Posted in Homeschool Information

2014 Reader Favourites

2014 reader favouritesHappy New Year! 2014 is over. Can you believe it? It’s always interesting to see which posts were the most popular (had the most page views) over the course of a year. Knowing what you, my readers, love most helps me determine what to give you more of in 2015! I hope this post also helps you catch some posts you may enjoy and missed the first time around! Here are your favourite posts of the year!

2014 Reader Favourites

Number 1: Sewing a Frozen Elsa Costume (Part 1-3)

sewing a frozen elsa costume

Collectively, these three posts about the process of making an Elsa costume for my daughter’s dance solo, are the favourite post. There must have been a lot of little Elsas running around this year.

Number 2: Teaching Kids to Knit

teaching kids to knit
I love knitting and thoroughly enjoyed teaching my own kids to knit, starting when they were each about 4 years old. Here you will find some tips for getting your children started.

Number 3: Educational Board Games

educational board games
Board games are a big part of our homeschool and our lives in general. In my opinion, all board games are educational. Here you will find some of our favourites and what your kids can learn from them.

Number 4: Day in the Life Week 2014

day in the life
Here you will find out what a typical day is like in our homeschool, with one Gr. 11 and one Gr. 6 student this year.

Number 5: Not Back to School Day 2014

not back to school day 2014

We love to celebrate the first day of homeschool as a Not Back to School Day with other homeschoolers each year.

Number 6: Culinary Arts in the Homeschool – Cake Decorating

cake decorating
My 10 year old daughter has been heavily into cake decorating this year. I share what she’s been up to and a great resource to help with the culinary arts in your homeschool.

Number 7: Delay Formal Math?

Math
Delaying formal math is a surprising concept for some homeschoolers, but it has worked well for us. We waited until each of our kids were around Gr. 4 until we introduced a formal math curriculum. Read what we did instead and how it worked.

Number 8: Curriculum Week 2014

curriculum week

Every year we share what curricula we are using (or planning to use). Read about our 2014-2015 curriculum plan.

I hope you enjoyed Homeschooling in Nova Scotia in 2014! I’m looking forward to sharing in 2015. Did you have a favourite 2014 post? Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions for you or your homeschool? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

Posted in Homeschool Information, Things to Do, Places to Go

Educational Board Games: Board Games in Your Homeschool

Board games are a big part of our lives! We play them often as a family or with friends – in fact, about twice a year we have a “Board Game Day” in our home, inviting friends of all ages to play board games together all day and into the night. We also incorporate board games into our homeschool day. I believe that they are all educational board games – there is something to be learned from any board game. I often tell people that if I had an unlimited income, I would teach using nothing but board games! It would be possible to have a game for every topic and every subject. When thinking of board games, most people are familiar with Scrabble and Monopoly, but there are so many more out there!

Educational Board Games for Your Homeschool

educational board games

Math
Almost any board game includes math concepts – using arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) at the very least, including:

  • Wits ‘n Wagers Family Edition – odds and estimation skills (You can even find a link to a lesson plan to go with it at Board Game Geek)
  • Sorry – arithmetic and probability
  • Battleship – use of Euclidian geometry (the “x” and “y” axis)

Economics

  • Monopoly – buy, sell, trade, taxes, etc.
  • Settlers of Catan – trade, co-operation, and strategy
  • The Game of Life – post-secondary education, marriage, family, and retire in the countryside or become a millionaire – real life simplified
  • India Rails – resource management, and geography as well

Reading/Spelling

  • Scrabble (including the Jr. edition) – if you tire of playing in English, play in Latin, or French
  • Boggle – also exercises the spatial, mathematical part of your brain
  • Pick Two – this is like playing a fast-paced game of Scrabble, creating your own words while racing against everyone else

Writing

  • Once Upon a Time – get the creative juices flowing by participating in some oral storytelling as a family, then use it as a springboard to write down stories
  • Heroscape – tabletop fantasy battle game involving fantasy storylines and characters (mythology, comic book heroes etc.), strategy, and critical thinking

Literature
There are many trivia board games based on literature, or play a game set in the world of the book you’re reading to enhance learning:

  • Lord of the Rings Trivia – learn every minute detail of Tolkien’s world
  • Chapters: The Board Game – includes categories such as Fiction and Literature, Classics, Non-fiction, Children’s Books, and Canadian Literature

Critical Thinking
Board games for building strategies and strategic thinking:

  • Chess – fantastic for critical thinking – you always have to be thinking a move or more ahead
  • Stratego – whether original, Lord of the Rings, or another version
  • Clue – use those deduction powers, just like Sherlock Holmes

History & Geography

  • Axis & Allies – teaches all about World War II and the geography of the countries involved
  • Guillotine – if your family has a morbid sense of humour, have fun with the French Revolution
  • Notre Dame – economy, sociology, and the Black Plague
  • Risk – learn about the continents while using your critical thinking skills or enjoy a fantasy or futuristic world version (i.e. Risk 2210)
  • Ticket to Ride – European or North American version – learn about the cities and countries
  • Civilize This – a trivia game with Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern categories.

Cultural Games
Play games from other cultures to learn more about them (many are available as printouts online):

  • Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) – you’ll even become familiar with some Chinese characters
  • Mancala – ancient game from the Middle-East.
  • Hounds and Jackals – ancient Egyptian

Science

  • Planet Earth DVD Board Game – Life Science
  • Starfarers of Catan –Space/Astronomy

Sports

  • Don’t Quote Me Sports Edition – quotes from famous athletes.
  • Blood Bowl – football, but with a violent, fantasy twist – deals with probability and geometry.

Teamwork

  • Co-operative games are fantastic for teaching children to work as a team:
  • The Hobbit – work together to steal all the gems from Smaug the dragon – work with probability, exercise your memory, recitation, etc.
  • Any game from Family Pastimes – great educational, co-operative games for all ages.

Social Skills
Yes, the dreaded S-word! Almost any board game involves socializing with others. The ultimate in board game socializing is The Great Canadian Board game Challenge which is held across Canada and which we sometimes participate in at our local convention, Hal-Con.

  • Say Anything Family – your children have to think about how OTHERS think and feel.
  • Scene It – original, kids, or any of its many variations – enjoy movie clips while exercising your spatial, memory, and observation skills, while laughing together.

Choose a game about the place or time you’re learning about to enhance your homeschool studies. Trivia games can be used as a review of what you’ve learned. Are you trying to teach something specific that you would like to find a board game for? The most comprehensive list of boardgames anywhere is at www.Boardgamegeek.com. You will even find reviews of the games so you can decide if you would like to purchase or not.

*And if you want to be even more creative in your homeschool, give your children some Bristol board and some markers and challenge them to create their own educational board games. Who knows, they may even design the next “Trivial Pursuit”!*

What are your favourite educational board games in your homeschool? Have your children ever made their own board game?

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly