In this post, we look at what Gameschooling is and how it is used by homeschoolers to educate.
According to numerous studies, children, and adults, learn best when they have fun, rather than when they feel obligated to learn. When children study through games, they create long-lasting, personal memories of the lessons, and they are inspired to learn more. Therefore, it is imperative to include games in curricula as a learning resource for children learning from home.
Your aim, when you decide to homeschool, is to ensure your child enjoys the experience while also ensuring they don’t lag in their curriculum. The most important aspect of homeschooling is to ensure your child learns in a joyful and free atmosphere. It eradicates the unnecessary need for competition, and as a parent, you ensure your child learns only what they need to prosper in life. In our attempts to eradicate inequality and intolerance within the society, opting to homeschool a child, especially black children, rescues them from learning and experiencing systematic racism enabled by the British national curricula.
What is Gameschooling?
Game schooling is a concept that allows you to incorporate table games and other games in a child’s learning. When you use games to teach a curriculum, you ease the pressure on a child to master workbooks and, instead, introduce a fun and simple way to learn as they play and create.
The field of game schooling is extensive; there are table games for children of all ages and all subjects. In homeschooling, teaching is guided by the child’s pace, teaching them what they need and can understand at that time. As they are a vital part of a child’s development physically and cognitively, games make learning more comfortable and enjoyable for the student and teacher. Game schooling is a concept that encourages continuous learning, eradicates learning pressure, enhances creativity, and leaves space for children to make mistakes, fail, and improve.
As a learning resource, you help your child feed their curiosity by playing with them and cheering them on. When you teach through play, you establish a life-long learning culture, bond with the child, and understand their educational needs better.
When children learn through games, they fully immerse their minds into the lesson as they find ways to win a game. Games help build focus and concentration better than when children come under pressure to understand a study they sometimes don’t relate with. Learning games develop critical thinking, following directions, strategic planning, and problem-solving disciplines in young children.
As a homeschooler, what aspects of game schooling should inform your decision to incorporate it into your child’s curriculum? How do you decide which games, when, and how to use them in learning?
How to incorporate gameschooling into a homeschool curriculum
The biggest hurdle for homeschooling parents and teachers is how to incorporate relevant games in learning. The first thing to do, though, is to create a flexible homeschooling plan for your child. To do so, consider the reasons that drove you to choose homeschool over traditional schooling. These reasons will guide you in structuring a schooling plan, one that is easy for your child to follow and inspires them to learn with fluidity.
To incorporate game schooling, consider what type of curriculum you are following. If you follow the traditional school curriculum at home, you will find games that align with it. If you observe an unschooling learning system that seeks to correct mainstream curricula, discover and create games that align with it. Suppose you are following an Afrocentric curriculum for your black child, research traditional African games, and other new games designed to empower the black child.
Once you have an idea about the games to play with your child, consider when to play them in learning. In many cases, parents and teachers play certain games before or after covering lessons. This method is used to help the child relate to and understand the topic on a personal level. In other instances, you might play the game before covering a lesson to prepare your child for it. It is ultimately up to you to decide when to play a game with a child as it relates and contributes to their learning.
It is essential to pick games appropriate for your child’s age, interests and current events, how much time you allocate for each playing session, and who will play with the child to make it more fun.
One example that is appropriate for us to play with children this year is Pandemic. This game will help them understand the current challenges facing the world due to Covid-19. You can also use it to cover historical coronavirus and study how they come about and how they can be prevented etc. Additionally, if you are actively incorporating Afrocentric themes into your homeschooling schedule you could use the Pandemic game to segue into a geography lesson, looking at Africa first.
Teaching Finance Through Gameschooling
Finance is another great subject to teach via games. Finance can be complicated, even for adults and there are many terms and concepts to learn. Gameschooling could be the thing that makes it stick.
When we think of finance board games we tend to think of the classic games, such as Monopoly. Monopoly is great but there are even more games geared towards teaching children about finance.
Rich Dad CashFlow is the Michael Jackson of Gameschooling 😄, seriously. I would barely even class this as a game, it is not your typical board game. It is a seriously powerful resource and anybody who has read Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!‘ or ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens: The Secrets about Money–That You Don’t Learn in School!’ would understand why. If not, check those links out – they are must-reads!
You and your children can explore practical and real-world investing with play money – similar to how you would with Monopoly. It teaches about accounting, finance, and investing at the same time, all the while being a fun and engaging game for the entire family.
This board game teaches children the value of money. It allows them to set their own prices for items and sell them. They learn more as they make their way around the board. This is great to teach the concept of money, value and perceived value at the same time. It is also a great math game and comes with toy money and a calculator. Of course, you could always make it more realistic by using real money 😉
One thing to note is that this only comes with US currency. If you are in the UK you can grab a cheap set of play GBP notes and coins here. Likewise, for anywhere else in the world, as it doesn’t affect gameplay in any way.
Money Bags Coin Value Game is an excellent board game for teaching children the value of money. This one features British (GBP) realistic plastic coins, approved by the HM Treasury so your child will easily transfer their knowledge gained about the value of these coins to the real world.
This is also a fun way to teach early math and counting skills. You could begin this at 4 years old despite their recommended age being 6 years and up. If you are coupling this with other preschool finance activities and practices such as the ones listed here – ‘How To Teach Black Children Financial Literacy‘ then you can definitely merge this into your homeschool schedule.
So, you understand the concept of using relevant games to supplement home-based learning, and the big question remains; would you incorporate it into your child’s homeschool curriculum? In all honesty, games should be part of a child’s learning process. You should include games that further a child’s understanding of their studies, enhances their sense of curiosity and creativity, or develop their logic and focus skills (chess is great for this and can be taught as young as four! Check out this post on why learning chess is so beneficial for children)