Exploring Unschooling

Exploring Unschooling

EU119 Flashback: Gaming and Growing Up Unschooling with Xander MacSwan

September 22, 2022

I get so many questions about “screen time” and video games and how they fit into an unschooling life, so I thought it might be helpful and fun to reshare a conversation I had with Xander MacSwan in 2018. Xander left school in the 5th grade when his parents—both professors in the University of Maryland’s College of Education—decided the best thing they could do was to start unschooling.

We dove deep into Xander’s passion for video games, including the difference between gaming as part of deschooling and choosing gaming as a passion, the joys of gaming, and things he learned or experienced through gaming that continue to be relevant in his life.

Xander’s perspective looking back as a grown unschooler is reassuring and enlightening!

Questions for Xander

Can you share with us a bit about you and your family, and what your family’s move to unschooling looked like?

One of the common worries for newer unschooling parents is around whether or not to limit the time their children spend playing video games. And there’s definitely a difference between deschooling and choosing gaming as a passion, though at first it might be hard to distinguish between them. Can you talk about the difference?

How did your passion for gaming develop? Can you share a bit about how that unfolded for you?

In my experience, I think diving into any passion, including a passion for video games, can be a wonderful way to learn so much about ourselves. And that understanding applies everywhere in our lives. Was that your experience?

Can you share some examples of things you learned or experienced through gaming growing up that continue to be relevant in your life now? What threads do you see looking back?

As a grown unschooler, what piece of advice would you like to share with unschooling parents who are just starting out on this journey?

Links to things mentioned in the show

Xander’s episode on Blake Boles’ Off-Trail Learning podcast

Xander works at Rose City NVC

Episode Transcript

Read the episode transcript

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The Living Joyfully Network community

The Network is a wonderful online community for parents to connect and engage in candid conversations about living and learning through the lens of unschooling. Our shared goals are to embrace lifelong learning, develop strong and connected relationships with our children, and cultivate a thriving unschooling lifestyle in our families.

This month, our theme is Being Ourselves in the World and we’re looking through the lenses of self-awareness and choice. If you’re curious to learn more, click here!

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