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)

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