3 Awesome Benefits of Gameschooling ~
Written by Cait Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies
Christmas week is upon us and I don’t know about you, but I am excited to set homeschool routines aside and gameschool our way into 2021!
Gameschooling can change the entire atmosphere of your homeschool, plus it offers a host of academic and non-academic benefits. If you’ve ever considered adding more board games to your homeschool day, now is the perfect time to test it out.
Today, I am sharing three benefits of gameschooling.
3 Awesome Benefits of Gameschooling in Your Homeschool
Gameschooling Benefit #1: Games Boost Academic Skills
There are amazing educational games on the market today. You can find a game for any academic subject, but you truly don’t need an overflowing game shelf to get started with gameschooling. All you need is a few basics and a playful mindset.
And, trust me, gameschooling can transform your homeschool routine and family life for the better. When you sit down to play a game with your children, you can work on academic skills. Gameschooling offers kids a chance to learn new skills, to practice old ones, to fail, to succeed, and to try again.
Games don’t judge. They aren’t threatening. Games don’t assign homework. They don’t correct. Games offer a safe space for learning. Gameschooling is stealth learning at its best.
As a school psychologist and homeschool mom, I have witnessed incredible learning happen through gameschooling. I have countless stories of how gameschooling has helped to boost my children’s academic skills.
I could tell you about the time my daughter was struggling to understand coin identification… until I dusted off the game Money Bags (afflink) and sat down to play with her.
Suddenly, a concept that was intimidating was fun. Within the span of a week, she and her younger brother had mastered coin identification and learned how to make change.
I could tell you the story of a quirky card game called GUBS and how this little game taught my youngest how to read. He had been on the cusp of cracking the code until the card game crossed his path. He fell head-over-heels in love with the game and its characters.
Because he couldn’t read independently, he had to play on my team. He desperately wanted to play independently. He was tired of being on my team. In a matter of a month or two, he accomplished his goal.
He could play GUBS without assistance. He could read all the cards… and the cards are loaded with unfamiliar and imaginary words. Soon, he read Fantastic Mr. Fox all by himself. GUBS made him a reader.
I could tell you how my boys have been playing Memoir ’44 together every week since last Christmas. This game has fueled countless WWII-related rabbit holes. They have each read several WWII books. My husband and I will often overhear them chatting about WWII battles together. I love that they share this interest and connection.
But gameschooling doesn’t just work those academic skills. Playing board games with our children can work on countless soft skills, too!
Gameschooling Benefit #2: Games Help to Grow Social Skills
Social skills are those skills we need to communicate and interact with one another, both verbally and nonverbally. Social skills involve communication, listening, empathy, conflict resolution. These skills help us to build and maintain important relationships, both personal and professional.
Do you want to help your child to be an effective communicator? Would you like your child to learn conflict resolution skills? Do you want your child to flex those empathy muscles? Would you like to teach your child to be a team player? Do you want your children to win- and lose- with grace?
Well, guess what? Gameschooling is the perfect way to work on those all-important social skills. Every single time you sit down to play with your child, you are building those skills.
And let’s be honest here–gameschooling can be downright ugly at times. It can be riddled with siblings squabbles, board flipping, cheating accusations, and tears. Just remember that children aren’t born knowing how to play games, to work together, and to lose gracefully.
Just as we need to be patient with our children’s reading development, we must be patient with our gameschooling.
If gameschooling is super painful for you right now, I want to tell you it gets better. I’m reminded of that each time I see my boys lost in Memoir ’44 together or when my daughter asks me if I’m up for one more round of Gobblet.
When my kids were teeny-tinies, we played a ton of cooperative games. Why? Because cooperative games helped my ultra-competitive guy learn to work on a team. It also showed him that the act of playing a game is fun and that it’s not all about winning.
Cooperative games also helped my daughter grow in confidence. Before introducing cooperative games, she would shy away from playing with us because she was put off by her brother’s competitive nature.
Gameschooling Benefit #3: Games Can Boost Connection
When I worked as a school psychologist, I used games to connect with students. This worked especially well with tweens and teens. They could chat with me but avoid eye contact and they had something to do with their hands. Before they knew it, we were having fun and growing an important connection.
The same holds for gameschooling. This has been a super-stressful year. Gameschooling has helped our family immensely. When you sit down to play a game together, you are connecting, making memories, and having fun.
Playing silly games has been especially important for our family this year. Laughter really is the best medicine!
We have played countless rounds of Beat That! and Throw Throw Burrito. In fact, we have played Throw Throw Burrito so many times that one of our burritos no longer has eyeballs! I am 100% confident that I’ll never look back at our homeschooling and regret playing silly games with my children.
Gameschooling has tons of academic and non-academic benefits, but you’re also making memories to last a lifetime. The benefits of gameschooling can change the entire atmosphere of your homeschool and family life. You’re building a family atmosphere of play and joy. You’re building a home they’ll want to come home to!
By adding gameschooling to your routine, homeschooling can be almost all fun and games.
I truly, wholeheartedly believe that homeschooling can be almost all fun and games. Children are born to learn and play is their love language. When we relax and let our children pursue delight, amazing learning can happen.
It’s important to note that a game doesn’t need to be Educational-with-a-capital-E for it to teach your children new skills. Remember my GUBS story? That quirky card game is not a reading game.
It was simply a game that my son loved and wanted to play it over and over again. This delight and repetition grew his reading skills.
Add more play to your homeschool with Gameschooling 101
Gameschooling is the intersection of play and learning. It’s a way to grow skills in a stealth way while boosting family connection and making memories to last a lifetime.
By adding gameschooling to your homeschool routine, you’ll be able to:
- Teach your children academic and non-academic skills.
- Help your children to problem solve, think creatively, and think outside the box- something our kids need now more than ever!
- Build a family culture of play and joyful curiosity.
- Grow those all-important social and communication skills.
- Quit trying to find the perfect homeschool tools and embrace the now, building memories with your children.
- Stop worrying at 3 am and start enjoying your family’s homeschool journey.
If you’d like to add gameschooling to your homeschool day in 2021, I’d love to help you. I have created a course called Gameschooling 101: How to Add More Play to Your Homeschool Day.
I poured my game-lovin’ heart and soul into this course because I truly believe we could all be having a lot more fun while homeschooling.
Gameschooling 101 will teach you all the benefits of gameschooling, how to gameschool with basics, and how to document your gameschooling for those year-end Homeschool Powers that Be.
I want you to homeschool with confidence, knowing you’re raising curious, joyful, lifelong learners who will be ready for anything life throws at them–even a year as weird as 2020!
It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2020, which was arguably the weirdest and most stressful year ever. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to hunker down for the next two weeks and gameschool our way into 2021!
In honor of 2021, I’d like to offer the Simple Homeschool community a discount on the course. Use the promo code SH21 to get 21% off Gameschooling 101 from now through January 31, 2021. Join me and have more fun in your homeschool tomorrow!
Tell us: Are you a gameschool family? Share your family’s favorite gameschool moments with us!
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