Gameschooling is the practice of using games to teach and reinforce educational concepts. It is more of an idea, a practice, and a concept than an actual hard and fast curriculum approach to education. Recently it has gained a large following in the homeschooling community. All forms of education (home, public, and private) have been using games in various forms to supplement education for years. Game types are as varied as the skills they reinforce. Games from “Go Fish” to chess to “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” are seen as a great way to teach and practice strategic thinking, math skills, complex patterns, and critical thinking. Chess is a classic example, but it isn’t the only game to teach these skills. The board game “Risk” also excels in these categories. The card game “War” is great for number recognition value, basic addition/subtraction, and can be modified further to include more complex math concepts.
The idea and practice of gameschooling as a curriculum is using games intentionally to teach concepts and reinforce skills in education. In a very nonthreatening way multiplication tables can be taught through games. Learning nouns and verbs can be a fun game of match. Strategic thinking, planning, and addition becomes a game with “Ticket To Ride.” The kinds of games being manufactured now cover almost every possible scholastic subject. This has helped make gameschooling a growing movement in education.
Roleplaying games are not new to this field. RPG’s have been teaching life skills type thinking from the very beginning. Skills like planning, consequences, strategy, communication, cooperation, teamwork, problem solving, puzzles, and more are evident in each game interaction. How to achieve your goal? What supplies are you willing to sacrifice to free a fellow teammate? How can you get everyone to agree to your plan? Can you work together to defeat the enemy or is it every man for himself? What is the consequence of that choice? Our games will not teach specific educational concepts; however we do provide opportunities to practice and stretch those skills. For example, we do not teach children to add or multiply. We do provide plenty of practice for those concepts in dice rolls and game modifiers. We do not teach how to write a sentence or parts of speech. However, we do offer opportunities for players to write character back stories for advantages in game. Players must think on their feet, weigh information, determine the merit of an argument, and make compelling arguments of their own.
For a list of specific educational concepts covered and the Common Core Standards please click Here.