OCTOBER 15, 2020

Why Gameschooling Needs to Be Part of Your Back to Homeschool Plan


The upcoming school year is full of uncertainties. Whether you are new to homeschooling or ready to jump back in, keeping your students engaged and excited to learn is critical. While developing lesson plans and crafting assignments, consider if digital literacy, strategy, and critical thinking techniques are actually incorporated and not just touched upon in your back to school plan. 

What Does Gameschooling Teach?

I consider digital literacy and all strategy techniques under the umbrella of gameschooling. Gameschooling teaches reasoning, analyzing, decision-making, problem-solving, and evaluating difficult situations. All of these skills are vital to real-world practices, and through gameschooling, are taught in a fun and engaging way. 

According to the Mulberry Journal, gameschooling “means to use tabletop gaming (board games and card games) in an intentional way, as part of your personal homeschool culture and educational philosophy.” However, gameschooling is so much more than just tabletop games. Education is drastically changing, and so are games for students.

In the digital age, technology and tabletop games combine and often go hand-in-hand. The future is technology, so it is important to teach students how to interpret vast forms of media now. Be it data collection and general research skills, gameschooling is a great way to introduce students to the digital world. 

Gameschooling encourages students to learn and experiment with application-based practices. The key components of any lesson plan include some sort of exploration or practice time after being introduced to a new subject. By using games in collaboration with schoolwork, students make a connection and will cognitively associate learning with enjoyable activities. 

How To Integrate Gameschooling with Homeschooling

When integrating gaming and homeschooling, remember to identify clear intended outputs first. If you want students to learn math and logic skills, choose games that are built upon these skills. For example, Rummikub is about arranging number tiles into sets or runs to teach pattern recognition. The video game Prodigy is a math-based battle game. There are countless resources out there – encourage your students to research and find games that are appealing to them! 

Any game has clear and evident outcomes, so gameschooling teaches how to identify those outcomes and follow instructions (while giving into curiosity!). For example, the goal of chess is to checkmate your opponent’s king. When goals are outlined and expectations are set at the beginning, students feel confident and are ready to play. 

In addition, the outcomes of the game can match your lesson plan outcomes. If a student learned about coordinate planes and adding or subtracting, they could be tasked with adding how many points each of their chess pieces are worth as well as the name of each chess coordinate. Studies show that when students can apply connections to what they are learning, they are more likely to understand the subject. Gameschooling is all about applied learning!  

While gameschooling is traditionally “board games,” don’t limit yourself. The following resources are great for those seeking to incorporate games into their homeschooling plan: 

More from Ashley on Gameschooling:

More About Ashley Lynn Priore

Ashley Lynn PrioreAshley Lynn Priore is a Pittsburgh native and a current undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in English and Philosophy & Politics with a minor in Economics. An award-winning and nationally ranked player under the United States Chess Federation, Ashley is a competitive chess player, politics enthusiast, writer and poet, social entrepreneur, and public service scholar. Ashley is also the founder and President and CEO of The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute. In 2019, Ashley entered politics and was a candidate for the Pittsburgh Board of Education, District 4. A catalyst for change who started her own business at the early age of 14 years old, Ashley seeks to empower all to use their passions for good.