School gaming

I’m hitting homeschool burnout. I think February is just the burnout month, generally. Holidays are over, summer vacation is ages away, and school has stopped being shiny and fun.

My brother mentioned to me in an email, what would have his storytelling skills been like if he’d been allowed to play role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons at a young age? Which got my wheels turning.

DnD involves math and reading, the two things we’re really working on right now. Could I put together a simple system that the kids could play, that would make math and reading fun and almost unnoticeable?

I came up with a DnD fourth edition Super Light. Just the skill modifiers. A d6 for damage and a d20 for interactions. Anything above a 10 succeeds, anything below it potentially fails.

We built a Lego town and used mini figures for our guys. The first adventure, they kept skeletons from invading a town. The next adventure, they had six NPCs, one of which was a monster in disguise. They had to gather the ingredients for a special cake that would reveal who the monster was.

Yes, the cake exposed a lie. 😀

Now I’m wondering if I could do history this way. We could play the Puritans at Plymouth, and have a FarmVille mini game. And they’d get to interact with Squanto and Bradshaw and Miles Standish and all those other nifty historical guys.

I’d have to do a bunch of research, of course. But hopefully this would make our history reading a lot more fun.

It also helps with burnout. I don’t think we could do it forever–coming up with these adventures is hard work!–but it’s a nice change of pace.

4 thoughts on “School gaming

  1. That’s really cool! And yes, I agree that Feb seems to be the beginning of burn-out for a lot of homeschool moms. We’ve worked really hard to get ahead this year so we can cut things short, and the only reason I’m not completely burnt out is that I can totally see the light at the end of the tunnel!

    BTW, I may have to ask you about D&D for my son. He’s shown an interest in playing, and I only played for a very short time in middle school (read: a looooong time ago) so I have no idea how to get him started….


  2. Kat: Hm, well, you could always just buy the player’s handbook and the DM’s guide, if you or he wants to run some games. It’s definitely a group activity. I learned with 4th edition, which is very streamlined and plays like a video game.


  3. I didn’t realize that a throwaway comment in an email could spark such imagination! It sounds like a really fun way for the kids to learn. You’re at the forefront of innovative schooling, Kess!


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