Games

Many homeschool parents know that games are not only fun, but that they are also a great learning tool. We played games almost daily when my children were young. They loved playing Husker Du?, Chutes and Ladders, hide and seek, marbles or games that they had invented themselves.

When we purchased our first computer, they discovered other lands and historical figures via games like Marioa[euro](TM)s Missing.

Of course that was just the beginning of a whole new world of gaming that they still enjoy a great deal, but we also enjoy our good old fashioned card, board or word games that allow us to relax and spend time with friends and family in todaya[euro](TM)s fast-paced world.

Here are some game resources and articles to explore.

Articles

Revelations of a Homeschooling Mom – Carol Wanagel

REVELATION #6: The pursuit of any one interest will result in a complete education.

A major portion of my kids’ education began with an interest in video games. Ten years ago, for entertainment only, we got an Atari computer and PacMan game cartridge. The system incidentally came with an operating manual and a book on programming. I didn’t know how to set the thing up but the kids figured it out in short order. Before long I heard them whispering things to each other like, “Wouldn’t it be neat to break into this program and give ourselves more power?” Soon they were looking into other computer systems and more challenging games.

Getting It Down – Ways to Encourage Reluctant Writer – Sue Smith Heavenrich

If only writing were a dice game… That’s it! I thought. A game of chance.

When we gathered, I had three sheets of paper. At the top of one I wrote “The Setting”. I numbered down six lines, and filled in six different settings: a forest, a school, a pirate ship, a castle, the ocean, and a cave. Another paper was titled, “Your Character”. On this sheet I listed: an enchanted frog, a cowardly dragon, a giant, a clever spider, a boy, an inventor. On a third paper I wrote “The Problem” and listed six topics: hunting for lost treasure, stopping aliens from invading the earth, losing a favorite object, getting stuck in quicksand, overcoming magic, and getting lost in a storm.

“We’re going to roll stories by chance,” I explained. “The cast of your die will determine who your character is, as well as the setting and problem. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to use our wits to solve the problem…. and do it by writing.”

MATH… and Other Tales of Horror – Leslie Wilson

On and off over the years we’ve resurrected the Wonder Numbers Game, each time playing a different variation of our own. We especially enjoy imagining the board is the land of Mathematica, where interesting things can happen in different locations: side activities tied to certain squares, prime number “cities” where you draw a word problem card worth bonus points or a prize. We sometimes use felt numbers or bear counters or Cuisenaire Rods to collect as prizes. They are added up at the end of the game, or certain ones multiplied, subtracted, divided to find out the winner. Infinite variations are possible.

A Gift of Time – Sue Smith-Heavenrich

By homeschooling, you give them the gift of time to discover ideas. If you let children play around with blocks and puzzles and balances, they will discover math. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t refer to LEGO® or DUPLO® blocks by counting the knobs on top. My children learned to call blocks by shape names so they could discuss castle architecture. They used counting frames to keep score in card games, and loved weighing things on the kitchen scale. When they discovered what rulers and tape measures were for, they went around the house measuring. How long is a shoe? How big are daddy’s ears?

How’s School Going? – Mary Kenyon

Rainy days and cold winter house bound days ensured time for math worksheets, science videos, phonics lessons, and educational games. As Beth advanced in school she chose to use textbooks for more of her learning. Her writing flourished as she wrote and edited a bimonthly newsletter for girls her age.

Resources

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