Homeschooling FUNdamentals: Ten Online Gaming Options

Welcome back to the FUNdamentals blog series. In the last post, we covered five easy science experiments to inject some fun into your homeschool learning. In this post, we’ll cover how to incorporate gaming, specifically online gaming options, into your homeschool to put more fun in FUNdamental. 

Why Encourage More Screen Time?

I know many of you might dread encouraging more screen time for your children. However, technology is becoming an integral part of the workforce. Gaming is increasingly becoming a viable option for college scholarships and career paths. Many colleges offer scholarships for gaming, and an increasing number of colleges offer four-year degrees or certificate programs in gaming. So encouraging screen-time is not necessarily a bad thing.

More importantly, children learn through play. Playing games, even online games, give children the freedom to fail without the stress of failing in a classroom. If a student does poorly on a math game, they just try again. However, if you put those same math problems in a work or test scenario, the student might become discouraged. Play builds confidence. As students pick up more skills, their confidence grows. This growth can translate into schoolwork.

So, let’s take a look at ten free or low-cost online gaming options you can use for your homeschool.

Free Online Gaming:

Cool Math – Cool Math is for grades seven and up and covers pre-algebra, algebra, and pre-calculus topics. The tools reference section includes a Math Survival Guide written by a former math-phobe. Cool Math offers other CoolMath websites for younger students, teachers, and parents.  

FunBrain – FunBrain features content for PreK through eighth grade which is broken down into five categories-games, reading, videos, playground, and math zone

Icivics – Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded this multi-award winning site as an engaging way to teach civics. Students can free play, or teachers can plan lessons with Icivics teacher planning tools.

Mr. Nussbaum – Created by a school teacher, the content is for first through sixth grades. There are over four hundred activities for math, language arts, history, and reading comprehension.

PBS Kids – PBS calls itself “America’s Largest Classroom,” and PBS Kids expands that classroom through games and videos based on popular PBS TV shows aimed at ages four and up. There’s even a parent’s tab that connects you to PBS Learning media and other resources for parents.

Sheppard Software  Sheppard Software’s tag line claims, “We Make Learning Fun.” The site has hundreds of games, quizzes, and activities for all ages in categories ranging from math, language arts, geography, art, and science.

Free and Low-Cost Online Gaming:

ABCYa  – Content on ABCYa includes language arts, science, social studies, math, art, and typing for grades one through six. Premium memberships for families allow access up to five screens.

Arcademics  –  Arcademics features math, language arts, spelling, typing, and geography subjects for first through sixth grades. For $20/year, parents can get a premium program to enroll students, assign games, and track the student’s progress through data reports.

PopTropica – Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney created PopTropica. The site is a role-playing game for ages six through fifteen. PopTropica is free to play, but players can upgrade to a paid membership account at $19.99 for six months. Paid memberships allow access to exclusive clubhouses, pets, and outfits.

Starfall – Starfall’s content mainly focuses on reading, but features some language arts and math content as well. Starfall’s program is suitable for all students but is considered to be a beneficial resource for students with learning disabilities, special needs, and ESL students. There are free resources available with Starfall, but a paid membership gives member access to the entire site. Starfall memberships are $35 annually for homeschool families, but because Starfall is a non-profit, memberships are tax-deductible.

More Online Gaming Options

If gaming resonates with your child, you can look at comprehensive curricula such as ABC Mouse. Priced at $9.95/month, ABC Mouse is a comprehensive curriculum for students ages two through eight. ABC Mouse covers reading, math, science, history, and art. The program has won several awards and offers a free 30-day trial to get parents started. Reading Eggs is based on scientific research to help ensure a student’s reading success. The program is for students ages two through thirteen. Reading Eggs offers different pricing plans from monthly to annual subscriptions. A yearly subscription for one student is $59.95. HSLDA members are eligible for a discount. 

If gaming resonates with your child, but your budget is limited, then this article from Tech & Learning with 50 great free and low-cost games will help you incorporate more gaming into your homeschool. Just remember that using online gaming in your homeschool can help introduce or reinforce learning concepts in a low-stress learning environment. Most of all, have fun with your FUNdamentals!

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