My little Leo is now six, and a half. I better not forget that part. It’s very important! In 2019 he started at Rallim, a new school in our area with a Reggio Emilia approach to teaching, which I love. Then in 2020 the pandemic hit, and he only attended school until March. Since then I’ve kept him out, and we’ve been unschooling.
I don’t think you can quite understand the benefits of unschooling until you’ve done it for a prolonged period of time, so you have some perspective of how an unschooled child learns and experiences the world. It’s very different to the way they would if they were going to school everyday.
This morning he’s chilling on the couch next to me, playing his iPad and talking away as he plays online. Then he goes, “Mommy look, I’m playing with *Jack, we defeating this guy together!” I look over and there is Jack, his closest friend before the pandemic hit. They are playing online in a game together, making signals at each other and sending emoticons and communicating in whichever way they can, as they can’t write properly yet. But they are literally communicating and working towards a goal together. Leo is talking out loud to Jack, as if Jack could hear him and he is laughing and having the most fun in the world. When they win he shouts, “yes, we did it!”
I’ve heard some people say how sad it is, the way the world is going for this generation of kids, but I really feel that is a perspective. My perspective is this. Since the pandemic hit, he’s been able to see Jack twice in real life, in an entire year. Before that, they hung out five days a week, all day long. I’ve tried to stay connected, but am generally ignored by Jack’s Mom, for whatever reason I’m not sure, everybody’s got a lot going on, and I totally respect that everyone’s doing their best to just keep their lives together.
But what I love about this situation is that kids just get on with it. He’s asked numerous times about setting up a playdate with Jack, and I’ve tried, but unfortunately as mentioned it just doesn’t seem to work out. But somehow, these two kids have found each other online and they are having fun together. Defying all space and time. Maybe that sounds overboard because like, it’s just tech! But for me, I’m like here are 2 x 6 year olds playing online and having fun – and I had nothing to do with that playdate taking place. I just love it. It’s cute and I think that people with the same energy find each other, no matter what, and I love that tech can lend good energy a helping hand.
*name has been changed.