By Corinne Jacob
For many homeschooled teenagers, there is a period where unstructured learning translates to playing video games pretty much all the time. No matter how strongly one believes in learning the natural way, there are bound to be a few misgivings about letting your child sit in front of the gaming console the entire day. After all, what, if anything, do kids learn from video games?! The answer is pretty reassuring. Kids learn a great deal of real-world skills and often even scholastic and workplace ones when they engage in playing video games that they love. Here are some of the things your homeschooler learns from video games:
1. Scholastic Skills
Some video games are designed to impart lessons in science, math, geography and other subjects to players while they’re having fun. For instance, the online game ‘School of Dragons‘ is built around the movie ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ and imparts lessons in science to the players as they go about raising and training their own dragon. Similarly, ‘Immune Attack‘ teaches kids biology as they train a body to fight cancer and the United Nations’ game ‘Food Force’ teaches kids about humanitarian issues and the functioning of charity organizations. However, kids learn important information about the world even when they’re playing games that are not designed to teach them. For example, kids pick up a lot about mythology when they play fantasy games with a mythological storyline. Similarly games about building an empire teach players about the different periods in history and the life and social structure in those ages.
2. Independent Research
The video games that teenagers play require a great deal of skill, knowledge and practice to win. Very often, a certain puzzle or challenge seems too difficult to solve. In these cases, players look to external resources for help. Whether this is reading through the game guide or looking online for help from other players, there is a lot of research involved in this process. Speed reading, skimming through information, judging the reliability and credibility of the source and learning to look for information online are just some of the important research-related skills that kids pick up naturally as they get involved in video gaming.
3. Problem Solving and Strategic Thinking Skills
When playing video games, players constantly find themselves in new and challenging situations. In order to successfully navigate the game, they must be alert and make quick decisions about strategy. Many games also have a puzzle-like component to it, requiring players to use their logical thinking and problem solving skills to get by. In fact, this constant strategizing and problem solving is one of the main reasons children enjoy playing video games so much. As many studies have shown, video games have a positive effect on the problem solving skills of regular players.
MMO games often involve situations where players must work in a team to emerge victorious. Such games boost team work, collaboration and even leadership skills among players. These skills are greatly valued in the workforce and children who develop these skills as teenagers have a competitive advantage over their peers in the workplace.
Teenagers who play video games learn the importance of perseverance in achieving goals. Video games require a great deal of constant hard work in order to reach higher levels and to “level up”. As they play these games, kids imbibe lessons in staying focused, refusing to give up, and the value of hard work.
6. Money Management
Many video games have in-game stores where players use their game currency to buy products that help them perform better. When managing their finances independently, teenagers quickly learn important lessons in handling money like budgeting, saving, and evaluating products for their usefulness versus their cost.
The learning process for each child is unique and depending on your own child’s interests and the games he plays, you might find a few more items you could add to this list! As for the negative effects of sitting immobile for hours while playing video games, with the right guidance and monitoring, this play time can be easily regulated. So the next time you’re about to tell your homeschooler off for playing video games again, bite your tongue and remember that anything that can make learning so much fun is certainly doing a better job than most classrooms can.
Author Bio –
Corinne Jacob is a professional writer and a mum of 2 who creates fun learning material for kids. Convinced that kids learn best when they’re having fun, Corinne is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. She is often found “testing” cool educational games.