I seem to have a quarterly ritual of digging into the depths of our school closet to find something I thought I owned, want to use later in the week, or to share a resource with someone else. To the average reader, this might not sound like a huge task, except that this closet is upstairs and happens to also be my oldest daughter’s closet. Our home is a cape cod style house which means the upstairs has quaint, sloping ceilings. The view of me digging into the farthest parts of this closet ain’t so quaint.
You see, when standing at the door of the closet, you first come to the bar on which my daughter hangs her clothes above the massive piles of gym bags, cinch sacks, boots, random jackets and things she has shoved into tiny spaces. In order to get to the school stuff, you have to remove an arm full of hanging things. Then, through the small opening, you just made, you can see tubs stacked like a wedge of cheese shoved into an oddly shaped bucket. To the right, there is a rickety shelving unit that I am certain is waiting to fall apart, if only it weren’t supported by the aforementioned tubs of books and art supplies. Squashed beneath the books on the rickety shelf is my gold mine.
When I prep for my sweaty closet digs, I am usually on a mission to find an old game that either I created or purchased long ago. I keep these things around because they are just so good. Spelling games, classroom math games (which cover almost all of the topics from first grade through sixth) I found at Salvation Army (and questioned whether to pay the $12 they were asking because that seemed like so much), magnetic map puzzles, history card games, and all sorts of brain teaser games.
Games aren’t usually my cup of tea, but I also realize that my kids get tired of textbooks, workbooks, manipulatives, and hearing my voice. I see the value in playing while learning, just as my kids did when they were so much smaller. Games take one-dimensional concepts and turn them into 3D, without the use of the virtual reality headsets. These learning tools have such potential and are available in just about every school topic, that some learners have begun calling themselves “gameschoolers”.
So, in case you swing by the house and I don’t answer your knocks, I am either in the shower or have fallen headfirst into the school closet in search of one of those old, great games. And, if I can handle a game here or there despite my unromantic feelings towards a board game, then I bet you can too.
Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.