Friday, 24 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 15

DAY 15

Sprout continued his Skyrim quest first thing, searching for Sheogorath, the prince of madness. He found him, seated at a table set for tea, in the middle of a forest. He noted the similarity to the Mad Hatter :) I commented on the similarity between the name of his Daedric artefact, the Wabbajack, to the Jabberwocky, and he asked me briefly about that. He also found the Northern Lights, experimenting with character points of view to see how they looked the best, and telling me about the real northern lights. 
(Achieving goals, following story, comprehension, physics, literacy, making connections)

Squidge played a bit of Spiral, which was frustratingly difficult, and then some Blockheads, which is always a favourite he comes back to. He and Moppet then played around with effects on Snapchat and MSQRD.
(Hand eye coordination, creativity)


Squidge and Moppet showed their grandma and grandpa their Pokedex, explaining which had the best CP, which ones evolved into what, and showing the symbols to tell whether they were male or female
(Numeracy, literacy, science)
Squidge showed them some Velociraptors on his AR app, and was telling me their size in relation to humans. He also showed me a couple of his new apps, including Steps, and Fit in the Hole.
(Prehistory, numberacy, comparisons, hand eye coordination, problem solving)


We all had a few games of Heads Up, using the animals pack.
(General knowledge, literacy, quick thinking)

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 14

DAY 14

Before we had friends round in the morning, Squidge and Moppet teamed up on Pokémon Go, and asked me to help them write out notes of their highest CP Pokémon in their Pokedex.
(Literacy, numeracy, teamwork)

In breaks between seeing friends and trampolining in the afternoon, Sprout played some Skyrim, looking for a loot store and some specific skulls that he wanted for his collection (he's installed a mod so that he keeps them when he finds them). He also installed a 'new and vibrant' mod (I'll find the actual name if I get chance!) and showed me round a couple of the areas the show me how it made the surroundings really beautiful, and compared it to the way it normally looks, commenting on the way it made the game feel different. He later started on one of the missions and played it through.
(Literacy, comprehension, achieving goals, problem solving, aesthetics)

Squidge found his 2DS and played a bit of Pokémon Blue and Red, and also a bit of Face Raiders. He played these on his way to two activities (trampolining and jujitsu) that he really wants to join in with but gets anxious about. Engaging with games that he loves helps him not to focus on feeling worried, and although he hasn't joined the classes yet, he's made it into the room of both, and got increasingly close to joining, for which I'm so proud. The games he enjoys are invaluable in this regard!
(Hand eye coordination, literacy, transitioning)

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Days 11 to 13

DAYS 11-13

A bit of a catch up here as birthday preparations took precedence! I've forgotten some things already, but here are some of them...

Sprout went back on Skyrim today, he decided on a couple of new locations to visit, and had memorised the compass directions for each one in relation to another city.
(Navigation, memorisation, planning, problem solving)

Squidge and Gruff played on their Minecraft world together, doing some fishing :)
(Teamwork, planning)

Sprout and Squidge sat together for a bit, and Squidge showed Sprout a couple of apps he's currently enjoying, including Six!, klocki and I Love Hue, and then they both played them, chatting about their achievements and precarious moments.
(Social skills, teamwork, sharing information, colours, observation, problem solving, hand eye coordination, planning ahead)

Minecraft Day was the day after, and the boys played on their LAN world with a friend. Squidge teamed up with them, and also built some pokemon, while Sprout concentrated on the development of his hub, talking me through the progress later. He accidentally deleted a command block, so  went and found the coordinates again and reprogrammmed the block.
(Teamwork, art, problem solving, programmming, numeracy, literacy, social skills, creativity, plannning and execution)


Sprout was back on Subnautica later on and the next day, which is an ongoing favourite. He worked on his increasingly extensive base, explaining to me whhat he had modified in order to concentrate on the creative side rather than survival. He showed me round the new parts of his base, and also the new sub that he crafted.
(Creativity, planning and execution, problem solving)

Squidge and Moppet caught some more of the Gen 2 Pokemon on Pokemon Go, and spent some time working out how many more candies they'd need to evolve various ones.
(Numeracy, teamwork, literacy)

Saturday, 18 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 10

DAY 10

A little bit of gaming today, but I utterly failed to take any photos!

Sprout adventured in Skyrim, opting to explore rather than play the story mode. He's just told me that he's planning on doing story mode tomorrow, as there's a location he wants to reach which he needs to unlock.

Squidge eventually played some Besiege, after a few technical difficulties installing it we freed up some space onn his hard drive, and enabled sharing on Sprout's Steam account to test it out, and double checked the specs as they differed in two places that we found them. Success in the end, and lots of building and destruction ensued :)

(Literacy, IT skills, numeracy, navigation, reaching goals, problem solving, physics, creativity)

Friday, 17 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 9


So, in an interesting twist there were no videogames played by these three today. Interesting for no other reason really, than a lot of people think that if you don't limit videogames, they'll play them all day, every day. Nope! They've played make believe games together, done some handstand competitions, watched a couple of tv programmes, tasted some Japanese candy when their Tokyo Treat box arrived, helped me tidy up (voluntarily)... but no videogames :)
(Listening to their own bodies, following what interests them)

Eating the Japanese version of Hula Hoops

Thursday, 16 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 8


On our way to trampolining today Sprout's favourite song came on the radio, and he chatted about the song, the game he knew it from, game sountracks, which led game reboots and their relative successes (or lack of), and reasons why he thought that might be. 
Squidge asked me how many people were coming trampolining, and when I said 'about 30' he asked how many that was compared to a Minecraft stack of items, so I told him about half.
(Music, making connections, problem solving, media, marketing, retail, numeracy)

After trampolining, Squidge used some money he'd saved to get he and Sprout a couple of goes on the arcade, and I helped Moppet out too, so she went on a horse ride game, Mario Kart and Super Bikes 2 (which she LOVED!), and the boys raced each other on Super Bikes 2 (coming 1st and 2nd in the multiplayer race) and then Mario Kart (3rd and 4th).
(Sharing, social skills, hand eye coordination, numeracy)

 Back at home Squidge wanted to set up ARK for Gruff to play with him, so we looked at how much it was, whether we could afford it, whether Gruff's PC would run it, and when the site said that it wouldn't, we crossed checked the figures and tried to decide if it might be worth trying.
(IT skills, search skills, numeracy, sharing, teamwork)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 7

Squidge and Moppet started the day by playing some Mario Kart together. 
(Teamwork, social skills, fun!)

Squidge watched a video of a new Rocket League update, called Rumble, so we looked at the different menus, and did some googling, until we found where it was, then he played it for a while. He won the first two matches and was really proud :)
(Literacy, hand eye coordination, internet search skills)

Sprout and Squidge played Boid together for a while, which is a  fast paced strategy game based on the competitive survival of organisms. They got annoyed wth each their after a while, so I helped them both move onto other things. 
(Hand eye coordination, social skills, teamwork, problem solving, survival of the fittest, evolution, science)

Squidge played Overwatch for a while by himself, and calmed down after arguing, then moved onto Skylanders Imaginators and worked on levelling up.
(literacy, social skills, hand eye coordination, numeracy, creativity) 

Sprout played on Fallout 3 for a while, doing the standard story.
(Literacy, comprehension, history, goals, problem solving) 

Squidge then moved onto his PC to play Ark, and asked me for help finding out how to craft items, then went and found the objects with which to do so.

(Literacy, problem solving, working towards a goal, internet search skills, following instructions)

Once Gruff was home he and Squidge went on their new Minecraft world and worked on their new mob farm.
(Teamwork, working towards a goal, problem solving, literacy, numeracy)

#100daysofvideogames Day 6

Sprout rediscovered Plague inc evolved today, and chatted to me lots about the options that you use as the pathogen to either wipe out or enslave the human race. It involved virulence, viruses, bacteria, Ebola, DNA, RNA... we looked up electron microscope scans of various viruses and he was curious about how close to real life it was... he told me about the similarity of one aspect of the game to Alien's xenomorphs... talked about what affects the success of a pathogen, whether wiping out its host is wise, how severity or otherwise might lead to better or worse spread... he told me about looking at infecting high density populations in poorer areas compared to lower density and richer areas, and the comparative consequences of this. He asked me what I thought the necro virus might be, and after guessing something quickly fatal, or something necrotising, I guessed at a zombie virus which he gleefully confirmed was correct :) We chatted briefly about the behaviour modification in mice due to toxoplasma, and in snails due to Leucochloridium. He talked about being able to edit the genetic code of the pathogen, and we talked briefly about the reality of genetic editing for hereditary disease. He told me that the viruses have a much higher mutation frequency than the bacteria, which affects the human's ability to cure them, and we chatted briefly about the similarity to real life viruses and bacteria.

(Microbiology, epidemiology, genetics, making connections. literacy, numeracy, sociology)

He also played a bit more Fallout 4, utilising some underwater power armour. He told me that it lets you breathe underwater, plus also used two tactical buoys on the arms. He laughed and said that that was buoys with a U, and said, "I don't just strap two random males to my arms." We'd all had a conversation about homophones the other day, and he said it was like that.
(Humour, making connections, literacy, problem solving, humour)

We went to the park and Squidge took his AR dinosaur book, as he'd been waiting to go somewhere really open to generate the bigger ones. He was excited at how big they were, and thought it was funny that if you walked in front of the camera it glitched and the dinosaur attahed itself to your head :)
(Prehistory, technology)

Monday, 13 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 5


The boys' Loot Gaming crate came in the post today, and they were very pleased to each get something from a game they love. Sprout got some Psychonauts goggles, a Resident Evil Tshirt, and a Megaman helmet model, and Squidge got a Portal 2 tie, which we had fun learning to tie, and the box itself, which turned into a companion cube when you refolded it.  

We have a Minecraft Day each week at our house, where friends come along and join us on an LAN world. Today Sprout designed and built a floating, gold and glass community hub, ready for other players on the world to build trade centres off the side of. He based it on eight beacons, and talked me through his design ideas, and how they had changed as he built it depending on what worked and what didn't, how he visualised how to make a circle out of square blocks, and how the colours differed while he was wearing his Psychonauts goggles. He set up command blocks to and from the hub, setting the coordinates and entering a bit of code to teleport players. Meanwhile Squidge and their visiting friend began a mine and a house, then went to explore the world itself;  Squidge perfected remembering how to change game modes himself in the chat line, and also teleporting other players. 
(Design, creativity, numeracy, literacy, social skills, problem solving)

Moppet played Bubble Witch Saga 3 for a little while, showing me some moves that she was especially proud of where she cleared lots of the bubbles :) 
(Hand eye coordination, colours, numeracy)

Squidge was playing on Turbo Dismount for a while, designing the crashes for maximum humour, for example a dummy hanging of the side of a shopping trolley. He was showing Sprout and their grandpa and they were all laughing about it together.
(Physics, humour, imagination)

Squidge played Six! in the car, and was concentrating pretty hard on beating his high score.  
(Hand eye coordination, shapes, colours, physics)

Squidge played the Gmod Diamond Sword song for his grandparents, and he and his grandma danced to it and laughed a lot. 
(Humour, music, connections)

Moppet spent some time on the Baby Twins app, drawing a picture of herself in a ballet outfit, along with Squidge as a toddler. 
(Art, creativity, imagination)

Sunday, 12 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 4


Squidge played some GMod Tower, and loaded a mod, to make me laugh, which sings a Diamond Sword song (that me, him, and one of his friends used to sing to be silly) when you use the sword.
He and Gruff played on their Minecraft World, which crashed, leaving a problem where the world was visible in the saves but not in the launcher, so they started a new world and he built a new house for a little while, and then we looked online for a solution, and after moving some files around and replacing some others, we retrieved the lost world. Happy boy! 
Moppet also opened a Minecraft world up to LAN for Squidge to join her, and did some exploring and breaking blocks. 
(Humour, music, computer skills, social skills, IT skills, problem solving)

Sprout watched some Undertale: The Musical videos, which he loves to sing along to, and also loves telling me about the lyrics and the humour and relevance of them.
(Humour, music, making connections)

He also played some more Fallout 4, which glitched somewhat, making it impossible for him to talk to one of the NPCs, so he tried a few things on the console to try and rectify things. This is still underway, so hopefully he'll sort it out! 
(Problem solving, IT skills, achieving goals)

Saturday, 11 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 3


Sprout worked on a settler hub he's been building on Fallout 4, looking closely at the needs of settlers in terms of food, water, comfort, happiness, agriculture, trading, robots... He learnt a couple of new words, including what a marquee sign is, and mentioned to me a word spelling that had surprised him, and how he had expected it to be spelt based on how it sounded. He showed me how to design an EyeBot with certain qualities to suit what you were going to use it for, and showed me his whole collection of them and what aspects he had chosen for each of them. He also showed me how he'd cordoned off a hazard for the settlers.
 (building, design, creativity, communities, human needs, spelling, literacy, hazards, problem solving, function and design)

The subject of the seven basic plots of stories came up while we were chatting about something else, and he told me how Undertale was like a role reversal of one of those plots, and explained why. 
(Literacy, comprehension)

Squidge and Gruff worked on their Minecraft world. Their redstone farm got finished, and Squidge showed me all the stacks of 64 sugar cane they had already, and then they helped each other make a new mob farm, and Squidge built some more of his house, including a chest for one of his friends to keep their items in. He showed me round the extensive network of mines and tunnels that connects various locations, and showed me where he'd written the coordinates of his house.
(Design, creativity, numeracy, navigation, memorisation, problem solving, cause and effect, teamwork, literacy)

Friday, 10 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 2


Sprout played some more Sonic on the way to a play area today, and was really pleased to get further than he'd ever managed before, beating a particularly hard part of the game. He then played some Drive Ahead!, laughing that he was driving a celestial teapot, which lead to a conversation about Russell's teapot, a bit of religion, and a Nerd Cubed video about Universe Sandbox where the teapot had also been referenced. 
Squidge and Moppet played some more Pokemon Go, with Squidge helping her again with how it worked. Squidge hatched his first really good 10km egg, really excited to get a Scyther, which he knew by sight but hadn't caught before as it is difficult to catch. 
(Persistence, determination, philosophy, religion, history, making connections, distances, literacy, team work, social skills)

At the play area, Sprout, Squidge and I played some Angry Birds guess who, with Sprout showing me how to tell the difference between the different genres of Angry Birds. He and I later played some Fruit Ninja too, chatted about when we watched a YouTuber at Insomnia play a VR version of it, and also looked into the alpha version of a new game, ECO
(Strategy, patterns, hand eye coordination, making connections, technology)

Back at home, Squidge asked me to help him change the video settings on ARK as the game was lagging, so we decreased the graphics quality in order to improve the playbility. He then played it for a while looking for Pokemon, as we'd previously installed a mod to put them in game, and designed a caricatured avatar. Sprout asked me to help reinstall his Fallout 4 Nexus mods as they hadn't worked properly yesterday, so we googled and found a different way of doing it, then he took over and sorted the problem out, then downloaded the ECO game he'd liked the look of. We chatted briefly about what the limitations of the alpha version might be, and what our expectations might be, and whether it would be feasible to set up our own server or whether it would be better to play on an existing one. He then played both Fallout 4 and ECO for a while, while watching some gaming videos on YouTube, and talking to me about what he thought the limitations might be of the 3D printed Fallout 4 helmet he was planning. 
(IT skills, problem solving, team work, dinosaurs, prehistory, character design, Cold War, nuclear war, home design, humour, nutrition, ecology, communities, civilisations, anatomy, creativity)

Thursday, 9 February 2017

#100daysofvideogames Day 1

I blogged so regularly, previously, for a couple of reasons: firstly, to share with my husband, before he was so sure about home education and radical unschooling, all the cool things that we did while he was at work; secondly, because other people's home ed blogs, away from all the sensation-seeking of media pieces, were what first inspired me with the possibilities of what my kids' childhood could look like, and I wanted to pay that forward.

Without videogames, our lives wouldn't look like what they do. There are so many exciting, engaging, wonderful moments that Sprout, Squidge and Moppet have had that have sprung, in one way or another, from a videogame: our road trip to go down a real gold mine, a la Minecraft; Sprout making a Minecraft book and getting to show it to his then-hero of YouTube, Sky, and get him to sign it; all of them getting to see their now-hero of YouTube, DanTDM, live, and later read his Minecraft-based storybook; our visit to an almost mystical little lapidary store on the hunt for gems that they recognised; completing games that they had worked on and concentrated on for sometimes months on end; animated conversations at all hours of the day about in-game stories, wins and losses, radioactive isotopes, alternative futures, Pokemon progress, 3D printing, costume design practicalities, evolution, religion, maths...

Videogames are not the entirety of our lives, but they're a fun, interesting, engaging, exciting, monumentally wide ranging group of resources that it would seem a huge shame to reject, so instead we embrace them, along with books, museums, food, people, music, play, and any other part of the world that makes the children light up.

#100daysofhomeed is something that a lot of people I know are taking part in right now, to share the wonderful variety of things that home educators do with our children in our daily lives. I wanted to do something a bit more specific, and as gaming is to the early 21st Century what reading was to the 18th, I'm going to focus on that. I'm not in the habit of dissecting what I think my children are learning from everything they do, as being with them on a daily basis it's visible to me more organically than that, but for the purposes of this little project I will add, each day, some aspects of each thing that are 'educational', to help people unsure of how a child can learn to read from Minecraft, or how a child can one day just understand fractions, without ever being taught. 

So here goes. #100daysofvideogames


On the way to art group, Squidge chatted to me about painting his videogame characters he made from clay last week, and then showed me on google images how he wanted to paint them. He stuck to his plan for two of them, made up a design for another, and found a mash up character between Pokemon and Overwatch for the final one.
(Art, creativity, internet search skills, imagination, design)

Sprout and I chatted a bit at the art group, and more later, about his latest goals on Fallout 4 (his current favourite game). He told me about the character armour he was currently using, what he had had to do to find it, where he went wrong that he would do differently next time, how he realised that one of the weapons was homing even though it hadn't stated it, why he is going to start the game over from the beginning, and what he is planning to achieve on it this evening.  At home later on he searched for some mods online, downloaded them, asked for some help to install them, installed them himself with some pointers from Google, and explained to me how the mods were going to help with the issue he was having of not having enough room for his items, and his desire to display the Nuka Cola bottles in the residence he had designed. 
Squidge chatted to someone, who he had linked up with on Empire, about a problem changing character name, and plans to play.
(working towards goals, problem solving, social skills, reasoning, deduction, comprehension, game mechanic, IT skills)

Travelling to meet friends at Gladstone Pottery, Squidge helped Moppet with some aspects of Pokemon Go, which he has been playing since it was released, but she is new to. The caught some new Pokemon, expressed excitement at the ones for the Valentines event, looked at how many pokeballs they had left, studied the map and asked me if I could go round a different way to go via a pokestop, told me that Squidge was a quarter of the way to the next level. and commiserated with each other when Pokemon escaped. Sprout, meanwhile, was playing Turbo Dismount. He explained the game to me, as I have tried and failed to play it well, then spent some time redesigning his character, and completing a level, explaining to me that the only level it seems possible to complete is one with a hidden area, and other than that it's the amount and style of damage that matters. *Lots* of laughter. He also played some Sonic, got frustrated with it, told me how many rings he had had, how many he needed and why, and how far he had been from his goal.
At the pottery itself, aside from looking at the museum itself, there was a spot of Pokemon hunting too.
(Maths, fractions, frequencies, social skills, team work, map reading, lateral thinking, humour, dealing with frustration)