Xander MacSwan 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 pull their kids out of school and start unschooling. We dive 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.
Quote of the Week
“To me, one of the most valuable parts of unschooling is the unconditional positive regard and acceptance that a parent can give to a kid. Just that sense of trusting, that it’s okay to be myself and it’s okay to do what feels good and take care of myself. I think that’s such a huge thing to be able give a young and developing mind.” ~ Xander MacSwan
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
Wow, great podcast! My husband and I are longtime gamers and we homeschool our daughter. I used to be a public school teacher before I had her and now I am considering unschooling after four years of following curriculum. I’ve read all of Pam’s books and to hear you talk Xander, has affirmed much of what I experienced as an adult gamer. Thank you for your insight and reflections that you have made to gaming. I especially appreciate the advice to new unschooling families. Thanks to both of you!
This is a great podcast! I unschool my son and I love to watch him play his favorite games. I get to watch him create his own story in his own way. The Legend of Zelda is a great game. My son always comments on the amazing art work and music. He loves the myth of Zelda. We both have learned a lot from these games. It is an amazing art form. Thanks for discussing this topic!
Pam Laricchia says
Love Zelda! I’m so glad the episode resonated with you. 🙂