From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


11/12/2009 4:23:00 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
November 2009--Homeschool Fun and Games

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Dear Friends,

As the days get chillier, your children may spend more time indoors.
You can make the most of all this togetherness with some fun and games
designed to build family relationships while reinforcing skills. Games
promote family bonding while building math, language, and thinking
skills. Game play reinforces both character and curriculum by
encouraging children to take turns, follow directions, think
strategically, and recall information learned or skills developed.

Play a variety of games
Encourage children to play a variety of games, both cooperative and
competitive. Cooperative games give the students a common goal, while
competitive games are opportunities to learn good sportsmanship. While
skills-based games stretch a child academically or logically,
chance-based games level the playing field when children of varying
ages or ability levels are playing together. Some traditional
children's games are geared to the younger set or may be adapted for play by
older siblings with their preschool or primary siblings. While
online or computer games can
spark interest or review concepts, this month we'll focus on concrete,
"in-house" games.

Make games part of the lesson plan
Even the most reluctant or distracted learner can usually be motivated
by games. Carol Barnier, in The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles, shares this insight: "Time
Spent Doing Math: Typical Child--20 minutes; My Child Usually--3
hours; My Child with a Game--30 minutes." Her book is chock-full of
creative, game-style ideas that are helpful for all types of children,
but especially the non-traditional learner.

File folder games and other
educational games can be
integrated into the learning day; if you use workboxes, these activities can go
straight into their boxes. Or you can block out time for games in
their lesson plan books. You could have a math games day one day a week, or
incorporate some vocabulary-based games for language arts. Your kids
may have so much fun learning, you'll make games part of their
everyday routine!

Don't limit yourself to only "educational" games
Board games such as Yahtzee,
True Math, Set, 24, and Number Jumbler are some obvious math choices,
but any game that incorporates money or points can reinforce math
skills. Language games--including Scrabble, Guggenheim, Taboo,
Balderdash, Scattergories, and Password--reinforce vocabulary as well
as thinking skills.

Brainteaser games such as Set and Mindtrap encourage logic and
strategy. Puzzle books, hidden pictures, and I Spy encourage critical
thinking and observation.

Jigsaw puzzles aid in visual discrimination for beginning readers; for
example, a child who can discern the slight variances in puzzle shapes
will be more likely to recognize the differences between a b and a d
or a p and a q. Puzzles can also encourage patience, cooperation,
problem solving, and art appreciation. My girls spent hours together
constructing a 3D puzzle of the U.S. Capitol building .

Trivia games can be useful for reviewing facts such as dates, titles,
biographical info, Bible information, and more. When choosing trivia
games, be sure to consider the ages and abilities of the players. If
they are likely to become a bit too competitive or unevenly matched,
team play can be an option.

Scavenger hunts or treasure
hunts are fun for the older children to design for their younger
siblings. Clues can be riddles to solve or codes to decipher, or
simply directions to follow.

Guess Who?, Battleship, Clue, and Risk encourage critical thinking and
strategy, while more active games like Twister, Pictionary, Cranium,
Charades, and Guesstures can get the muscles and imaginations going
(as well as the laughter!).

Pencil-and-paper games such as hangman, word searches, crossword puzzles,
complete-the-square, tic-tac-toe, Guggenheim, and Mad Libs can occupy
hands and minds on errand days and holiday trips. Cards for Uno, Old
Maid, Go Fish, and War also
travel well.

Family fun night
There are games designed specifically for family interaction:
Imaginiff and the Ungame encourage sharing of opinions, thoughts, and
laughter. Jeff Myers developed The Story Game from a card deck he
wrote for his own family gatherings. Several years ago, Todd Wilson
created To Bethlehem for his
own family, to allow him to interact with his kids, laugh and act
goofy, and help them focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

So plan to bake a homemade pizza or other family favorite, maybe
pop some popcorn, and gather around the table for a game night that the whole family will
anticipate all week.

Blessings to you and your family,

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Early Years coordinator

"There are many kinds of success in life worth having. It is
exceedingly interesting and attractive to be a successful business
man, or railroad man, or farmer, or a President, or a ranchman, or the
colonel of a fighting regiment, or to kill grizzly bears and lions.
But for unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if
things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success
and achievement lose their importance by comparison."
--Theodore Roosevelt,
Autobiography, 1913

More ideas, if you are "game":

Have a family game night* in
place of your regular monthly homeschool meeting.

Start a weekly or monthly game club in your area, using chess or other
board games.

Design your own board games or
card packs.

* The Story Game is not currently available for retail sale but may be
found in the used market.

Vicki's Upcoming Speaking Engagements

January 2010
21 Annandale homeschoolers (Capital Baptist co-op)
29-30 Leadership Symposium and Mid-Year Conference- AFHE, Phoenix

26-27 Nevada regional homeschool conferences (Carson City, Las


9 HSLDA High School Symposium
15-17 Minnesota Assoc. of Christian Home Educators

23-24 MassHOPE (Massachusetts) state convention

26 Leesburg area homeschoolers

27-29 North Carolina Home Educators state convention

Note: Web links are provided as a sampling of resources available.
Although we screen links for suitability, we cannot guarantee the
accuracy of all information on external sites. Inclusion or exclusion
should not necessarily be construed to be an HSLDA endorsement or
censorship of any resource or site. Parents are encouraged to use
discernment in selecting websites and materials appropriate for their

-> How long are you in for?

Some families are facing what seems like a lifelong commitment to
homeschooling, with children at both ends of the spectrum -- some
graduating and some just reaching school age. If you're going to
be "in" for a while, consider a lifetime membership with HSLDA.
It's a good deal for families with more than 10 years of
homeschooling ahead.

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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