Updated: May 12
So, what is gameschooling? It is pretty simple. It is taking games and using them with intentionality to teach your kids. That was quick and easy, wasn’t it? Now, we can get into the why of gameschooling. There are many amazing reasons for teaching in this way. They are all very linked together, but I will break them up for you into bite sized portions.
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Games give you the opportunity to simulate a concept or topic in a way they couldn’t experience otherwise. For example, you can learn about terraforming a planet, but you can’t really do it. However, if you play Terraforming Mars, you can simulate the experience. Experiential learning cements information into a person's mind in a way that book learning cannot do. It gives the learner a practical purpose for the information.
Abstract Concepts into Concrete
Board games can turn abstract concepts that are being learned into more concrete ideas. It helps student to better understand material that would otherwise seem distant or unrelatable. Games can aid the learning of mathematical concepts, coding, business, marketing, critical thinking, creativity, communication, and so much more. Going back to the last point, it allows learners to experience the abstract concept and apply it.
Relation to Material
Subjects from other times and places can sometimes be hard to relate to. How do they affect my life now? Games covering these topics bring those times and places to the present and allows the players to experience them in a different way. Games can take what seems inapplicable and gives it an application.
Drive to Learn More
Games bring interest and interest goes a long was in developing a desire to learn more. You don’t have to push hard for continued learning, because there is a desire to learn more about what has been experienced first hand through game play. A great game experience has a high chance of leading to further research and more relaxed learning.
Games reinforce the learning that is taking place in your school day. Your kids read a book, do a project, watch a documentary, and then pull it all together with a game. Utilizing a variety of forms of learning along with the repetition of information throughout each method lead to greater retention of what is learned. To memorize information and then immediately forget it is truly a waste of time on the part of the student and the teacher.
Build Problem Solving Skills
Getting your kids to think out of the box while problem solving can be hard. Games build creativity in problem solving. They must use trial and error to get the best outcome and be successful in the game. This leads directly into the next point.
Learn from Mistakes
When kids feel like there is a possibility of failure, they can sometimes freeze up. Games help them practice making mistakes in a positive way. The game is only so long, and they can make loads of mistakes, without real life consequences. When it is over, they can see what will work better next time. They get to practice learning from mistakes in a safe environment instead of feeling disabled by them.
Some kids fight the whole learning process. They don’t want to engage and are very negative about it. Bringing out a game can help them to enjoy the process of learning more. It may even spark that drive to learn more as I mentioned up above.
There are so many ways to gameschool! Some people use games as the curriculum itself and some use games to supplement and reinforce their more structured school day. We are somewhere in the middle. If you want to learn more about how to use games to teach, take a look at this post. Do you use games for school? Leave a comment and let us know your favorites and how you use them.
While you could spend a small fortune on board games, we know and have, you can also gameschool on a budget. You can find all of our budget gaming posts here.