How to Choose Video Games for Homeschoolers, by Jenna Sherman

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While video games can sometimes be looked down upon, there are many games that can boost your child’s knowledge and skills. Games can often be used for lesson plans, remote learning programs, and after-school routines. Not all games are perfect, however; this guide will help distinguish the good from the bad and help parents navigate issues around screen time limits, parental controls, and other challenges.

Games for tricky subjects

Gaming can be great for kids who have a difficult time in certain subjects. For example, if math is challenging for your child, look into online math games that can make the subject more fun and the concepts easier to understand. Science is another subject in which games can be helpful: there are games that help teach everything from the periodic table of elements to understanding human anatomy. Be sure to find a science game that’s interesting and relevant to your child’s education.

The good and the bad

While you may be eager to get your child playing new games for their lessons, it’s important to read reviews and find the best options available. Some of the best homeschooling games are filled with fun graphics, well-thought-out storylines, and engaging content.

Starfall is a great game that is designed to help younger children with math and language arts. Raz-Kids is a fun option that offers games, quizzes, interactive books mainly focused on reading and comprehension. However, not all games have to cover specific subjects: games such as Myst encourage children to think critically, use their imagination, and solve puzzles.

While you may find games that seem great, the real test will be when your child begins to play: be sure to monitor their enjoyment and interest to judge whether it’s helpful for them. Before buying a game for your child, read parental reviews, and determine whether the rating is right for your child.

Parental moderation

Before your kids begin to play video games, be sure to think about a few factors including limiting screen time, utilizing parental controls, and ensuring you have the right technology to support video games.

While games can be great for educational development, it’s a good idea to limit your child’s amount of screen time each day. Some recommend limiting screen time to one hour per day, but the important thing is to encourage a balance between physical activity and video games. Remember that socializing is also important for children who homeschool, so be sure to incorporate ways for your child to play with other children. And remember to always encourage kindness, empathy, civility, and respect in your children.

Parental controls will vary between video games, but a general rule of thumb is to enhance security controls for online games. Along with vigilance about online security, you may want to set controls on their devices that can limit the games your child can play, when they can play them, and for how long.

Along with time limits and parental controls, think about ways to enhance your child’s experience with getting the right technology. Many games can be played on mobile devices and laptops, but others require specific consoles. If other family members want to play games as well, it might be worth getting a console that can support different types of games.

Online games require a strong internet connection to work properly, so it might be a good idea to boost your internet speeds. Consider getting a fiber optic connection that will allow for minimal lag and buffering. Games will be smoother to play online, and you’ll have much faster download speeds.

Gaming can be a great tool for homeschooling children who struggle in particular subject areas. Games provide an engaging learning platform that can make tough subjects seem more interesting. Children can learn to problem-solve and explore critical thinking skills, all while learning how to use technology. Just remember to monitor your child’s usage and use parental controls to limit screen time.

Jenna Sherman created Parent Leaders to be all about what parents can do to make sure their children grow up to be strong, independent, successful adults. By providing a collection of valuable, up-to-date, authoritative resources, she hopes to help other parents acquire the skills they need to raise future leaders. Jenna is mom to three children — two girls and a boy.