Commentary on World of Warcraft and Unschooling.

On the Always Learning list at Thanksgiving, 2009, CarnationsGalore (Beth M.) wrote:
For those of you who play World of Warcraft (or WoW), and those who might want to play, my 11 year old daughter and I started a new Alliance guild on the Shandris Realm. It's a low populated PvE (normal) server, and we are a low-level guild wanting to level together. Many of our members have higher level characters on other realms, so there are different experienced players. We are advertising it as family-oriented, and there will no cursing or suggestive behavior. Members get one warning only. Our guild is called Infinitely Confused, courtesy of my daughter Allie. In game, she is Calari, and I am Gnixi. If interested, please send me an in-game mail, or you'll likely find me online since she and I have been playing for a few days now. We have a good group so far of about 19 members of different ages.

We knew a little about game play, but there is so much to do, and new skills need to be learned to gain higher experience skills. Allie loves the social aspect of the game. We are getting to know some of our guild members, and soon will be learning cooperative teamwork techniques to get through quests and raids that require more than 1 or 2 players. It's so cool how we bring our different skills together. Some of us throw magic spells to do damage, some use combat skills to fight up close and take more hit damage, some heal players as their health goes down. We didn't realize how much more effective fights can be with different type characters. It takes concentration and strategy planning for this kind of play. We also love the professions learned in the game that give us a little taste of what these things might be like outside the game. Allie worked on her cooking skill all day yesterday and then asked me about making some casseroles this week at home. My character has an alchemy focus that I find intriguing. I am thinking of getting a chemistry set for Christmas. Oh, so far we're figuring out new things every day without getting bored. I know it will slow down some, but it's really great so far.

There is another guild on a PvP (player vs. player) realm that I'm sure someone here might know about. It's a Horde guild. That's why we wanted to make an Alliance guild. But these two guilds are on different servers so they can't interact anyway. They are the two opposing factions in the game. And there are lots and lots of guilds on lots and lots of servers. Too fun!

Beth M.

On the Unschooling Basics list, Vicki wrote:
Here's my take:
1) My son requested I learn to play WoW so I could game with him.
2) He read all the books, and coached me as I tried to build a character that would *help* the group. (I'm still learning.)
3) I found that this was MORE then just a game as it requires lots of learning and the more you learn, the more you research to learn some more.
4) I learned about twinkin and addons and have been investing time into doing more researching on these topics lately.
5) These games can be HIGHLY Educational!
a) learning to work an auction. (Very similar to Ebay and such. Supply & demand concepts.)
b) learning to build skills (basics to advanced to expert and the real life application that it's best to start any new endeavor in the same fashion.
c) Vocabulary!!! Lordy, it's like learning a whole new language!
d) Keyboarding skills
e) Math
f) online social skills & team play
g) Geography (yea, I know it's a make believe world, but mapping skills and terrain are learned and if you have the right addons, even longitude & latitude coordinates are used.
The list is extremely long before we tap into the story line and creation aspects of designing such an involved game.

So along with all these various *benefits* to gaming, the downside seems to be an issue for many of the commenters. I've given my son (11yo) unlimited access to pretty much everything his heart desires with the only exceptions being that which I can not realistically do. So far, this hasn't caused any form of addiction unless you count exploring topics an addiction. (He is currently running his own experiments with all the different classes as he levels six at once keeping them all even in skills.)

Yesterday, he never signed on to WoW. He spent the day on Funorb, working out with his sister (18yo), and playing with his many pets. He has also requested that I sit down with him and go over the complete series of 'Life of Fred' *making him* (his words, lol) do each of the written assignments in the books. He has already read the complete series skipping over the written work and now he is ready to tackle that.

He wants to breed two of our very long haired cats together to get some VERY furry kittens and he wants to breed our two dogs for which the female was purchased for. (We live on a miniature horse farm and have been breeding animals his whole life so this is not a bizarre request. Anyway, last night he *studied* the National Geography's In the womb series

What it comes down to, at least in my house, is everything these group leaders, seasoned unschoolers, have been saying is just so true; that happy, healthy child have the natural desire to explore and learn many varied interests and don't tend to become addicted when they have the freedom to flow from one thing to the next as their interests flow. To say that unschoolers *don't* learn *school topics* is just plain silly! They may not learn it in the same way a school would demand, that doesn't mean they don't learn! I haven't forced any spelling lessons on my son, yet he is an excellent speller at eleven. I haven't forced math nor biology, nor geography nor any other topic, yet he excels in all this knowledge. I'd say he has learned so much because he has been giving his freedom to do so.

Vicki who is ever so glad to have learned about unschooling.

Tales of Happy Video Gamers

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