When you imagine homeschooling, some of the first images that may come to mind are that of a child sitting at the kitchen table with textbooks or perhaps a child sitting on the sofa reading to mom or dad. Traditional homeschooling usually will involve a lot of text books, workbooks, copy work, drills, and reading to other family members. These methods are widely used in traditional schools and often make an appearance when schooling at home too.
More and more though, homeschooling parents are finding even more options available to them to help their children learn and they are fun too! A wide variety of electronic games, board games, video learning tools, and electronic reading and writing devices have hit the market in recent years and they are quickly gaining popularity. They make learning fun and engaging in ways that textbooks cannot.
photo credit: eyeliam
Board games have always been a favorite among children so it is no wonder that a few innovative companies have developed a line of educational games for kids. There are dozens of games for children of all ages that teach math, science, spelling, problem solving, and even history. Playing these games together as a family helps them to learn new things with little effort. Cranium Cariboo is a game that teaches younger kids shape recognition, color recognition, letter recognition, and counting in ways that find engaging and exciting. Blokus Strategy Board Game teaches strategy and reasoning, as well as spatial perception. Scrabble, Cranium, and Trivial Pursuit are great educational games for older kids.
Online computer games are also gaining popularity. The JumpStart World Kindergarten World series for preschoolers to second graders has become a favorite among homeschooling parents. Through these games children access a 3D world of their very own where they can work on reading and math skills at their own pace and in a fun environment. Spelling lessons are mixed in with tic tac toe and counting is learned while searching for buried treasure. New adventures can be downloaded monthly so that the fun and learning can continue. Parents are also able to access scores online so that they can see what skills their child needs to work on and which ones they have mastered. The same company also has a fun Math Blaster program for older kids.
Reading and other basic skills can also be learned with the help of digital books and electronic devices. LeapFrog LittleTouch LeapPad is a leader for this type of product. They have a new Tag system that seeks to teach children how to read. Children read through the many books they have available and they can get help with words they are stuck on by touching the Tag pen to the book page. LeapFrog also has the LeapPad with books organized by grade to teach reading, phonics, vocabulary, math, science, music, and more.
photo credit: Jim Sneddon
All of these tools have taken traditional learning techniques and given them a fresh new spin that children are sure to love.