Being a good and proper GeekFamily, we’ve got computers on every floor of the house. My husband, Rael, introduced our son, then in kindergarten, to the pleasures of instant messaging with iChat. Soon, one of Luke’s favorite games was to get on the basement Mac and IM us while we were on our laptops upstairs. It was little more than smileys and random text (he was just learning to read and spell), but he loved seeing our faces pop up in response to his requests, punctuated by iChat’s friendly Bwoop! sound effects.
When Rael went away on business travel, they’d IM I love you’s and simple words and math problems to each other. But as Luke’s reading and typing skills grew, so did his ability to "play." In this case, he was learning about patterns and repetition at school and came up with this little game himself.
Luke’s now almost finished with first grade and is reading and writing with the best of them. Our chats are now actual conversation (albeit about Pokemon and Mario), complete with phonetic spelling. The beauty part? We can save our chat transcripts and keep a permanent record of his early writing.
Asha Dornfest is a guest GeekMom and the publisher of Parent Hacks.