January 28, 2013
Last Christmas (over one year ago) the kids and Damien started playing computer games together. Before this, computer video games were not a regular part of our family life.
(In general, technology and computer use by our children has increased exponentially in the last year as well. But that's for another post.)
Damien has always had a bent towards computer games. But for most of our marriage these factored very little into our lives. I think he was just biding his time till our kids were old enough and he'd have a houseful of people to game with him (smile).
For a variety of reasons - our kid's growing maturity, our move and the changes to our family life, and then our month in Montreal without our usual craft bins and activities - computer games entered our lives (in a more significant way) last year. Games monitored and screened by my husband and most often played with him.
Some of these computer games are the usual type you may be thinking - car racing, shoot up the goblin type (we haven't played Minecraft, though I hear it's a hugely popular game). But other computer games they've played have been more along the lines of traditional role playing games.
A couple definitions before moving on.
Computer games are just that - games played on the computer. They span many different genres and playing scenarios.
Role playing games (hereafter referred to as RPGs) started with Dungeons and Dragons and have grown from there. Computer games are not the same as RPGs. But computer games can be RPGs.
My family has played several types of games, general computer games and RPGs. The RPGs have been both computer and pen and paper play (though nowadays pen and paper includes PDF's and computer software to track your game progress because it's quite complicated).
I'm going to be straight up here. Up until this year and even during the course of this past year I have had a serious bias against computer gaming. I do that often with things I don't understand.
Computer games are bad aren't they? Hasn't this been the message of the nature-loving, simple parenthood movement? And don't we all know a few individuals (or at least heard of them) who are addicted to video games? Damien likes to point out I'm addicted to coffee. Touché.
My personality type is quite resistant to things I don't understand or have direct experience with. After a brief affair with Mario on my brother's Nintendo console in high school, I haven't played any video or computer games since. For all intents and purposes computer games have not been a part of my life. I have no interest in them either.
Damien's interests are quite different from my own. And as our children's parent - a very good parent at that - Damien is not only entitled, but encouraged to share his interests with our children. And this is especially true as they get older.
So I guess I can hold him responsible for introducing this totally foreign element to my ever waldorf-loving soul.
Interest-led learning is a wild, crazy and sometimes scary ride. Scary mostly for the parents I think. The kids who have trusted you all along and have only known this way of living and learning have no idea the self-doubt you face as a parent. (Well, they have some idea I'm sure. Especially in our home where I don't hide my inner-life from my family.)
When we started our back-to-normal life routine after Christmas, I checked in with Céline before resuming her fall curriculum. I wanted her to be inspired and passionate about her learning but I had noticed by the end of our last term that Céline was not enthusiastic about certain pieces of her curriculum.
Waning enthusiasm is natural and pops up from time to time in our home schooling. In which case I may tweak the curriculum, change the learning environment, vary my approach, use different resources, etc. to fuel the fire again. Or we will plow through a bit (this can work when the kids are older) to see if that was just a rough spot.
It's my responsibility as the teacher/parent/mentor to find ways to inspire my children's learning and I tell you this is a tall order (in case some people think interest-led learning is a piece of cake). And if I can't inspire them or find someone who can then it's time to let it - it being the math, the science, the history, whatever - rest.
Letting go is the scary part. Always is.
The learning that truly does happen when you let go of what you thought should happen, that is the fabulously exciting part. It's the ultimate lightbulb a-ha moment of interest-led learning. But sometimes the process of getting there is fraught with parental doubt and worry.
I like the metaphor of interest-led learning as a table spread with many delectable, healthy and choice foods. (And occasionally there are less-than-healthy offerings).
Damien and I get to set this table for our children. We can't put everything on the table, in our finite capacity as parents we are simply not able to do that. But we do our best.
We start with our family values, then we look at who are children are, we consider skills we think are important for them to know and learn (to one day be independent adults in a ever-changing world). Day by day, month by month, year by year, we lay this feast for our children.
Some seasons it's sparse (there are months when the food budget is tight), other seasons it's rich. But over the course of a childhood there is a lot to choose from, a lot to explore.
And then there may come a season when our child says to us - this one thing here is all I want right now. I don't need the whole spread. Just this and I'm good.
But you know they get the whole spread over the course of their childhood and it's enough. And maybe some of the stuff you put on the table no one really wants anyway.
There were a lot of things on the table last fall, some of them were sampled, others devoured and some not touched at all.
So this month when our intelligent and creative thirteen year old told us she's inspired to study RPGs and the other stuff on the table is not so interesting to her right now, we cleared the table. We are making space for this learning in her life.
Computer RPGs, pen and paper RPGs, she's fascinated by it all. RPGs light Céline's fire on so many levels. Our children have always had a keen interest in fantasy. Tolkien's Middle Earth is a real place as far as our kids are concerned. Céline's favorite reading is fantasy fiction, and she's a geek. RPGs and computer RPGs are a logical step in her interests.
larping is a reality in our home and maybe a reality in our future?
Need I remind you at this point of my former bias against computer games? Can you hear the deep breaths I've been taking for the past six months?
Last winter I listened to a podcast by Oliver DeMille about Leadership Education. We follow a lot of the principles of Leadership Education, though not exactly (phrases like Family Executive Committee meeting and Stateswoman make me twitchy).
In that theory of education Céline is entering the scholar phase. We've had a long transition to scholar which is not surprising I feel for a first child in a sheltered home environment. I suspect our youngest will transition faster since she won't have younger siblings to engage her in core phase activities (read: lots of play). But this is not about transitioning our kids fast or slow. We let it evolve the way it must - on their time schedule.
In the scholar phase (and this is very brief) young adults take ownership for their study, under the direction of mentors. There is accountability for the student's learning and progress. But the study is still guided by the learner's interests and needs. It's their education.
In the podcast I've already referred to, Oliver relayed the story of a mother who's scholar-aged son wanted only to study surfing. The mother was mystified about how this could be a scholar pursuit. Oliver challenged the mother herself to study the surfing classics. He then went on to name some. Which of course I don't remember because but that's not the point.
The point is his response to the mother, which amounts to this - learn about this interest your child has, study it yourself, read (or play) the classics of that genre, then build a course of study around that.
We do this all through our children's homeschooling years but when they are younger it's easier - at least for me. Volcanos, cheetahs, space - I can wrap my brain around those interests. They seem safe and acceptable. RPGs and computer games have been totally outside my grid.
I'm doing my best to try to understand this world I have previously known so little about. I've started gaming with my family. And I like it! Role playing with my growing kids is a lot of fun. Right now we're playing Pathfinder, old school style with computer support (there is so much to keep track of in these games) for Damien who's the Dungeon Master.
Dungeon Master is a fitting role for Damien since he's the overall vision manager and technical director for Céline's curriculum and I'm project manager. Together, based on Céline's needs, interests and talents, we're building an RPG "curriculum" for this winter. (Maybe beyond?)
Do I know what this is going to look like? No.
It doesn't come in a box or textbook. It's something we build as we go. RPGs were not what I had imagined Céline studying when I first romanticized about the scholar phase of homeschooling (smile).
I had anticipated the single minded interest, the hours of study and reading, assignments and accountability, seeking mentors and resources for subjects outside my expertise. What I hadn't anticipated was that RPGs would be the subject. Hello high school.
The game playing itself is not the sum total of Céline's curriculum, in case your wondering. There's a lot of character building going on for us all (a little double entendre for any gamers in crowd).
To make this learning hers, it has to also become mine. Not just the content - familiarizing myself with game play, creating a character, reading books about RPGs etc. - but the role of learner becomes mine also. And learning is hard work. Even when it's "just a game".
Curious about how Celine's RPG project proceeded? I've written follow-up in the following posts and comments:
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LisaZ on Jan. 28, 2013, 4:11 a.m.
This is so fantastic, Renee! My 15-year old has definitely been in the "scholar" phase for a few years now and his main interests have very much stemmed from RPGs, with D and D/Pathfinder games at the top of his list. He's played both online and "in real life" games. And oh my, he has learned so much because of this. Medieval history, ancient warfare, and so many things that just build on each other. An interest in medieval history leads to an interest in history in general, an interest in the warfare has led to an interest in criminal justice in modern day, etc. etc. I could go on and on but that boy is always learning! We unschool so it's really directed by my son and I just watch in awe at all he learns. Good for you becoming open to this! I too have a waldorf-loving heart but the unschool movement has really helped me loosen up and let go of my preconceived notions. Besides, even in the Waldorf schools teen-agers get to use computers. It's hard to let go of those old ideals though! I'm glad I'm not alone in having had to do it. I see benefits to it all the time now.
Sarah m on Jan. 28, 2013, 5:14 a.m.
This really hit home for me for a number of reasons. First, I have always had a big bias against video games, and I see them as a Big Time Waster, until my husband and kids started playing together, and having fun. I think I have played cumulative 10 hours of games in my life, and I don't even remember enjoying it. Just not my thing.
When I saw how much fun the kids were having with their dad I wanted to still limit it quite a bit, but eased up...inch by little inch! (When I worked in the public school district here, the type of games, Adult/graphic, the kids would get for their birthdays and Christmas, from their parents, was astounding and disheartening. This led to a big piece of my bias pie.)
Second, I'm a late technology adaptor. Only in the past 3-6 months did I even see a small value in an ipad! My in-laws, funny enough, are early adapters, and had one within the first few weeks. I saw them as another distraction, another expensive gadget to obsess over, etc. and I just wasn't interested. Only after seeing the gobs of awesome apps (via Playful Learning blog) did I even think, once, "huh, that might be semi-useful"! Oh, the snobbery. :) All that to say, I put up a good fight against too much media, but I'm realizing this is becoming (because of our culture, and my own children's interests) a bit futile. I do love my tight grip.
I think that your processing of Celine's new interest in RPGs is familiar to all because I don't think any of us (or at least, myself) think of our kids having really big Different Interests From Us. (cough/laugh) It's really helpful to read your thoughts in this way, because so much of homeschooling, I've found, is scary at first--to bend toward their interests and let go of control of 'I thought it would be...' but it's also something that I love about homeschooling: that life and interests are so much bigger than I could have even thought. I have never had time in my life, like I do currently, to pursue my own interests while my kids are learning throughout the day. This post is just chock full of good stuff to chew on. Oh, and I have never heard the term "larping". Had to look that one up. :) Sarah M
renee on Jan. 28, 2013, 11:14 a.m.
I loved everything you had to say here Sarah. I'm a late adapter also. Damien is probably an early to mid adapter and we rely on technology so much for our life and work I can't resist much anymore! resistance is futile (smile). Yes - life and learning are so much bigger than I thought. They are beyond the boxes. And I agree, the time we have as homeschool mamas to pursue our interests also is one of the greatest gifts of homeschooling and I feel so many people misss out on this by trying to school "in the box". Larping - I threw that in there so people would have to do a bit of goggling. I love the word. And when it get's bantered around my house - "hey, let's larp!" it's a hoot.
Joy on Jan. 28, 2013, 12:46 p.m.
As they get deeper into RPG's, you might want to do a little research and see if there are any Larps running in your area. live Action Roleplaying games. Imagine, rather than a paper character, you are the character for the weekend. Costumes, improvised Roleplaying with a big group of people. They are fantastically fun and a great way to meet a very diverse group of people.
renee on Jan. 28, 2013, 12:48 p.m.
Check. Celine's already on this!
LisaZ on Jan. 28, 2013, 2:50 p.m.
I can't believe I forgot to mention one of the best things to come out of my son's interest in RPGs--his joining the SCA in our area. The Society for Creative Anachronism isn't exactly larping, but it comes close. Basically, a bunch of people playing at living in Medieval times...and for my autistic, socially withdrawn teen-aged son it's been one of the best things he's ever been part of.
celine on Jan. 28, 2013, 1:40 p.m.
Do you Larp?
Michelle on Jan. 28, 2013, 2:06 p.m.
Wow. I don't know how I would feel about that. Your children are SO fortunate to have a mother like you who is so in tune with what they are experiencing. Again, Wow.
renee on Jan. 28, 2013, 2:25 p.m.
The things we do for love...
Kika on Jan. 28, 2013, 3:12 p.m.
When my son was much younger I 'swore' we'd never be one of THOSE families with multiple game systems, etc. Well... I was wrong. My son has written essays highlighting some of the strengths of video gaming and the real-life skills they afford. He loves this stuff and talks to me for many hours/wk about all this. But he is also heading into the field of animation following graduation next year and can't imagine anything better than living and breathing what he loves all day, everyday. I dislike games of all sorts so apart from playing a bit with my kids on holidays I don't get into them nor do I feel a need to. I listen, encourage, and support him with materials/equipment and time. My son is simply following the same dream he has held tightly since he was 7 years old when he began filling countless notebooks with all his drawings, and later on story-lines. Can't wait to see where he'll go with this:)
renee on Jan. 28, 2013, 4:38 p.m.
Oh this is so exciting Kika. You've never shared this with me before - your son's interests and dreams and where he wants to go with those. I see a lot of similiarities with our children's interests. And I also didn't know we had this is commom either - both becoming one of "those" families. I don't feel the need to enjoy or do everything my kids do. You know how it goes - the older our kids get the more they do that is totally outside our realm. But in this case, with something so important to the rest of my family (seriously, it's all my kids talk about some days) I felt the strong conviction to make time in my life to share this interest with all of them, not just Celine. And it's actually fun for me (especially watching them really get into it), as long as I get to knit while gaming!
Kika on Jan. 29, 2013, 12:04 a.m.
Yes, lots in common. It is actually incredibly exciting as a parent to watch my son really 'solidify' who he is and watch all these bits and pieces (dreams, experiences, etc.) really come together. He is pretty sure which school he will attend for animation following graduation. I have to say that while I haven't always respected the gaming world, my son has such an eye/strength for detail, logic and story-line and I understand better now how much intelligence, skill and plain hard work goes into the creation of so many games I'd previously dismissed as stupid.
renee on Jan. 29, 2013, 12:30 a.m.
I just love how our kids broaden our horizons in such unexpected ways!
Kika on Jan. 29, 2013, 12:35 a.m.
Just to clarify, the animation he wants to do isn't just for video games but other forms of media as well. The school he wants to attend is perfect for him in that it allows him to specialize in up to two areas - so he can study video game creation and animation. Now, I'll stop talking:)
renee on Jan. 29, 2013, 12:59 a.m.
you don't have to stop talking (smile).
Kim on Jan. 28, 2013, 6:15 p.m.
I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about gaming, so this might not be relevant, but Celine might be interested in a video game development centre at Algoma University: http://www.agfh.ca/.
They're applying game technology to the health and education sectors... or something like that! I don't really know much about it, just work at the university and have heard about it in passing.
renee on Jan. 28, 2013, 6:23 p.m.
Thank you Kim! Gaming technology is actually being applied to many "real life" sectors. The opportunities in technology applications (to every sector of life) are limitless, which is one reason we are embracing technology in our homeschool, something I will be writing more about in the near future. This is an area of study we we feel we can give our children an advantage in, the opportunity, if they wish to go really deep with something like this, instead of a it being an "elective" in a regular high school curriculum.
Sarah on Jan. 28, 2013, 11:42 p.m.
I love this post! I am NOT of a gamer (I actually, don't think I've ever even played a computer/video game) ... I never even liked to read fantasy (realistic fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction--I feel like such a nerd saying it, but that's my thing)... BUT I am SO impressed by your courage and your trust in CelinÃ©. Learning is hard work, but the hardest part is the vulnerability that is inherent in exploring something NEW (simply by taking the role of "learner" we are acknowledging that we don't know something). In the last two years (high school for me) I have tried to make myself more comfortable with the vulnerability in trying new things (I tried cyclocross racing, track and cross country running having never run for more than 20 minutes, film photography, and swing dancing)--it's really hard! Some of the new things I've stuck with... some I haven't. Either way, I learned lots from the experiences. I made new friends. I let my younger brother lead (by teaching me cyclocross) which is a role switch up. The NEWNESS, the insecurity... I understand those. I won't pretend I understand how much faith it takes for you to take this leap in the sometimes seemingly ever-untouchable subject of education ("education is our FUTURE, right??!"). You are so brave. I'm not saying that in the "you're crazy" sense of brave. I am saying that in the "you have a lot of courage and faith" brave, in the "I totally admire your decision" sense of the word brave. Whatever your children choose to do, I believe that children learn the most from independently initiated and independently led learning, from"single minded interest, hours of study and reading, assignments and accountability, seeking mentors and resources for subjects outside [their parent's or assigned mentor's/teacher's] expertise". Those are the skills we need and they can be tough to get. You are doing a wonderful (if very, very difficult!) thing in empowering your daughter to pursue her passions, and in doing so, gain really really important skills. Whatever impact our high school education has on our future, I believe that this high school education will have a positive impact on CelinÃ©'s future.
I actually sent you an email containing this comment because I couldn't figure out how to post it... but I thought I'd try again to see if it works for me now.
renee on Jan. 29, 2013, 1:10 a.m.
Thanks Sarah! I got your e-mail but didn't have time to respond to it. Thanks for coming back to share your thoughts here. I always appreciate (and I truly mean it) your perspective.
Taylor on Jan. 29, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
Thank you SO much for this post! I just discovered your blog a few months ago, and usually don't have too much time to comment on blogs with a 2.5 year old and a 6 month old, but I do love reading when I can. This post resonates with me on so many levels and I truly appreciate your honestly in regards to your own struggles with media and video gaming and admire you so much for working towards providing your kids with child-led learning even if it means venturing into unfamiliar (to you) territory. My husband also loves RPGs and I can only guess that my boys might take a liking to them as well when they are older. I envision our homeschool looking somewhat similar to yours down the road. I just love the analogy of providing them with a feast. Thank you again. Is there yet a transcript of the program you did on homeschooling with preschoolers?
renee on Jan. 29, 2013, 1:27 a.m.
There isn't a transcript but you can buy the audio of that session here at our store.
Catherine Forest on Jan. 29, 2013, 5:23 a.m.
That is awesome, Renee! I was wondering if you were playing... I just went to Sandra Dodd conference and there was a talk on gaming that really helped me see things differently (no my girls nor JF are into gaming, but it might come!). The was a good Ted talk on the subject going around lately: http://www.gamification.co/2011/11/21/kids-brains-and-games-a-ted-talk/
Jess on Jan. 29, 2013, 1:13 p.m.
I love your perspective on this. Growing up we were never allowed to have videogames or much tv. Because of this I have this stigma about families who have multiple televisions or game systems. I try to let my kids have much control over how their time is spent but have always tried to keep tight reigns on how much time they spend in front of a screen. I'm afraid that until recently I have perceived time spent playing video games as time wasted. My husband loves RPG games and I have put a stop to having a game system in our house, but have been re-thinking my motives. I'm afraid that they come from being afraid of what others would think. When you spoke about letting Damien share his interests with the kids and letting go, it convicted my heart. I know that our kids and my husband would have such fun together gaming. They are still all young, and I feel that my heart has a few more stages of wrestling with this before I feel like I could let go more. But I'm sure the time will come and there will be gaming in our home and I will secretly hang onto my waldorf/nature based oriented ideals and shuffle them away the computers and out the door as often as I can.
renee on Jan. 29, 2013, 2:03 p.m.
I'm really blessed because Damien is a very intelligent, technical, and outdoorsy guy. He's a thinker. He doesn't want our kids wasting their time with brainless computer activity any more than I do. He's all for getting them out the door but he goes to! We have definite limits around video gaming and mindless gadget use (for them and us) and we've never had any game consoles and haven't had a tv for years (we are heavy computer users so we are not screen-free by any means). We also have lots of outdoor and creative time in our days. But as our kids have gotten older and our family dynamics have changed I have seen the value of technology in their lives. And can also see the role of technology in their future. Some of that technology involves video gaming and other forms of entertainment. But it goes way beyond that - technology is a powerful tool that can help us create, design, make art, solve problems, etc, etc. But that's for another post.
JennO on Jan. 29, 2013, 3:26 p.m.
Comment #25! Shouldn't I win something? LOL. So very thought provoking as usual. Interest-led learning is such scary terrain for me. I used to start each year with these wonderful resources...that got touched, but never thoroughly consumed. Finally, I told myself...that's okay. I would look at how I enjoy learning. On occassion I will delve deeply; other times I will search for something I need and move on to something else; or I will stumble upon little golden nuggets (love those). Really, the avenues are as varied as my many interests. Why would I expect any differently from my children?
renee on Jan. 29, 2013, 4:56 p.m.
JennO - what a great idea! I'd love to give you a prize. Pick one of my e-books or audio recordings and send me an e-mail and I'll get you set up with that. And what you said about how we learn is so true. I've thought about this many, many times. How do I like to learn? How does that apply to my children? I have a different learning style than my children but I like freedom to learn what I want and when I want - based on need and interest. Why would that be different for my kids? Good food for thought here...
Jason Elsworth on Jan. 29, 2013, 10 p.m.
The Wii console has been great for my oldest boy, who has Down Syndrome. He can do it as well as most of his age group peers and it is something he can do with other kids without the need to verbally communicate. It also really suits his visual learning style. Outside of school holidays he is allowed to play on weekends only. Before kids I was also on the no console track, but as they say life is like a box of chocolates etc.
Like myself, my other boy (8 years old) is in love with the world of Tolkein and we have been able to leverage this into learning about castles. I am sure he would love PC based RPGs and I would greatly appreciate recommendations of suitable games we could play together.
John Yanzuk on Jan. 30, 2013, 7:08 a.m.
Great post! My wife just stares (or snorts or retorts) whenever I pop on the computer and bring up "Skyrim", but as an avowed D&D junkie from my early teens through my late 20's (and still managed to find a wife!!!) I know how many hours (days-months-years) one can spend idly rolling oddly shaped dice...and the acute mental arithmetic you can develop trying to subtract a roll of 19 from an armor class of -6...darn it, missed that troll!
I am a little shocked at the content of today's video games and it's refreshing to see that Damien takes the time and care to be there with the children and guide them through the armada of games available on computer and console...but we know that the most vivid 1080p version of a game takes place in a child's imagination, so I have a hearty "Hail, Dungeon Master" for Damien for guiding them to the treasure trove of imagination, wit, sarcasm, teamwork, problem solving, history/science/math/anthropology that makes up the amusingly misunderstood game that is Dungeons and Dragons. Cheers!
Rachel J on Feb. 1, 2013, 5:43 p.m.
I told my husband about this post and his response cracked me up. He said he'd feel more comfortable with a son having a Larp addiction than a daughter (we have 3 daughters and are DONE!) since nine out of ten (his very scientific stat) Larpers are boys and he would anticipate his daughter would spend the whole time being hit on by 14 year old boys. :)
renee on Feb. 1, 2013, 5:49 p.m.
In that case I'll guess we'll lock her up in the tower. (smile) We do live out in the woods afterall. And all those 14 yr old boys can LARP their way to win our fair maiden's affection. But they're going have to get through me first. (smile).
renee on Feb. 2, 2013, 5:07 p.m.
I just read my response to your husband's response to my husband (follow that if you can). Damien said, I can play the ogre with a really high AC. I'll be whatever I need to be to protect our fair maiden. (smile).
CathyT on Feb. 2, 2013, 1:41 p.m.
I loved this post. It resonated with the way we homeschool our kids, now ages 18, 16, 8, and 6. We too reevaluate everything sometime in the winter to see what is working, what isn't , what needs tweaking, and what might be better shelved for now or forever.
My 16 year old is a D&D master - who knew when he first started playing the game that it would turn into a paying gig for him, get him interested in college geography and cartography classes. Where it will go in the future or if it will fizzle and take another form, we do not know. But he is happy, and expanding his horizons. We took a similar approach with my oldest - his interest being trains and writing about them in a blog and photography and how he is pursuing journalism with a focus on trains and getting paid to write articles.... Got to go with the kids' loves and embrace them, expand them, and be there to listen!
Geoff on April 5, 2013, 7:23 p.m.
Renee, your roleplaying project sounds very fascinating, and I applaud your willingness to stretch your own boundaries for the sake of your kids. If you don't already, you may be interested to know that many basic elements of RPGs have been in use in successful educational programs for quite some time. Are you familiar with the Challenger Learning Center? http://www.challenger.org/ It's an organization set up by the families of the Challenger Shuttle Disaster that encourages teamwork, problem-solving and STEM skills through the lens of a simulated, roleplayed space mission. There are centers located all over the United States and several around the world. If your kids still have an interest in space, or in the applications of roleplaying games, you might be interested in looking into it.
I also recently had a long discussion with one of the players in my game, who is a current tutor, former teacher and an all around brilliant individual. He is dabbling at using a roleplaying structure in the lessons for the child he tutors. It's really fascinating stuff.
Anyway, I also have a couple recommendations for computer games that are good, family-friendly choices for your kids. First, Minecraft is AMAZING! It is essentially playing Legos through a virtual setting, and rather than digging through a bin to find the pieces you need, you have to dig them out of the virtual ground. There is also an organization that has started using the game as an educational tool http://minecraftedu.com/. Here's an introductory video from Joel Levin, the guy behind it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mTf3j2koJA. I play it on my own, with my grown up friends, and also with my fiancee's 10 year old little brother.
You might also be interested in checking out Kerbal Space Program. It's another self-directed game that lets the user build rockets and try to fly around a made-up universe. The orbital mechanics in the game are very realistic, and quite challenging to get the hang of. https://kerbalspaceprogram.com/
Anyway, I apologize for opening the fire hose, but you tapped into a HUGE area of personal interest for me. I am a big gamer in my personal time, and work professionally developing educational exhibits and programs for a museum.
TulipGirl on June 26, 2013, 10:50 p.m.
Hubby is a gamer... has been for years... irl... online...
Over a decade ago he wrote a novel for which there was no market in traditional publishing. Christian military sci-fi? A little too niche. Fast forward to how things have changed, he published it independently, it has been successful, and that is fun. The whole thing was a learning process.
Before it was published, though, his become stories with the boys morphed into RPG ing together... which has morphed into a new writing project. Hubby really credits the role playing for much of his ability to write, and even more credits the plotting and character development with the kids as so important in this new project. Definitely a combo of delight-led learning, working as a family, and always learning and growing.
Who knows where this will lead for your daughter? But I can encourage you the learning more is real and worthy.