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Gamify Your Homeschool for Kids Who Love Learning

Gamify Your Homeschool for Kids Who Love Learning

Can I be real with you all for a second? Homeschooling is not all sunshine and rainbows. Kids have bad days, you have bad days, and spelling exists everyday, but one person having a bad day can definitely bring everyone else down. 

True we have the ability to take a day off here and there if we need too, but my kids quickly learned that bad days equal days off, and then every day was bad. Yeah, I have those kids. So most days we just push on, but I have found a way to decrease the amount of bad days or at least the impact of a single, whiny child on the whole family. Turn your homeschooling into a game!

Turning your homeschool into a game (or gamifying home education) can make your days easier while increasing your kids love of learning!

Why turn homeschool into a game?

What kid do you know that doesn't like video games? I specify video games because they have a strong hold on the current child population (mine included), and the set-up is easily adaptable to a homeschool.  

I don’t mean make all your learning on a screen or anything like that either! No screens needed unless you want to include them.

So how do you make your homeschool a game?

In most video games, player must gain experience points to increase in levels. I know this isn’t true for all video games, but it is a general theme. In our homeschool, we also have “levels” based on “experience,” and each level has its own prize. 

Our core subject lessons function as our experience. In our homeschool, each core lesson is worth 100 experience points. Our levels start out pretty easy at just 1000 points for level 1. I will share our complete level plan at the end of the post to give you an idea of what we do. No matter what you choose for your levels and prizes be sure to grab a little notebook to keep track of daily points! 

Of course hitting a new level may be enough for some kids (theoretically although I think they are pretty few), but like many video games, new levels are rewarded. So we reward our kids for hitting each level. We have a prize container with things we have picked up that we know they will enjoy, and we assign each a price point. Once they hit a level they can choose an item or combination of items that “cost” that levels designated prize amount. This amount also increases with each level. 

You could use rewards other than actual money or stuff too. Take them out for ice cream or dinner. Give them a vacation day or take them somewhere they love just the two of you. 

Now we have taken it to another level by adding competition. This is completely optional, and in fact only a couple of my kids even care while the others are content with their personal prizes. The student who reaches the level first receives an ice cream cone from us. The others have a week to hit the same level and receive a cone as well. 

Isn't this just extra work?

Well it is a little bit of extra work, but the rewards of gamification are BIG!

First off, just the decrease in whining, fussing, and incomplete work is a huge benefit in a house full of strong willed kids. Not to mention the immediate decrease in friction (well once they catch on) leads to less stress all around!

But the benefits don’t end there. If you are actively reminding them and discussing the homeschool game they will be more motivated to complete their work. Getting those points and prizes will cause feel good dopamine release which encourages them to do more of it! If learning becomes connected to a dopamine release then you will have a lifelong learner on your hands.

Plus if you do have competitive kids, they might just work extra to get ahead of siblings making them more productive and leaving more time to fit in the fun things.

Turning your homeschool into a game (or gamifying home education) can make your days easier while increasing your kids love of learning!

Does homeschool gamification work?

We have been using this game system for about 3 years, and while I can’t say it has fixed all the fussing and whining, it has significantly decreased it. In fact, now we have brought my youngest in as a kindergartner and while she doesn’t have nearly as many point options as the other three, she still wanted to make sure she got to participate by getting a smiley face on our homemade chart for each day she did her work. 

It isn't just getting schoolwork finished that has improved either. The kids are reading more for pleasure and the younger ones especially are eager to learn in a way the older kids weren't. The older girls are asking more thoughtful questions then previously and actively seeking answers. Basically, they are desiring knowledge; they are learning to love learning! 

Of course, there will always be hard days, but this year we have stayed on track or completed nearly all our subjects early. Spelling is the exception, but it always is. 

As promised, here is our level breakdown. If you are wondering how we came up with the max it is because our state requires 600 hours in core subjects, so at 100 points per core subject, you get 60,000 points. You are welcome to use this exact breakdown, or just use it as a guide for your own gamified homeschool!

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