What is "Gameschooling?"
Gameschooling can be defined as using games for learning or education, and it often (but not always!) refers to using games specifically as a homeschool method or using games in/as homeschool curriculum. Simply put, Gameschooling means playing to learn.
Do I have to homeschool my kids to be a Gameschooler?
Nope! Even though Gameschooling is growing in popularity as a bona fide homeschool method, learning through play is intuitive and natural for human beings. Your family might be full-time Gameschoolers or utilize Gameschooling as a part of your homeschool education. And it's also possible to employ and enjoy Gameschooling in school, after-school, virtual school, or community settings.
How do I choose "educational" games?
We believe that ALL games present learning opportunities! Sure, there are some games specially designed to teach computer programming concepts or help assimilate Constitution facts. But games that are not overtly or explicitly designed as "educational" can help us grow in skills like verbal communication, negotiation, literacy, numeracy, and quantitative and qualitative reasoning. Furthermore, playing games can help foster patience, focus, and attention span, as well as creating opportunities to learn about boundaries, fair play, and other social skills (1). Role-Playing Games (RPGs) in particular encourage teamwork, creativity, appreciation of diverse skillsets, and problem solving....and as a bonus, RPGs encourage a LOT of reading (2).
So in choosing games for your family, try think outside the "but is it educational?" box and remember that not only is play valuable simply for being play, but kids are learning tangible skills when they play games.
What about video games?
While each family needs to make their own decisions regarding "screen time," recent research indicates video gaming imparts cognitive benefits. Visual processes, attention and vigilance, executive functioning, and job-related skills all stand to benefit from video games (3). Although sometimes associated with isolation and inactivity, playing video games can actually encourage exercise and social interaction (4). Playing video games has been correlated with a broad spectrum of positive skills and experiences, from lucid dreaming to increased motor control, memory and multitasking to reading skills (5).
Where can I learn more about Gameschooling?
At GameSchoolCon, of course! Join us for a full weekend of learning to play and playing to learn.
Meanwhile, you may want to visit these folks online (unaffiliated with GameSchoolCon; we just think they're rad):
Homeschool Gameschool - a secular homeschooling and gameschooling blog and all-around terrific resource by Meg Grooms. Make sure to visit the "About" page and click through to the Facebook groups!
The Ultimate Guide to Gameschooling by Cat Timms - a comprehensive get-started guide with heaps of practical ideas.