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One of the coolest things about homeschooling is you can pretty much set it up how you want.
Yes, there are standards to meet and such, but really, in a day, who says your homeschool has to run in a certain way?
That’s one of the things that I love about homeschooling, and that never ceases to amaze me. There really are as many ways to homeschool as there are families.
What does your family need? How do your children learn best? What really inspires them?
What makes YOU happy as a mom running your homeschool?
I used to use games a lot in my homeschool when my kids were younger. We LOVED it! And my kids and I totally benefited from it. But for some reason, we kind of got away from using games as they got older.
I recently joined a Facebook group that’s all about using games in your homeschool and I simply lurked on the group for a while, just trying to catch the gist of things. Then one day I began to wonder what made these ladies so passionate about using games in their homeschool – So, I asked them!
Wow! I couldn’t believe the depth and breadth of responses I got! And I have to tell you, just lurking on that facebook group and reading the responses from these awesome ladies totally rekindled a desire in me to want to use more games in our homeschool! And to let myself accept and remember that kids learn at a whole different level through games. I love it!
I thought I’d share with you the question I asked these ladies and the responses that were given:
Hi everyone. I am new to this group and I’ve been lurking for a few weeks enjoying everyone’s posts. You guys are awesome! I have a question for you. I would love to know why you feel using games in your homeschool and with your family is beneficial. Both academically and in other ways such as strengthening a child’s character, habits, and how it strengthens your family. And any other reason you may have.
I used to use games quite a lot with my kids when they were younger but I’ve kind of gotten away from it and I’d like to rekindle my heart to the idea.
And their amazing responses:
Janette: My son has grown so much in his ability to be a good sport (most of the time) my kids can now focus on things longer, take turns, think logically and strategically (ya ok sometimes times they out wit me ) and we smile more. We also get dad to play and an unplanned “family” time happens. Sometimes we rope others in too. Like unsociable cousins (homeschooling also).
Cheri: We were gamers first, then homeschoolers. We have always played games with our kids, starting with littles on our laps “helping.” There is nothing, truly nothing else, that brings us together across generations as well as games. From grandparents to teens to littles, we can connect over shared gameplay. Even if that was all we get from games, we would be playing a lot just for this.
Character & habits. . .practice losing/winning gracefully, handling disappointment, planning ahead, flexibility when plans are derailed (those last two are HUGE for 2 of my inflexible kids). Communication & teamwork with team/cooperative games. Compromise & negotiation, both in-game & simply choosing what game/when to play. All in a quick, repeatable, non-threatening, play-based manner. Entertainment without a screen. Creativity, also both in-game, but in making up house rules, combining games, making their own games.
Academically. . . If you’re familiar with the idea of strewing (providing inviting material in an appealing manner to grab interest & attention), games are a great way to introduce a concept without books & workbooks. Want to learn about Ancient Egypt? Play a game of Mummy Rummy. Introduce anatomy? How about Organ Attack. Adding fractions? Fraction Formula. You can also use games to reinforce concepts they’ve been studying. Or as tie-ins to great literature. Throw a new game, a book, and maybe a project out on the table & you have an instant unit study. It’s really hard to find a subject that can’t be at least tangentially covered with a game. And learning through play is so much easier (on the homeschooling parent, too) & less likely to create resistance in kids who don’t like worksheets.
Bryony: We don’t homeschool anymore (we have in past), but we use games specifically to help our ADD/SPD son with issues such as the need for extra stimulation and novelty, various executive functions, emotional regulation and as a wonderful way to be together as a family/ one on one time.
Elizabeth: I use games to help my kids encounter difficult concepts from history like how government works (Constitution Quest, Founding Fathers, 1960: Making of a President) what it feels like to be in the trenches in WWI, what hard decisions the Civil War leaders had to make (Clash Of Wills), what it felt like to work with the underground railroad (Freedom: The Underground Railroad).
I also use it for reviewing or introducing history (like Timeline, Way Back In History, etc). I use it to reinforce math, spelling, logic, creativity concepts. And for team building (co-ops), good sportsmanship, and family building. I plan next year to use games to introduce science concepts. This year we played through history, studying a time period and then playing a game set in that time.
Tracie: I have just recently been looking to add games to our homeschool experience because of our educational therapist. She has introduced my kids to so many games that reinforce what they are doing in their therapy sessions, especially for my daughter with dyscalculia. She says she hates school, so learning with games is really helpful for us.
We use games such as Double Shutter, 24 Game (lots of different kinds, the one my daughter did was addition, subtraction, multiplication, & divide), any game from Muggins Math– she LOVED Knock Out, and she uses the Games from Right Start Math. You can buy the Games book and supplies separate from the curriculum. I know there are more, we just haven’t played them with her yet. Oh, she also does other games like Q-bitz, Blink, Slamwhich, Exploding Kittens, etc. for fun and building relationships with the kids. And, I think she just loves games!
I also want to bring our family a little closer together. My kids are growing into adolescence, and I feel them pulling away. I know that is normal to a degree, but I want to make sure we stay close.
Wow! Such amazing insights! Thank you, ladies, for being willing to let me share your thoughts here! I’ve been totally inspired to use more games in my homeschool!
I’m sure there are many more awesome reasons and benefits for using games in your homeschool…
What benefits have you seen from using games in your family? Please share!
***I was so enamored by all the great benefits these ladies shared with me that I decided I wanted to add more games to my homeschool! So I reached out to some homeschool friends and asked them what their favorite games for teens were, and they gave me an amazing list! We’re so excited to try some out!
- Great Games for Teens
- Why your Homeschooled Teen Needs a Co-op
- What to do When Your Homeschooled Teen Hits a Roadblock in Their Education
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Mary Ann Johnson says
Myra this is a great post. Games are a wonderful way to cement family relationships and to spice up learning. Loved all of the amazing comments. I haven’t been homeschooling now for many years but as a family connection expert, I concur with the whole idea of games for learning and family connections.
Thank you MaryAnn! Yes! I totally agree with everything you’ve said. Including the fact that you are a family connection expert. 🙂 Thanks so much!