisele googled her name. She then selected google images and clicked on the first image of herself. This linked to Sandra's page on me on her website:

Gisele started reading the page AND *editing* (!!!). She asked why Gianluca's birth month had been written in full and hers was an abbreviation (Sandra has now edited that for her). Then she asked how the internet knows all of this about her. I explained it's because Sandra wrote our family's story and if she had not written it, it would not be on the internet. Gisele continued to read about four paragraphs and then asked me to save the page, so she can read the rest later.

Then she brought me her red Lisbon-London-Leiden bookmark that Sandra gifted all the people that had come to last year's European ALL Symposiums. Gisele told me she intends to read the rest of Sandra's website later and after that she'll read the website (both those websites are marked on the red bookmark). She was delighted when I told her that the last website was Joyce's. She knows both Joyce and Sandra personally since they stayed with us for a few days. It made her happy that she would be reading their words.

(Gianluca 9, Gisele 7)