Should you use educational games for high school homeschooling? The answer is yes! I have previously shared how much hands-on learning has made a difference for my sons even now that they are high schoolers!
When they were younger, one of the easiest ways to create a little multi-sensory learning was to turn whatever we were studying into a game. We tend to think of high school homeschooling as much more formal and serious. But it makes sense that we learn better when we’re enjoying ourselves and having a good time learning, right?
Written by Shawna of Different by Design Learning.
So the question is, “Should you use educational games for high school homeschool?” and the answer is, “Absolutely!” Let’s not throw out the fun and games when our children reach the high school years! And don’t be worried that games aren’t good educational tools or that we’ll be causing our children to waste valuable time they should be using to do something boring but educational.
Instead, focus on ways to incorporate more educational games for high school homeschooling. I think you’ll be really glad you did!
Do Games Really Count as Learning?
Even when my children were little, I struggled with games “counting” towards learning.
I began homeschooling thinking that it needed to look formal, complete with desks, worksheets, and even a bell for me to ring when it was time to begin. (I’m a little embarrassed sharing this now, ten years later…)
That idea of how it “should be” was very quickly replaced with the reality of how it “actually was.”
My youngest son in particular struggled with learning retention, specifically as it related to letters and sight words. One day, in desperation, and because I just couldn’t do another sight word flashcard, I made an impulse purchase on Amazon.
That sight word bingo set completely changed the game for my struggling reader.
Can Games Still Help with High School Homeschooling?
The same child is now heading into his first year of high school. Our homeschool certainly looks a lot different than it did back then, but one thing is still absolutely true. He learns best with hands-on learning, and if there’s a game associated with it, he’s happy to learn.
I understand now that although my son is now a man-child, he is still the same learner.
He still needs hands-on activities and game-oriented challenges to really grasp and retain learning. He still learns best when there is an element of fun.
He still thrives when I provide the type of engaging learning that “gameschooling” provides.
Why Should You Use Games for High School Homeschooling? How Do Games Contribute to Hands-on Learning?
Essentially, for high school homeschoolers, I think all the same benefits are available to us as when they were younger.
- Making learning fun decreases resistance.
- Games incorporate a multi-sensory approach that many kids need in order to access learning.
- Over time, the more these types of “out-of-the-box” approaches are employed, the more our children learn.
There is a reason why thinking games are so popular, even with adults long out of school (think Sudoku). Games use our brains in ways that stretch and challenge us, all while adding a little bit of fun.
For example, my son recently introduced me to the game “Sprouts.” This is a really easy game to play, and you only need a piece of paper and two different color pens.
I won’t get into all the specifics of it, but suffice to say, we played it for an entire afternoon last week and I was just as engaged as he was. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and strategy were all essential parts of our learning that day. (And yes, he beat me almost every time.) NOTE: To see for yourself how to play Sprouts, look at the YouTube video below this picture.
How to Use Educational Games for High School Homeschooling
You Know Your Child Best!
I think the easiest place to start is with what you already know to be true of your child.
Has she always loved word searches? Grab an adult activity book the next time you are at the Dollar Store. Your child will be thrilled that you are “counting it as school.”
If your child is into learning how to make all the advanced types of paper airplanes, have him make them, and then try to “land” on various pieces of paper around the house with answers from his latest history quiz.
You know your child best, and I think you are the one that will best be able to determine where to start!
Pinterest Can Help
One of the first places I go when I need a good hands-on or game-oriented learning activity is Pinterest. It’s easy to search, and I can always find a variety of ideas and inspiration. Check out Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler’s Hands-On Learning Board! It has a ton of ideas to help you get started.
Get Ideas from Other Moms
I think this is actually one of the best resources around for anything homeschool-related, but especially for ideas related to games. Actual mom and kid-tested ideas for gameschooling are usually more likely to work than the ones I find from a random Amazon search.
One of my favorite resources for finding like-minded moms and everything gameschool-related is Never Board Learning. In addition to discounts on certain games and a private member forum, they also offer printable games that you can start playing right away.
I’m at the point where, as soon as my child shows signs of interest struggle with a topic, I immediately begin looking for a game to supplement our learning. The good news is, the more I have let go and embraced this in our homeschool, the better our days have been and the more my child has learned.
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Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned writer, speaker and consultant. She is also a homeschooling mom of two brilliant boys with differences and special needs. Shawna has written four books for parents of special needs – Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos and her latest, Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. She has also been featured in special needs discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, The Huffington Post and Autism Speaks. You can find her online at DifferentByDesignLearning.com. You can follow Shawna and Different By Design Learning on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.