While homeschooling my daughter, one of my favorite, FAVORITE perks of homeschooling was playing games. My daughter probably thought she was getting away with murder; however, I totally fooled her! Come closer and I’ll tell you why…. Are you listening?
Children learn from playing games! Really. They do.
I remember that homeschooling parents used to say to me, they would love to play games more, but it is so hard to squeeze it into an already busy day. I looked at these parents like they were CRAZY. Playing games taught my daughter all different types of unique facts that would send her directly to do additional reading and research. No joke. And no – I am not fooling you!
Games provide opportunities to introduce concepts to your children.
Games provide opportunities to reinforce skills.
Games provide opportunities to build confidence.
Games do not judge. They do not have “red marks” or give out homework.
The truth of the matter is that many of us grew up with workbooks, homework and drill and kill. Much of our learning was not fun. And as a result, playing a game during the day can feel like we are cheating the system – like there is no way this can count as homeschooling. With that said, it is important to begin to think of game playing as part of your curriculum. The climate of your homeschooling will GREATLY improve with game playing. Everyone will laugh. Everyone will create memories.
Board games help children develop:
- Verbal skills
- Turn Taking
- Learning to lose and win with grace
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
There is a game for every subject. Spelling. Geography. Coding. Science. You name the topic – there is a game! What is the added benefit, is that I can guarantee you will have fewer power struggles when you put the workbook away and pull out that board game.
There is no correct or incorrect way to schedule “gameschooling”. Some families will play all day and never crack open a textbook while others will devote one afternoon a week to playing games.
- Add a game to your morning routine
- Play a game after dinner
- Choose a day or evening to play each weekend
- “Gameschool” over homeschool vacations and summer break
- Have your children use one-player games for a quiet afternoon
The most important aspect is to be consistent. Set a reasonable goal and stick to it.
Keep a Record because it counts!
You might be asking yourself, but how do you record all that play? Does it really count as academic?
Here are a few ideas:
- Take photos to include in your homeschooling portfolio
- Make a game list just as you would a book list. Include the skills each game covers.
- Set up a “gameschooling” group with your homeschooling friends and track your meetups.
- Post your games to Instagram, your homeschooling blog or your personal Facebook page and use a consistent hashtag.
So – where do I start? What games are great?
Here is a short list of amazing games. And – you can buy them for birthdays, winter holidays or as part of your “homeschooling materials” budget.
- Apples to Apples
- Rummy Roots
- Tall Tales
- Mad Libs
- Cartoon It
- Super Sleuth
History, Geography, Social Studies
- Take off
- 10 Days…. Europe, Asia, USA, Africa
- Quick Pix
- Professor Noggin’s Card Games
- Made for Trade
- Settlers of Catan
- The Scrambled States of America
- World Monuments
- History of the World
- The Civil War
- Seven Wonders
- Axis and Allies
- Professor Noggin’s Card Games
- Totally Gross
- Science Explosion
- Hit the Habitat Trail
- Robot Turtles
- Code Master
- Code on the Brink
- Dr. Microbe
- Herd your Horses
- Dr. Beaker
- Phase 10
- Five Crowns
- Sums in Space
- Pay Day
- Math Explosion
- Money Matters for Kids
Logic and Critical Thinking
- Forbidden Island
Homeschooling has its challenges. It isn’t always easy. But, in our family’s house, our best homeschooling days included board games. Make memories. Have fun. Learn!
Eva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.