Using Video Games to Enhance Learning

I'm such a sucker!

I took my kids "screens" away before school a few days ago and told them they can't have them back for quite a while since they have such a hard time turning them off and starting school for the day.

That lasted all of one day since they all convinced me this morning that the screens they wanted to do were actually school.  I resisted at first but eventually caved. They watched the rest of Harry Potter and the Half- Blood Prince and Ian also worked on the Kindle finishing up some more of Leo's ship.

I ended up caving in because they're right-- this IS school!  

We're reading Harry Potter and comparing the movies to the books.

We're reading the Heroes of Olympus and Ian is doing a follow up project to his reading; recreating the ship he heard described in the story in a virtual world using creativity and problem solving.

I caved because I was proud and happy that they're so interested in what we've been studying that they want to immerse themselves in these fictional worlds.  

What better way to foster a love of reading, books and stories than to let them eat, sleep, and breathe it all day long?

They pretend to be Harry and all the assorted characters that go along with the book in their everyday play.  It's not unusual to hear them making up spells, talking about curses and counter curses.  It's not unusual to hear them talking of being Percy Jackson or any of those assorted character either.

It's led to talk of all sorts of mythical creatures and we even read a non-fiction book about the history of gargoyles the other night because Evan is so interested in gargoyles, griffins, and things like that and requested we read that book at bedtime. 
Ian finished up his Argo II ship; complete with gold dragon head and all.  It was amazing!  And then accidentally set fire to the boat when he tried to put fire in each of the fireplaces.  He learned the hard way how quickly fire spreads and he used both water and bricks to try and stop the fire but he just could not get it under control quickly enough.  He was a bit sad and dejected when the whole ship burned up but he was determined to rebuild it-- bigger and better. 

The younger boys really wanted to listen to more of the Mark of Athena and Ian took the chance to jump on the opportunity to take a road trip.  He got a gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops for his birthday and has been wanting to go to the store to spend it.  He finally convinced the younger boys it would be fun and that we could stop and see all the animals (both live and stuffed) while we were there so the next thing I knew they were packing lunches and I was looking up directions.

We listened to two more complete disks in our story and we're 2/3 of the way through the story.

We watched the fish in the tank and tried to identify them using the sign posted nearby.  We checked out the turtles and watched them for quite some time.  The boys thought it was so funny when one of the turtles slowly climbed right up and over another turtle.

Once home the younger two boys spent the afternoon playing Harry Potter.  I kept hearing yells of "Expectopratonum" and "Alohamora."  I even had to laugh when I heard Alec say "I solemnly swear I am up to no good."  They had so much fun playing and inventing different scenarios together.  They're anxious for me to read more of the book to them so they can learn more spells.  They came to me a few times and asked me if I remembered a certain spell and in dire cases made up their own!

So yeah, video games and electronics aren't all bad. 

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