My Life Would Be Easier if my Teens Liked Homework as Much as Video Games

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LifeWouldBeEasier

My daughter is learning Latin from a game. Really. In her online Latin class, she plays as an Avatar (that's her, pictured) and earns points for every word she learns. She loves that class, plays it obsessively, and spouts Latin all the time. She is getting a great grade, even though it’s high-school level and she's in middle school.

She and I both learned to make sushi from a game. My son learned his love of history from a game. I worry about what both of them are learning from the non-educational games they love. And when I turn vocabulary and grammar homework into a “Game Show” (just by using a goofy voice and a beeper sound) they laugh their way through homework – and do better on tests.

I have often said that if solving a math problem was the way to level up in a video game -- a good gaming-console game with great graphics -- that’s the game I would buy. And it would make my kids mathematical geniuses.

Think about it. If math (and other subjects) were thoughtfully built into the engaging video games they love, we would not have to argue with our kids about how much time they spend playing games. Everyone would be excited about homework time. A fun, happy homework hour? Sounds like a Utopian future to me.

I am not the only one who thinks that anything that engages kids’ attention so completely as video games should be harnessed to motivate them to learn the things they need to know.

The folks at Alleyoop.com (a site that makes a game out of learning math and science) made this video -- just for you! -- with some tips on turning all learning into a game.

And I love the way this guy thinks about the way our kids learn. Check out what he has to say about how games are probably making our kids smarter. (Big relief.)

But, if you have boys, you should listen to what this woman has to say about video games and how they can help with the epidemic of ADD and male disengagement from school that has now become an epidemic.

So, game makers? How about a Halo --or something my son will like that much -- game that gives players points for learning calculus? I'd slap down a credit card for that right now.

Christina Tynan-Wood writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle, and is the author of “How to Be a Geek Goddess.” You can find her at GeekGirlfriends.com.

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