ok i think this is a valid question. One thing I'd point out is that we don't know how much time the OPs son spends gaming. It might be a few times a month at a friend's house. Its not necessarily every day. My 8 year old does not use computers much recreationally, however if he is at a friend's house the I'm not going to stop him playing a computer game, assuming its not inappropriate.
But to answer the question, I think one reason homeschooler often do allow*** unlimited computer use, even when there is no reading, is that computers and reading are not, in all people's mind, opposed. Kids who use computers heavily do also often read heavily, both are quite sedentary, cerebral pursuits. Computer games often tie into novels, fantasy writing, etc.Waldorf thinking, for example, discourages not just computer use but also reading before age 7. They are similar things, in some people's minds.
I encourage reading and discourage computer use for other reasons than a sense that they are mutually exclusive. I do think that computer games offer little, not just educationally but generally, for life, and certainly at this age. I think computer games are far more commercialised than your average book, and I don't like that. I dislike the images and the easy gratification of computer games. Interestingly, my partner, who is a computer scientist and has written games, is incredibly anti our kids having much screen time. The only time my 8 year old spends on a computer really is when he is programming one, he doesn't play any games except those he's written himself.
Just one more thing. I too had a great childhood spent reading. However my brother, who didn't learn to read til he was 9 (severely dyslexic), also had a great childhood. Just not reading books. He had a great childhood taking apart every single electrical item that anyone threw out (kind of suprised he survived really), he has (predictably) ended up an electrical engineer, while I have ended up with a totally useless degree in ancient languages/literature, now scrabbling to educate myself a bit in the sciences. He also now reads to the point where, tbh, it is borderline antisocial ;-). Just saying that there are different ways to a happy adulthood. My dp, a highly gifted child who graduated from our equivalent of Yale with a first in math, holds a doctorate, etc, again did not read much as a child. Boys often don't want to spend those years 7-11 reading, in the same way that a lot of girls do, even if they can. I am finally starting to make peace with this, but I think we must, as mothers, continually remind ourselves that our boys-and indeed our girls-are NOT us, they have their own paths, and they have a right to walk them without criticism.
***I know that radical unschoolers are often happy for their children to use the computer freely because they feel that their children have a right to do so if that is what they want. I'm talking about less radical unschoolers and run of the mill homeschooler.
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama
So, I only read in this forum occasionally because I have a toddler, but am interested in learning about all different choices about how to educate our children (which we will choose based on their needs).
Im I reading correctly that a child who is not reading is playing high level gaming? Why would a parent allow their child to play high level gaming when they cant read yet? Most high level gaming has words to go along with the game, so the boy is just getting by on symbols? To me, it seems like that seems like a lot hours playing video games that could be spent encouraging them to care about books, pen and paper. It seems like a lot of gaming and not a lot of learning, but maybe I have just misunderstood what unschooling is altogether.
I know kids read at different ages, but I cant imagine what person I would be if I had missed out on 3- 4 years of reading during the 7-11 age group. That was the time that I really developed a love for books, because I was too old for a lot of toys and not old enough for a lot of unsupervised social time.