If you take a homeschool mom to the library,
she’ll pick out an audiobook for her kids.
When she goes home, she’ll scour the internet for resources to go with the book.
When she finds a really fantastic unit study for only $5.00, she’ll have to get it.
As she looks over the unit study, she will realize how detailed it is.
She’ll wonder if the kids might just need a copy of the book so they can reread it.
You will find her on amazon.com before you know it, downloading a copy of the book she got for free at the library.
“But it’s only $6.99!”
After she downloads the audiobook, she realizes she is out of ink and can not print the unit study.
So she goes to Target, just for some ink, of course.
After she finds the ink, she remembers she needs paper.
She walks to the office supply section to get the paper.
She grabs it, but then she sees file folders.
And of course she needs file folders.
Near the file folders, she sees markers.
The markers are on sale. She can always use markers.
By the time she leaves Target, she’s spent $54.
Her kids LOVE the book and the unit study, so of course she has to plan a corresponding a field trip.
On the field trip, her kids notice the gift shop, filled with educational toys.
She just can’t resist.
Once, home, she realizes that she has to take the audiobook back to the library.
And chances are, if you take a homeschool mom to the library,
she’s going to want an audiobook for her kids.
*Inspired by If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
I know that this is not a popular opinion in some homeschool circles, but I think video games can be magnificent educational tools. Now, as the wife of a video game FX artist, I might be a bit biased, but I really think that people are too quick to brush off games as a waste of time. Can they be a gigantic time suck? Absolutely! Are there some games out there that I would not let my kids play? Of course! But there are so many great games out there these days and I think our kids can learn a lot from them.
So, in honor of National Video Game Day, here’s a list of 5 reasons my family loves to use games in our homeschool.
Reaon One: Games Can Bring Learning to Life
My husband recently brought home an Oculus VR headset. It’s amazing! Oculus has partnered with Discovery to provide some amazing 3D experiences. I may not be able (or willing) to take my kids on an underwater field trip with sharks, but thanks to Oculus and Discovery, they feel like they’ve had amazing undersea adventures. Their 3D shark experience inspired a lot of questions and further learning.
There are plenty of games on PC, tablets, and consoles that also provide ways to bring learning to life in a variety of ways. My kids love the Dragonbox apps for math. It’s a great way to make math real for visual learners. Scribblenauts is a great vocabulary based puzzle game. There are examples in just about any area of study. For a lot of kids, games are a fun way to make learning real.
Reason Two: Games Can be Great for Critical Thinking and Spatial Reasoning Skills
Even when a game is not outwardly educational, it can help improve critical thinking skills. Studies have shown as much. While I am not advocating for kids to skip math lessons so that they can play games all day, some time playing age-appropriate games could actually be good for them!
“Visual-spatial skills are viewed by psychologists and educators as the ‘training wheels’ of later skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and there is little question that we will need more and more workers with skills in these areas.” (Linda Jackson, lead researcher of a study from Michigan State on kids playing video games.)
Reason Three: Games Can Inspire Creativity
If you know more than a handful of kids over the age of five, you’ve probably heard of Minecraft. In Minecraft, you can build the world around you. My son has used it to build historic sites we’ve studied- or just his own made up worlds Studies have shown that kids who play games are more creative, and it’s easy to see why.
Reason Four: Teamwork
When my kids play a game together, they have to get along. It’s a great way for them to learn to work together towards a common goal.
Reason Five: It Makes My Life Easier
This reason may be selfish, but let’s face it, life is hard for moms who homeschool kids of multiple ages. It can be very hard to get one on one time with one of my kids when they need my help. I can keep a kid busy with an educational game and it frees me up to work with their sibling. That’s a win-win in my book.
We don’t spend all day every day playing games, and I am very picky about what I let my kids play, but video games are a tool I am happy to have in my homeschool. What about you? How do you feel about video games?