Monday, September 17, 2012

The Best Homeschool Games: Disguise Learning As Fun

English: The game Bananagrams, showing pieces ...
The game Bananagrams, showing pieces and banana-shaped carrying container (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Carol A Henderson

One of the advantages to homeschooling is the ability to make learning fun.

Most children do not enjoy being lectured at, but respond remarkably well when you take the time to talk to them and create unique lessons that do not feel like schoolwork.

One creative option is the use of homeschool games to judge how well a child is grasping new material and to ensure that they are able to apply new skill sets.

There are different types of homeschool games that can be incorporated into the home classroom:

Computer software
Puzzle books
Competitive group

Games are competitive by nature, but your child can compete with themselves just as they do with others. Which games you select will depend on a variety of factors, including:

Ages and grade levels
Subjects of interest to a child
Subjects a child is struggling to master
Learning styles
Time available for games

Homeschool games can be important tools that help your children learn without getting bored or feeling overwhelmed. They are especially useful if your child is resistant to learning or struggles in a particular subject.

Where to Find Homeschool Games

You can look for homeschool games in teacher supply stores, through homeschool curriculum providers, or through homeschool organizations if you don't mind buying secondhand. You can also look online, as there are many websites featuring a wide selection of interactive games for children at different grade levels. Some game sites may require a membership fee.

Many of the best games for homeschooling are homemade. One idea is to find websites that relate to special interests of your child and create an "I spy" type game. Write out clues or questions and have your child use those websites, or one chosen website, to find the answers.

They may also be required to find clues that lead up to a password. That password can "unlock" something special in the classroom. Make sure the information they are reading and the questions they are answering relate to their current lessons.

Three Popular Resources for Homeschool Games

Take a look at these resources for games already being used extensively by other homeschooling parents:

1. Brain-E-Games: You can purchase downloadable homeschool games for extremely low prices. Alternatively, use their game options to get creative and create similar games yourself.

2. Buy blank game boards with a variety of patterns already printed. You can use markers, stickers, and other supplies to create unique homeschool games. Boards can be used for any subject and any grade level.

3. Homemade Spinner: Make your own spinner for game boards using Microsoft Word.

Top 5 Homeschool Games

You should select games that will capture the interest of your children and the lessons you are trying to teach, but these five games are favorites for many other homeschooling parents:

1. You've Been Sentenced!: Hilarious, yet educational, game that even adults will enjoy.
2. Sum Swamp: A board game that teaches basic math skills.
3. Look for their "mind benders" books for all grade levels.
4. The Scrambled States of America: A board game that teaches placement of the states.
5. BananaGrams: The learning version of Scrabble that can be used to create homemade homeschool games.

How to Use Homeschool Games

You can use homeschool games to supplement lessons you are teaching in your home classroom, but you can also use them in creative ways. For instance, why not officially declare every Friday game day?

Rotate the games available as your children progress to different grade levels, and do nothing but play educational games all day. You may also have a "game hour" at the end of every school day. Children get to end the day with laughter, but they will still be learning.

Carolann Henderson, homeschooling mom, website editor and researcher. You'll find some more information about the homeschool games listed above as well as some additional homeschooling games, lots more on homeschooling kindergarten, general homeschooling information, free resources, tips and encouragement on my website.

I also have a free gift for you that you will find instrumental in getting and staying organized in homeschooling and all areas of your life along with a free ebook to help you homeschool holidays. You can claim your free gift by visiting my website and signing up for our free newsletter "Homeschool Helping Hands".

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