Introduction to The Game Curriculum
Our family loves games and our children were “allergic” to workbooks. Their learning styles demanded more creativity and activity, so I devised games and /or found activities for nearly everything. Games are the fun way to drill, reinforce, and facilitate the mastery of any subject. They get the job done in a fraction of the time with better results because children very seldom have to be coerced into playing a game. When you enjoy what you are doing, you learn many times faster than when it is just a chore. It is amazing how children perform so much better when they want to do something instead of have to do something.
Our daughters, Tenaya and Tylene, started Fun-Ed in 1993 to sell the games they had enjoyed using for many years. In the ensuing years, many people asked for our “curriculum” and how to use the games either as a supplement or in place of a text and workbook curriculum. To meet this demand, Tenaya and Carolyn co-authored the first draft of the Game Curriculum book back in 1995. We hope this online version will help make your homeschool years more enjoyable and successful.
It is possible to teach elements of every subject with games. We also love books (except for most text books which tend to be boring and therefore, forgettable) and recommend that good “real” books be used to complement The Game Curriculum. When considering real books please investigate the Charlotte Mason concept. By combining good books, games and activities, it is possible to have a complete learning program that is fun, challenging, and above all interesting. As with all curriculum programs we suggest that you take what you need and leave the rest. Our suggestions are only examples to stimulate your creative juices. If you like the textbook method, you can use the games to vary your program, substitute for the drills and take the pressure off when you hit a hard spot. You can integrate the games with a unit study curriculum quite easily or, you can use The Game Curriculum as a complete basic program for the early grades.
The Game Curriculum originally went only through 6th grade. Up to that point, you can teach and/or reinforce all the basic concepts through games and activities. Over the years, however, we had many requests to continue The Game Curriculum through high school. With this edition, we expanded our suggestions to cover as many high school subjects as possible. Consider the following examples. The Farming Game has been used at the University of Washington to teach economics. Tenaya and her college classmates employed Geo-Safari (now out of print) to learn all the countries of the world for their World Cultures class. Marie’s Words and Bethump’d With Words are two advanced vocabulary games that will easily prepare students for college level reading and great scores on the ACT and SAT.
There are many engaging games available today that will complement a junior or senior high curriculum. Many games are so multi-age appropriate that all ages can learn a great deal playing them together. Also, do not hesitate to create or amend the rules to meet the needs of the younger players. Never underestimate the power of a game!
Once you get the idea, you can invent your own games. When Tenaya and Tylene were little, the Phonogram Fun Packet did not exist. Instead, we used the “alphabet game” in the car, identifying letters and sounds on billboards and license plates – no joke! We did! Tylene was younger and had trouble keeping track of the letters so we gave her a paper with the alphabet to cross off the letters as she found them. We changed the rules as the children’s skill and needs grew. We also used a Jr. Scrabble – from a garage sale yet. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a “game curriculum.” Use your imagination. For those of you who want a jumpstart, we offer our suggestions. Always feel free to alter, substitute and rearrange the choices to suit your needs. We hesitated to assign grade levels on games because children’s learning styles and developmental rates are so varied. In addition to that, the schools have accelerated the pace to the point that pre-school children are now learning what I taught my first grade class in 1972. Consequently, our grade level assignments are approximate. Think of learning as a continuum. We tried to put games in a logical sequence, which you can use regardless of age or grade levels. In many cases, we listed games at the youngest practical grade level with the understanding that most games are useful and fun for many years.
Please note that in most cases, we have suggested many more games than you will actually need to accomplish the task. Some children like colorful board games while others want to sing and dance. Still others prefer quick little dice or card games or games that allow creativity. If you are unsure which games will be best for you and your children feel free to call us to talk over your selections. You can also find many more games and ideas at our website Excellence In Education.
Have fun exploring our site and above all make your children’s educational journey fun!