Nicole Richard wrote: "I love this. Estrella built a block tower and the boys honored it in Minecraft."
Some of the surprise will be lost by my putting this link here, but at least listen to the beginning of it. Naomi Alderman
'The Existential Me' is a series marking the centenary of the birth of Albert Camus . . . . As well as writing novels and short stories Naomi Alderman is a writer of computer games. The world of computers is, she believes essentially existentialist because nothing exists except through the will of the players. . . .
Duration: 15 minutes First broadcast: Monday 11 November 2013
A mom in the Czech Republic sent me a note in 2018 (added here in 2020):
Something amazing happened in our life: our son watched minecraft videos about a year and now he talks english more fluently than his parents 😉 (and associates english with fun and excitement). So I am full of optimism: yes. we can one day go to some unschooling camp(s), he can hang out with videogaming people, ... thank you Sandra Dodd for what are you doing (in the realm of deschooling people a keeping things real), I am reading you for about two years almost daily. Joyce is great too, of course.
In May 2014, Colleen Prieto wrote:
Many of the Minecon panelists spoke with great kindness and appreciation about parents who supported their interest in computers, YouTube, etc. A couple of them reported different experiences, and their parents were less supportive or took some convincing — but the majority really seemed to smile when they talked about their parents buying them computers and games and equipment, giving them the time to explore their passions, etc. It was awesome to hear.
At the Redstone panel in particular, a Mom got up and asked "what support have you received from your Moms and Dads to get to where you are right now?"
The whole talk is interesting and well worth listening to, but to see the panelists respond to the Mom's question — to hear first-person accounts from young adults whose parents supported them rather than thwarting them - fast-forward to minute 37:50 in the YouTube video and go from there
Someone had asked (with feeling):
Who on earth thinks its ok to let a 4 year old on the computer
Patricia Nespor Platt responded:
Meredith already wrote beautifully about supporting children in
following their passions, and in regard to the playing of Minecraft in
particular, several people have posted on AlwaysLearning about what
their children have learned playing the game. Really, the opportunities for learning through Minecraft are limited only by the
player's own imagination and access to the game.
For folks who respond better to numbers, research, and such, here are
This is the third page on Minecraft I've created, and I can't say which I think is best to read, so if you're interested, there are links to others below.
some facts and figures. Minecraft is played by millions of people
around the world, people of all ages and from many cultures. When I
checked the statistics at https://minecraft.net/stats just now,
9,760,164 people had bought the game, and in the last 24 hours, 11,805
people had bought the game. Many thousands of people have attended the
past Minecraft conventions. (My family attended one of those
conventions, and we met some lovely unschooling families there!)
Minecraft has also become a site for immersive and interactive
learning, as teachers begin to adopt it for in-class activities, clubs
pop up at schools around the world, and both kids and adults (even
parents!) come together in diverse online forums, video sharing sites,
So, to reframe the question: "Who on earth thinks it's okay to let a 4
year old passionately experiment with architecture, city planning,
forms of government (and on and on; you name it), while learning math,
anthropology, mythology, social skills (and on and on; you name it)
all day?" This very young child is happily and voluntarily doing what
many school children are now required to do. Would you have a problem
if the 4 year old wanted to compose symphonies (or paint, or dance, or
solve physics or math problems or—you name the passion) all day?
Look at the learning. Look at the passion. Look at the child. How
wonderful that such a young child already has such a rich life with
such passionate engagement!
Here is the post by Meredith to which Patricia referred above, with the "questions"/comments in bold, and Meredith's responses indented:
I also feel that at the age of 4, a child might not have
the capacity to know when enough is enough.
What does that mean "when enough is enough"? I'm sure I don't know. What's more, I work with a 72 year old woman who doesn't seem to know when "enough is enough" - she sleeps something like four hours a night and spends most of the rest of her time upholstering furniture. She's been doing that for 40 years.
There's some big bad cultural pressure against the idea that children have passions. I remember when I was first reading about unschooling getting all creeped out at the word "passion" applied to children. Children shouldn't be passionate, they should be well-rounded. Even though adults aren't well rounded at all!
I mean in the sense that usually at 4, the children
want to be playing with mommy when she is home
At 4, my daughter was already pretty introverted, and from birth she has prefered to do things for long stretches of time. When she was 4, a lot of what she did — hours every day — was cut shapes out of paper. She'd go through a whole stack of computer paper a week, easily, sometimes two. That much paper. Hours and hours every day. We went to our first unschooling conference that year - Live and Learn - and I stayed in a largish cabin with a shared kitchen/common room. I spent a lot of time cleaning up paper, and other parents commented on that: does your kid do this All the Time? It was only about half her waking hours, really, but that was still a lot. She's moved on from that to other things, but she still spends hours every day on her current passion. For awhile it was legos. Now it's fan-fiction.
The child in the original post has brothers and sisters - Mo has a half-brother. If he's around, he fills up all her social needs really quickly. If the child in the original post is a strong introvert as well as being really passionate about what he's doing, it could easily be that he's a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in his life. That's not a problem with the computer, it's someone using the computer as a tool. Without it, he might use books, or painting, or paper cutting. He could easily be spending exactly as much time indoors, focused on his passion and/or protective shield.
Actually, that would explain this from the original post:
we are doing looks SO interesting and fun that he wants to participate, but he
seems to feel naked without the laptop, so he brings it and turns back to it
every minute or two.
It's also important to note that he's Not doing One thing, he's doing several:
The fact that all those things seem to revolve around a single subject isn't any different than another child who wants pirate clothes, pirate stories, pirate movies, pirate pajamas, pirate sheets, and pirate themed food.
maybe it is because I am still deschooling, but I feel like if to
unschool is to be with the children helping them, exploring, and learning
together, then having the children playing games all day isn't unschooling
"Having" kids do anything is problematic, but supporting kids in what they value and care about is the basis of How unschooling works. Replace "playing games" with other things a kid might become passionate about and see if that changes your perspective: play an instrument, paint, read, build, climb...
The biggest problem is that mom Isn't supporting the kids on the computer enough.