One of the many benefits of home education is that your child can learn in the way that most benefits them. It’s not a “one size fits all”. Some children need hands-on activities to help them understand a concept, while others might learn better through visual or audio material.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized I learn better and retain information by reading it, not hearing it. In high school, if a teacher gave a lecture, my mind wandered, but if I read the material, I stayed more focused.
I’m homeschooling children #4 and #5 right now and one of the ways they learn best is through games (board games, video games, etc.), visual material, and experimenting on their own. At seven and eight years old, my son and daughter enjoy learning because they’re doing it in a way that makes the most sense to them. In this post, we’re going to focus on using games as a learning tool, better known as gameschooling.
Educational Games For Homeschoolers
According to an article on the Harvard Graduate School of Education website;
“Parents and educators need to be able to navigate a tremendous amount of content and options when selecting games that will engage children in authentic learning. While not an exhaustive list, Rosenheck notes that good games will:
- Give players agency or choice in the way they play or their goals in the game.
- Spark curiosity, making players ask more questions and wonder how things work.
- Provide “hard fun” — an appropriate level of challenge that is engaging and satisfying”.
And, according to the Early Intervention Research Group at Northwestern University;
“The researchers found that video games and apps that were interactive and educational had a positive effect on children’s brain development. However, violent and exclusively entertaining media had a negative effect on children’s brain development.
One study showed that educational games can help preschoolers learn coding, literacy, and math skills. Another study focused on characters in educational games showed that creating a strong bond with an in-game character can improve the child’s learning. A study that looked at games that involved movement and exercise, called “exergames,” found that the games can help improve children’s decision-making and overall main functions of the brain”.
Video games have come a long way since I started homeschooling in 2004. I remember my daughter (now 25 years old) playing The Oregon Trail on CD with our clunky desktop computer. Times have changed since then, and so have video games.
There are many video game options so we’ll just focus on a few that we (and other homeschoolers in our local group have tried) but tell us in the comment section what video games you use in your homeschooling.
Best Educational Games For Homeschoolers
Plays.org is a free, browser-based treasure trove of video games! There are no ads and they have many different categories. We’ve been using their science and math games for about a month and both of my kids enjoy it and have learned a lot!
My daughter wanted to know more about cells and the first game that showed up when I searched ‘educational’ was Doc Duck: Cells and Life which helped her understand the role cells play in our body.
My seven-year-old son likes playing Sesame Street The Hungry Games. He has some fine motor skill issues (same as my oldest son) so this game is good practice for him to use the mouse and keypad.
2. IXL.com – Another homeschooling mom in our local group said her two boys, ages 8 and 10, enjoy the online IXL.com curriculum games. We haven’t tried the games on there so please comment below and let us know if you’re kids have benefitted from them.
3. A popular one among homeschoolers is Teach Your Monster To Read. We tried this about a year ago but stopped for whatever reason. Maybe we’ll give it another try this homeschooling year.
4. Another homeschool mom shared that her daughter uses Prodigy Math for her 11-year-old. She said, “She’s been playing it since she was in 3rd grade. It’s like a game but math-based. She loves it”.
Please share your educational games for homeschoolers in the comment section below. Also, if you provide educational games, feel free to leave a link in a comment so we can check it.