I didn’t really have much of an opinion on this, but a spate of curiosity made me browse links on homeschooling and dating. I found some odd things.
I actually had no knowledge of the courtship movement. I was aware of Harris’s book, but had just a vague idea it was another book to give Christian parents advice on dating for their young kids. I’m in the middle of reading the book linked to by that post, and I might actually crack open Kissed Dating Goodbye. I never even bothered with it myself. It would be like a fish being given a book on how to hang-glide.
It’s something I didn’t consider though, and I’ve been subtly reading on the problems of Christian dating for some time now.
I’d take this with a grain of salt if it weren’t so lucid and rational. Usually anti-sites can go over the deep end and magnify problems as a reaction to the identity they just discarded, but there’s some issues here which seem a bit too close to home. It feels more like regret over the waste of an extreme thing than a blanket condemnation of a movement.
Creative license with the title there. Echoes of the “duck and cover” paranoia we had in public schools. Like that would help if the Soviets ever really nuked us. While I get the mom wants to make her kids safe, in the back of the kid’s mind, he’s always going to interpret any loud sound for a moment as gunfire, and size up where to hide. Look, I fully sorrow over the loss everyone faced in Sandy Hook, but these kind of things are rare, and are impossible to prepare for. To try and instill in kids a lifetime of looking and being aware for when a gun is fired is not going to help them; it will make them jumpy and not a little paranoid.
To be fair though, I really don’t see Penelope Trunk as a model for homeschooling. I just include this for two reasons:
1. Since homeschooling is very much tied up with parental identity, some people get pressured to justify things for reasons apart from the actual one. I really doubt Penelope is doing this because she’s discovered that gaming has wonderful potential to bring out a child’s creativity, but more because it occupies the kids and keeps them quiet when she needs to rest. But since you have to justify almost any activity per homeschooling, we get this.
2. It involves gaming, which is always fun to talk about. Mostly because it’s the kid version of beer. No, seriously; it’s fun when done in moderation, but kills lives if not strictly monitored. I say this as an ex-hardcore gamer. Man, the MMO war stories I could tell you some time.
I think we erred seriously when we created home consoles. The one thing the arcade did was enable a strict separation between gaming and the rest of your life. You went out to game, but couldn’t do it back home. You were limited in your playtime by how much money you had, and eventually you’d get bored and go home simply because all you could do was watch. It set some hard limits which helped people resist the games, and even the hours of the arcade’s operation helped.
But the consoles enabled gaming to be 24-7. There was no distance between you and the game any more, and as kids grew older, they could play later. As adults, they can play an all-nighter if they wanted to.
Consoles also allowed games to become vast experiences. Arcade games? You could only play so long after the operators wised up and made games unable to be played hours on a quarter. The games usually were short, but fun experiences you did socially with others. Now, you have these massive player experiences that can last weeks of real time if not years. No joke, check your time played in an MMO if you doubt me.
So this is a case where we got a lot more than we needed. TBH, it really has wrecked a lot of people’s lives. The sense of power and action can easily become compulsive to slightly neurotic people like myself, and unless you can administer strong boundaries and always supervise the kid, addiction is likely.
There’s more to this, especially with the rise of casino-like free to play games. I won’t go into this, although homeschoolers: never allow your child to play any game that sells virtual items for real money. But it’s just funny to see this post considering as a gamer, I’d never let my kids (if I invent a time machine and go back to have some) even touch the things.