Deschooling and Games

Lyle is one of my favorite unschooling-volunteer-helper writers, and the following is his response to someone who shall remain nameless who was complaining about Yu-Gi-Oh. The indented section are Lyle's pull-punches-gently responses. —Sandra

I wonder when he will ever learn anything!
Maybe he's wondering when you will ever SEE what he's learning. Maybe he's wondering when you will join him in what he's learning, or at least express some joy and satisfaction that he IS learning. (He IS learning, you know.)
That's all he talks about. Yu-Gi-Yo Cards
What do you talk about? Anything BUT Yu-Gi-Oh cards? It sounds like you're waiting for him to get through a "phase" or something so he can really get down to some serious learning. The problem is, he's already there, he's just waiting for you to catch up! You're the one that's behind. He's doing the learning, he's moved on, and you're still stuck on the same chapter. It's time to turn the page. Or better yet, put that book down, wrap it in some gasoline soaked newspapers, and offer it up as your last sacrifice to the School Gods. Their powers are obselete now. Break free from the academic death grip they have on your mind and set yourself free!

And he doesn't know how to play the game, and I am so not interested in trying to teach the game.
Well, that's a pretty depressing attitude. Would you be interested in teaching him geography? Biology? Seismology? Are those the important things? Your things are important and his things are crap? If that's true, I don't blame him for not being interested in your stuff. Why should he get excited about your stuff when you look at his stuff with disdain and revulsion? Don't forget that he's learning something about the signals you're sending him too. He's learning ALL the time. Don't let him learn that his mom thinks what he does is stupid.
Those games are hard even for me to understand.
It's your attitude that makes it hard. I'm a duelist. I've got my own deck. We have a blast dueling at our house. Yes, it took me a while to learn, and I can rarely ever beat Dylan, but I have a lot of fun playing. The "hard" was worth it. If you're not willing to put out the effort to learn something that's hard for you, how can you ever expect your son to? Model the attitude you would like him to follow. Right now he's modeling it for you. He wants to learn something hard, help him do it. If you can't do it, find someone that can.

I am ready for his Obsession with these cards to be gone.
He's learning about the cards. He wants to learn to duel. He's found something that fascinates him, and has a deep passion for, and you don't want to help. I think you're the one with the obsession.

We all went to the [aquarium] over Valentines Weekend! Learned a lot about Fish and Water, and wildlife.
Cool! Sounds great! And when you can show the same excitement about every other thing he does, you will be officially deschooled!

You're still looking for the learning, and I know that's a tough habit to get out of. But, you can do it, with a lot of conscious effort on your part. Going to the aquarium is not better than dueling or playing a GameBoy. Different, but not better. I'll bet that the kids he knows talk more about dueling or video games than they do about fish and wildlife. He's in touch with what goes on around him, the people he knows and the things that they do. Including you. He enjoys Yu-Gi-Oh AND the aquarium. If you try real hard, you can do that too!



***Always remember, Lead By Example***

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