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While my kids love to play outside with their friends, ride bikes, and their skateboards; like most kids their age, they also enjoy their “electronics” time inside. They especially like to play against each other, because it often gives the younger ones an opportunity to “win” against their older sister. I like knowing that their “electronics” time includes educational games without them knowing it.
Something I didn’t know before we began our homeschooling journey is that active learning time at home is very efficient and therefore, there is a lot of free time to fill during the day. It’s pretty easy for them to spend hours researching something online and then that leads to switching to playing games without me noticing. As you can imagine, I’ve learned to create structure around the use of electronics with having to earn their screen time.
I’ve also had to find ways to keep them learning without making them feel like they are doing more “classwork” and filling out another worksheet. One of our new recent discoveries and already a favorite is Words With Friends EDU, a free educational game based on the hit gameplay of Words With Friends.
What’s great is that we all love game-night at our house. Even we, the adults, get competitive playing against the kids on game night. But during the day, they like to play against other homeschooled friends even though they aren’t around for an in-home play date.
Playing online educational games during their earned electronics time is a great way to keep them learning outside of doing homework, all while socializing with friends. What I like about Words With Friends EDU is that the game is designed to support in-classroom success by helping 4th-8th graders learn high-value academic words, which is perfect for Sofia and Alex, who both love electronics and could use a little extra support in the language area.
Since it was developed by teachers and education experts, I know they are actively learning, and it allows for parents to easily track their kids’ gameplay, who is learning what and measure their individual achievements, for example.
Over Thanksgiving break, while the kids were off, we allowed them to have a little extra electronics time and play more Words With Friends EDU than usual. Their friends were off school as well, so this gave them a chance to engage remotely all while learning.
Little did they know, both dad and I tracked their learning while they played; and we even got to play with the kids. But don’t worry, they competed based on their skill level and growth, not ours!
I realize that most of you are not homeschooling your kids and looking for time to fill with educational tools during the day; however, many of us spend a lot of time waiting around during after school activities, and Words With Friends EDU is the perfect game to play during a sibling’s activity.
What ways do you make learning fun, outside of the textbooks and classroom?