There are 3 of us; in ascending order, E is 8 and lives in an amazing world of his imagination. L is 11 and is a Minecraft Redstone Master, Cris (me) is a computer programmer. We all live in North East London.
I have two kids, 3 years apart. When you have kids, no-one tells you how to do it. There was no close family around or friends with kids to nudge us in the right direction.
So you have Kid 1 and he turns out O.K. Obviously you are going to repeat all that with Kid 2 and it’s all going to be just fine, because Kid 2 is going to be just like Kid 1.
Fast forward some years, I’m now a single parent and have the kids over 2-4 days a week. This parenting thing just got a lot more difficult as I am only ever party to half of the conversations going on with my kids. It was a new territory at first, like when they were born. But time passes and everyone gets into a new rhythm. I have a small network of Dads that I talk to, just to make sure I’m sane mostly and the kids had emotional support from the school counselor – who is amazing.
The kids started to like a lot of the same things; they are both Minecraft masters and the Lego never goes away, but then I noticed that my youngest still wasn’t reading. And then a while ago he just stopped…
At first I tried to force it, then I stopped because it was just making it worse. It took a while for his school to swing into place all the things they could. It started with a full assessment by the school and then the Borough SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator). At his age, they do not use labels, but everyone agreed that his reading was behind what you can expect it to be.
With his assessments over last year, now Kid 2 is full steam ahead on the reading recovery program, it’s amazing. We read a little at home, in the knowledge that he’s reading more at school and doing his reading homework. I have signed him up to an online specialist phonics course and every night they are with me I read out loud to them both until one of them goes to sleep.
He’s working really hard and I’m very proud, but from time to time he just gets tired of all the extra reading, so I wanted to do something fun with him to build his confidence generally, taking the focus off of reading for a while; so we decided to make a computer game.
Both kids play computer games and the idea of creating games has always been there. But then it occurred to me; how about treating it as a professional project rather than a another rainy weekend activity which might be seen by a couple of their friends? So I decided to get Kid 2 to design it, draw it and record the sounds, and for us all to treat it as if we were professional game developers – to see where it could take us.