I'm a single mom unschooling one child, a 13-year-old daughter. We live with, and care for, my elderly father. I've been unschooling since my daughter was in kindergarten. Before I began researching unschooling, I adhered to the conventional practice of limiting my daughter's exposure to TV and computer. Several years into unschooling, I got serious about learning as much about it as I could. What I learned was that everything is considered a valid source of learning for a child and no source is more valuable than any other source. As such, the type of unschooling that I was learning about said that no source should be limited. Not knowing what would happen, I decided to give it a try.
Already I had seen that watching TV was calming and regulating for my daughter, although I knew that, for some children, it wasn't. I was guessing that computer use would be similar, but didn't know for sure. When she was about 9 or 10, I removed the limits from all screens. We had two kindle fires, TV, dvds, and my daughter had her own desktop (I don't have a smartphone) What I found over time was that when everything is given equal footing as a source of learning, my daughter makes use of screens when she needs them for whatever project she has going. When she knows that there are no limits to use, she relaxes and uses them as necessary.
My daughter designs and makes beautiful stick horses. She researched patterns and horse breeds online. She takes each new horse outside and rides it around to determine its personality. She set up a website that is a virtual ranch where all her stick horses live. She writes about each horse. She posts photos and drawings of each horse. She set up a horse arena in our backyard, with jumps for her horses. This is just one of many examples I could give of how screens work for us in unschooling. I realized that unlimited screen time has facilitated most of my daughter's projects.
About the Author: Tress Miles lives in rural South Georgia and enjoys organic gardening and unschooling her 13 year-old-daughter.