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  1. #1

    Question Any one using video games as part of their curriculum?

    My 4 year old has been very interested in playing "The Legend of Zelda". I've been refusing him because this game requires A LOT of reading and I just don't have time to sit with him and read it all out loud. I told him in order to be able to play any LOZ game he needs to learn to read. This has caused a frenzy in my house. All he wants to do now is read read read. Which prompted my "a-ha" moment. I could incorporate video games as part of his curriculum. I've noticed as long as my son is in front of a screen he is learning. He gets it from his dad who is the ultimate computer geek, but I do have plenty of reservations because I don't want my son growing up in the "cyberworld". On the other hand isn't part of homeschooling modifying a curriculum based around the child's needs and learning style? Whatever works for each kid, right? Anyone out there use video/computer games as part of their child curriculum? How do you avoid addiction? Any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Last edited by May; 01-01-2012 at 11:01 PM.
    May



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  3. #2
    Senior Member Arrived lakshmi's Avatar
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    You're in unschoooling territory now...lol...

    Addiction is involvement with an activity despite the negative consequences associated with it ESP seeking relief from something and then turning into needing this to feel normal.

    It is sort of hard for me to imagine a kid actually being addicted to video games. That being said, I have had some serious Strawberry Shortcake soul searching. My daughter was watching a lot of videos. Driving me crazy. And I was concerned about the marketing. blah blah blah. That was what three months ago if that, she is now watching Magic School Bus. She worked her way through it.

    So, who cares, read and play video games and learn the game and play along. It will be part of the day and it will come and it will go. The same way I am here at SHS a lot when I want to avoid the laundry or the mess on the desk. Or the writing I could be doing. BUT then when things are smooth, maybe I am not around so much. Children are the same way.

    Decide what is important to you. As in, making sure that they eat. You can carry snacks to the play area or you can enforce snack at the table time. What is important in your day and then share that with your child. Not that a 4yo will care. But at least you shared it! LOL....

    Go for it. Video games are just another tool that you can use to enhance the life of your obviously very serious reading student. May I suggest SpellingCity.com for some practice with the Dolch word list. The list for the most used words. Easy peasy read those words and you're off!!!
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Arrived dbmamaz's Avatar
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    I do believe my kids need some help controlling how much screen time they get, but i err on the side of a LOT of screen time, because dh and I both work and play on computers.

    I definitely saw that computer games helped my kids get interested in learning to type and spell. My younger was always asking how to spell words so he could label his creations on spore creature creator, and both boys learned a lot of sight words on computer games. My younger used Time4Learning as his core curriculum for a while, because he was willing to - it was game-like. He also uses math ninja on my ipad and timezattacks for multiplication facts.

    we also have 'no electronic entertianment' during school hours, plus they have to complete their work before they get back on the electronics. So for us, its integrated in many ways
    Cara, homeschooling one
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  5. #4

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    My kids play some games that I've seen have positive impacts on them - Scribblenauts helps with spelling, Professor Layton games are all brain teasers, Wii Fit is good exercise, and we've had educational games like Stack the States, Rocket Math, and lots of internet based learning games like the Shepherd Software ones.

    Mostly I see it as a positive thing, but just one of many positive part of life things - I don't see it as more integral than lots of other things that we do as an incidental part of our lives - watching TV, listening to music, cooking, playing outside, traveling, etc. - all the stuff we do for pleasure has educational aspects if we let them be there and *that* is central for me as an educator, but not video games in particular, if that makes any sense.

    I do limit their time on screens to some extent... or, at least, I do when they're not on break like right now.
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    Senior Member Arrived dbmamaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    I do limit their time on screens to some extent... or, at least, I do when they're not on break like right now.
    LOL more like I'M taking a break!! using the plug-in-babysitter!
    Cara, homeschooling one
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  7. #6

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    Yes. Not formally though. I see that games help my ds practice 'figuring stuff out'. There's a lot of learning to be patient and persistent that goes along with games. He also researches and blogs about games, so I figure they are good skills. Right now he is planning on making a Mario games Noggins card game, so it can act as a prompt to more creative activities. I've noticed that there is more reading involved in gaming than I'd expected.

    I make an effort to offer/provide outdoor activities as well; I've talked to ds about it from a health and safety pov which he accepts. He is amenable to hearing that his eyes/hands/shoulders need a break from the screen and taking breaks.

    Only one of his schooly subjects is done on-screen and we spend a lot of time on read-alouds, which i think helps balance out the visual stimulation of games.

  8. #7

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    Well, I have strong opinions about children and gaming in general---BUT, to address your question, I think video games in the curriculum is very much okay.
    Most of our educational philosophies are outdated for our children and will continue to become outdated more quickly due to our "digital age" and it's rapid advancements that used to come every few years...now come every few months..how fast can they go?
    There is an elementary school in New York that teaches 80 of their curriculum through the use of video games. Many (other schools) are watching and some are already implementing this. Colleges are already offering 'video game' instruction and learning-so much so, that psychologists have already done a study comparing 'traditional' college professors with the 'modern' classes utilizing screens and buzzers. [I must admit I enjoyed the comments on that article A LOT]
    Of course, I'm not one anticipating this "growth" and since you have a sense of caution in your post, I'm sure you don't need me to address the cons of small children sitting in front of screens for long periods of time. The advice mentioned above: having "no electronics" times, time for breaks, balance with read alouds (or something similar like nature walks or field trips or just mandatory outside time) is very handy. I, however, would certainly use it (video games) as a supplement AT THIS AGE and not as the meat and potatoes of his courses...if he were older, I think it would depend solely upon the child and family.
    OTOH, If you can teach measurements while baking brownies in the kitchen or learn English through picture books and math written in novels or the rotation of the planet by tracing your shadow in the sun out in the driveway at different times of the day or by mixing paint with dirt to show how erosion works...I mean, I just don't see how learning to read "The Legend of Zelda" is any different than if you had a comic book sitting on the table. (And I can attest that several desperate mothers pick these up for their sons just hoping the kid will read something, anything at all, lol.)

    I wish you much success with your endeavor!!!!

    Plus, for math consider http://www.bigbrainz.com/index.php
    I haven't used it (yet??) but am considering it...we're just not real big into games yet...

  9. #8

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    When it comes to video games, we limit them to 1 hour a day (2 hours if schoolwork is done without *any* complaint, errands are run without "But mommm... I don't wanna go anywhere!" and his room is clean). So we're strict-ish.

    But, from a homeschooling perspective, I find it very delightful to watch my son play (for example) "Mario Dance Dance Revolution", and read the dialogue aloud in a variety of voices. ^.^

    I believe in video games as a reward versus a part of the curriculum, but also have seen firsthand that they can encourage fluency in reading and speaking. My son receives praise for being so creative in the voices he gives the characters and how many dance step combos he achieves.
    Wendy
    Mumsy to Gavin (13-year-old artsy boy) and Rowan (3-year-old disco queen)

  10. #9

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    My son sounds like yours - he LOVES all things video and learns quickest when he can see things - definitely a visual learner. I don't do much of our actual school work on screens because I don't want him to spend all day, every day on a screen. I do usually find some online games to play related to our history, geography or science topics but all our core language arts and math are done manually.

    The Wii and the computer have both helped expand his reading ability greatly though. We are still working on long vowel sounds in our actual curriculum but he is reading large compound words and his reading speed is great. I'm sure all the practice he gets with playing the games (especially when he reads along while the game reads it too) has helped a lot. Which makes me feel slightly less guilty that he's spent hours and hours a day playing Wii or computer over the last few weeks.
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  11. #10

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    My eldest (16) tells me that he learned to read so he could play Pokemon, and that it was vitally important, spurring his love of reading. He loves to read, and is doing well in his AP English class, which focuses on reading and analysing the classics as well as writing.

    My younger guy will often refuse to read a book, but will research online, which takes reading and comprehending.

    I am in favor of using screens in whatever way keeps a student motivated, which will be different from one child to the next.

    I forgot to mention, the 16 year old loves Zelda, tells me it's a great quality game.
    Colleen
    Mom to DS2, 12/13/99 6th grade new homeschoolers and DS1 5/20/95 PS HS Junior, who doesn't love academics but LOVES marching band.
    Working wife to DH who travels for a living and can be gone for over a month at a time.

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Any one using video games as part of their curriculum?