What if I told you that you could learn to write with games in your homeschool? It’s true! I am a former school psychologist-turned-homeschool mom. We are about to enter our ninth year of homeschooling and I can tell you, with certainty, that homeschooling could be a lot more fun than you think.
Learning To Write With Games In Your Homeschool
*Disclosure: I received Night Zookeeper at no cost and I was compensated for my time in writing a review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only share products and resources I would use with my family and those I believe other families will enjoy. My youngest LOVES Night Zookeeper.
The Value Of Play-Based Learning In Your Homeschool
The importance of play cannot be underestimated when it comes to learning and retention of information. Play is the language of childhood. Children process the world around them as they play.
I have witnessed, time and time again, the power of play when it comes to homeschooling and learning.
My children and teens have learned many skills through play and gameschooling, from learning to tell time, to botany, to probability, and more.
Play is interest-based learning at its best. When one is interested in a particular topic, one retains more information about that subject.
For example, in December of 2019, my boys asked for the game Memoir ’44 for Christmas. At that time, they were 11 and 8 years old. Memoir ’44 quickly became one of their favorite games. Since then, they have added several expansion packs to add to their play. This game has fueled an incredible amount of learning. It inspired them to read WWII-related books, watch documentaries, and conduct online research. My father-in-law loves to chat with them about WWII and is always amazed at their knowledge.
Now, I was always a good student. I learned about WWII in high school and earned As in history and other classes. I can remember many details about WWII, but my boys’ knowledge of WWII far surpasses my own. They are now 14 and 11 years old and they would easily crush me in any WWII-related testing or trivia.
Why? Because they played a WWII-themed game and it sparked an interest. Play-based, interest-based learning trumps textbooks, lectures, and documentaries. Play helps those facts to stick like glue!
Play-based and interest-based learning is beneficial for all children and teens, but this type of learning can be especially powerful for kids who struggle in a particular academic subject or with a certain skill.
- Games and play make writing less intimidating
- When a child is having fun, they are more likely to make (and remember!) connections
- Children learn as they play
Teaching Writing In Your Homeschool
If you’ve been hanging around with us for any length of time, you know that my youngest son is a reluctant writer. The physical act of writing has always been his least favorite part of the homeschool day.
He is an extremely creative kiddo. From an early age, he has loved to create characters and stories. Our family adores his stories! But, while he has oodles of ideas and heaps of creativity, he hates putting that pencil to paper.
When it comes to teaching writing in our homeschool, we need to get creative and gamify the experience.
Today, I’d like to tell you about an online program that has helped over one million 6-12 year-olds with their reading, writing, and creative thinking skills. It’s called Night Zookeeper and I think you’re going to love it!
Learning To Write With Night Zookeeper
Night Zookeeper is an interactive, gamified online learning platform that helps children with reading, writing, and creative thinking. This engaging online writing platform is based on the Night Zookeeper chapter book series.
The entire Night Zookeeper program is play-based and gamified. Children create characters and stories. They essentially “play” their way through the program.
The program is designed to improve children’s writing skills. Night Zookeeper includes interactive games, lessons, and activities that incorporate the following skills:
- reading comprehension
Night Zookeeper also offers publishing opportunities for children with the chance to win real-life prizes! And children can share their work with other Night Zookeeper members. They can ask for and offer feedback. (Night Zookeeper is super private. All names are anonymous, all comments are moderated, no photos are allowed, and parents have ultimate control over it all!)
For homeschool parents, it’s helpful to know that Night Zookeeper provides a comprehensive parent guide. This parent guide covers all aspects of the platform so that you can get the most out of your Night Zookeeper experience.
This is not the first time I’ve written about Night Zookeeper. My youngest has been enjoying Night Zookeeper for well over a year. It has everything he loves: stories, characters, and games!
What My Reluctant Writer Thinks About Night Zookeeper as a Homeschool Writing Program
My youngest has been playing his way through the Night Zookeeper program for over a year. In the video below, he talks about his Night Zookeeper experience:
I asked him what other aspects of the program he enjoys. Here are some additional reasons why my 11-year-old loves Night Zookeeper:
- Writing projects are fun because they give you creative ideas of what to write about.
- They have a dozen games that are fun to play and also teach you things about writing.
- Night Zookeeper has a “game of the week” and it has a leaderboard for all users.
- You can create your animals and characters by drawing them digitally and then creating a profile of the character.
- The characters you create can “level up” and gain more skills. This happens when you complete writing projects and by playing games.
- Sometimes you find monster traps and the characters you have created can fight to defeat enemies (the enemies are called “voids”) by answering questions.
My reluctant writer will attempt to avoid any pencil-and-paper writing assignments in our homeschool, but he asks to use Night Zookeeper daily. And he’s been using the program for over a year. That’s a huge win in my world!
And that’s the magic of play-based learning and gameschooling. Play is learning and when you learn joyously, you retain more!
Try Night Zookeeper in Your Homeschool
Click here for 50% off an annual Night Zookeeper subscription. This annual price is $59.99 for a single-child subscription and $77.99 for 2-3 children. More children can be added at a bespoke price. When you sign up for an annual membership using this link, you will get a free 7-day trial and then get 50% off on the yearly subscription.