A lot of things have been going on with the kids lately that were causing me to doubt myself. I have never really doubted unschooling or doubted my kids abilities to learn what they need to learn. I realize (thankfully) that the doubts stem from my own insecurities and my need for approval. I thought I was past that but there's nothing like motherhood to shine a light on areas where you're still a work in progress.
My specific issues have been wrapped up in Jace. He enjoys video games and electronics. A lot. He has gaming on his mind from morning until night. He plays games, creates games, emails people about games, reads magazines and books about games, sketches out ideas for games, draws comics and writes stories based on games, reenacts games with legos and action figures, makes videos about games, spends his allowance on games, (surfing eBay, Amazon, and Gamestop for the best deals and even occasionally selling one of his older games at these places)and talks about games. I didn't really think much of this. This is who he is, what he's passionate about for now, and anything else is artificial. I was happy that he'd found something to love and that he's a happy 11 year old who still likes sharing his passions with me. Enter the naysayers.
Imagine a judgemental, incrdulous tone with all of the following:
"It's such a nice day, shouldn't he be outside instead of playing video games."
"Jace never talks about anything but games.You can't even have a conversation with him."
"Why doesn't he ever do anything."
The thing is these things were starting to get to me, they had me thinking that I was wrong, that I should just MAKE him do something else, anything else. But when I contemplate what that would really mean, sacrificing his spark in order to please others I just can't do it. So instead I've come up with some responses for the naysayers:
It's such a nice day, shouldn't he be outside."
He does spend time outside. Quite a bit actually, but only when an activity sparks his interest. Ture, he does prefer to be inside, as do I. But it's okay, outside is not morally superior to inside.
"You can't even have a conversation with him."
I have conversations with him all the time. He also has no problem talking with other kids his age and adults. Maybe the problem is that you want him to talk about what you're interested in instead of listening to what he's interested in.
"Why doesn't he ever do anything?"
He does plenty. Just because you haven't taken the time to watch it and see the value in it doesn't mean there isn't any.
At the end of the day I realize that actually I'm quite impressed with the diversity of ways Jace incorporates gaming into his life. He is learning economics, reading for information as well as pleasure, problem solving, managing his time, creating art in many mediums, sharing information with others, thinking critically and so much more. He is passionate and engaged. And all on his own, without any need for me to push him.