Our natural process of learning together as a family produces an interesting pattern of accidental unit studies.
Right now, we are smack in the middle of a games unit study. Games fill our days. Well, if I think about it, games have been a large part of our life since the day my hubby and I got together. In fact, it was one of the things that drew us to each other. When the kids came along, they got sucked up into our world of playing lots of games. So it’s a natural fit for us to teach our children through games. We enjoy them. They enjoy them. And it’s a good way to touch on pretty much everyone’s interests and strengths.
Right now, by far our favorite game is Pokemon, TCG. We all play. The game appeals to my love of strategy and manipulating the rules to my advantage, it appeals to my husband’s love of collecting things and counting on his natural luck, it appeals to my son’s love of numbers, puzzles and trying to understand how things work, it appeals to my 6 year old daughter’s love of all things cute and doing things her own way, and finally it appeals to my youngest’s love of make believe and stuffed animals.
One game that has something for everyone. Wow.
Another game we picked up at our state-wide homeschooling convention this week was Dork Tower, a gentle satire of the game Dark Tower that came out in 1981. The kids and I have fallen in love with the game – again all for different reasons. Hubby’s not too into this game. But he plays with us cuz he loves us. 🙂
The interesting thing about these games is how much the kids learn that I would normally consider to be over their heads. For example, Allison, at 6, is learning about negative numbers, predicting and statistics, and memorizing large amounts of data. All because of Dork Tower and Pokemon.
Now, what I’m thinking, is that these games tap into her natural ability to do these things. Because before playing these games, there was really nothing that she clung to like her older brother did so early on with phonics and puzzles. It wasn’t until we introduced her to these strategy games with lots of cute monster and character data that she exhibited such enthusiasm. With Cameron, we got lucky that his learning style and interests manifested themselves in things that can be learned early. While Allison’s learning style and interests didn’t get a chance to express themselves until she was older and was able to understand more subtle and complex processes.
Games have been a wonderful tool for drawing out the best in our kids, my hubby and me. In fact, my husband and I just started playing a new game called Spoils, that is intended for the teen crowd and older. It’s a card game, much like Pokemon, but with adult humor and more sophisticated gameplay. Which shows us that no matter how old the kids get, there are games to incorporate in our learning.
One of the very first talks I heard about homeschooling included a short list of games recommended for each grade level. The speaker briefly mentioned that it could be used as a homeschooling curriculum, before moving on to something else. But that really stuck with me. She was right. Games could definitely work as a means to teach/learn pretty much everything. And since we have so much freedom to learn together as a family, in a house full of people who love to play games anyway, it didn’t take much of a leap for me to accept games as a legitimate way to stimulate brain growth.
Which games do you like to play? What have you been playing recently?