Thursday, August 24, 2006
The Most Important Room In The House
Braeden started school this week... homeschool. (Yes, Virigina, we'll discuss this development in a later blog post. Chances are pretty good that some of you now are wondering if I'm a right-wing survivalist nut with 2 years of food in my basement & an "enemies list" which includes the president of the local PTA. I'll give you a hint: we don't have a basement & the only thing I'm stockpiling is Pop-Tarts.) Anyway, one of the books Shari is reading on teaching basic skills is The Three R's by Ruth Beechick. The following passage is from the section entitled Real-Life Arithmetic: GAME AREA: Is this your family room, kitchen table, or living room rug? Wherever it's located, you must have this. We list the game area first, so you will read it even if you don't take the time to read the rest of the list. We cannot overemphasize the importance of games for growing children. Much arithmetic is learned as children count moves, compute scores, take turns. but that is only a fraction of the benefits. Numerous thinking skills are developed as children learn to operate within various kinds of rules, plan strategy, and so forth. Sportsmanship & other social skills gradually develop. When children later learn that rules don't have to be rigid, they can develop new twists and live by their own agreed-upon rules. One fifth grader develped an insurance system to accompany Monopoly. He calculated the chances of a player landing on Park Place with a hotel on it, and other expensive events, and balanced this against money he could collect as players pass Go. Then he sold insurance against expensive contingencies. Players could purchase various kinds of policies and make installment payments each time they passed Go. This is complex for young children, of course, but the point to notice here is that years of game experience lead to advanced thinking skills & creativity. I think Ruth Beechick is one very cool lady... and it's great to hear someone acknowledge clearly that the educational power of games goes beyond teaching facts & practicing math skills. Plus, it's a great excuse for having a dedicated game room & a growing game collection, right?!