Did you know that “Game-Schooling” is actually a thing? It is!
Our school is Travel and Literature-based, but we are not traveling (at all) right now which means we need to shift our focus to something else. This year, we are incorporating more games than ever to fill the travel void. The presence of games, intermingled with our regular course work is already having a positive impact on our homeschool vibe. Even though our kids are in High School now, we are building on our family culture of ‘play’ that we had lost sight of.
Who has time for games during school? Well, this is a solid question. I used to think we did not have time for extra things, like games. In fact, I always wanted to play more, but rarely found time especially as High School courses become more and more demanding. But through game-playing with my teens, I understand now that games actually serve a valuable academic and emotional purpose.
Games encourage problem solving, creative thinking and can be manipulated to supplement a lesson. Games teach kids (and some adults!) how to win and lose gracefully. Games increase ever-important social and non-verbal communication skills. Games usually have a math-component which is sneaking in extra practice while playing. Games promote collaboration and team play. Games give us cause to laugh and are a great way to warm up our brains first thing in the morning. Games can be relaxing and are helpful in breaking up a boring, monotonous school day.
Below are some guilt-free games that I am incorporating into our school days at random:
Absolute Zero – a fun card game to get our math minds warmed up and ready for whatever comes. Add, Subtract, Multiply, Divide integers for the win!
Nato-Span Battleship – *This is our version of battleship where the only language allowed is a combination of Spanish and the Nato Phonetic alphabet. (ie: “Alpha Uno” for A1, “Charlie Siete” for C7 or “Hotel Cinco” for H4, etc). Yes, it’s Battleship for super-nerds.
Uno – always a favorite especially when traveling to other countries. Kids everywhere know UNO regardless of the language spoken.
Spoons, Solitaire, War with regular decks of cards. War is also fun using the Absolute Zero deck.
TENZI – A super fun game especially with lots of players (requiring extra packs as there are only 4 players to a set). Benefits are subitizing, comparison, addition, probability.
Ticket to Ride – Just started this game this year IN HIGH SCHOOL… no game is off-limits for us, so long as it uses brainpower to play. In this case, Ticket to Ride promotes spatial reasoning and strategy.
Backgammon, Chess, Chinese Checkers/Checkers – Oh-ya, great strategy games.
Yahtzee, PrimeClimb – Great for mastering times tables, practicing math facts. Let the kids do all the math.
Life, Monopoly, Great States – Business, finance, math, life (always, a kiddo or teen must be the banker) … plus geography and social studies
Memory, BINGO – Again, using Nato-Phonetic alphabet/Spanish combo above which adds another layer of challenge. We also play other forms, like “Spanish Verb Memory” or “Pronoun Bingo.”
Banana-grams, Scrabble, Word Search, Hangman, Boggle, Story Cubes – all great for creative thinking, spelling, grammar and vocabulary.
Rummikub, Sequence – Great games of strategy!
Backgammon is probably our most-played game; we collect beautiful and unusual sets.
Most important of all, playing games means spending relaxed, alert time with our kids, and creating a sense of balance while they learn.
Happy playing ~ !
1. Subitize is the ability to tell the number of objects in a set, quickly, without counting.
2. There are no affiliate links here; I do not earn money making these game suggestions. Who has time for that? (I’d rather be playing Yatzee)
3. For a link to a fellow homeschool mom’s list of MATH games: maryhannawilson
4. Lots of GameSchool Resources here with master game-schooler Cait: my-little-poppies.com/gameschooling
5. Want to incorporate more games in your homeschool? Send me an email, I have game ideas for nearly any subject 😉 email@example.com