“But They Only Want to Play Games!”

But They Only Want to Play Games, yellowreadis.com | Picture: Minecraft character in black and red on wooden platform looking directly at camera

It’s the perennial question – are they really learning? This can be particularly acute when your kids seem to spend all day playing computer games (or horror – watching other people on YouTube play games).

But They Only Want to Play Games, yellowreadis.com | Picture: Minecraft character in black and red on wooden platform looking directly at camera

This is our reality at the moment. Of course, I have been knocked around with a lovely infection, so there has been a tad less guidance than usual ( and thank goodness for antibiotics!)

But despite this, there are a number of things that we have done to actually aide, encourage and help our kids learn the things we think they need to learn while immersed in their ‘everything is a game‘ world.

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Teaching a Child Who Won’t Be Taught

Text: "Teaching a Child Who Won't Be Taught" "yellowreadis.com" Pictures: Boy in blue shorts and top lying on wooden bridge, minecraft pig on a white rock, pea pod on vine, young child in striped top playing with a tablet

How to educate a child who won’t be taught? It’s not a question I thought I’d ever need to answer, but life (and my daughter) decided this was the path we needed to follow.

Today, I’m going to talk about a few of the strategies I use to create a welcoming learning environment that steers my kids in the direction they need to go, without explicitly ‘teaching’ them.

Text: "Teaching a Child Who Won't Be Taught" "yellowreadis.com" Pictures: Boy in blue shorts and top lying on wooden bridge, minecraft pig on a white rock, pea pod on vine, young child in striped top playing with a tablet

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Setting Up DIY Spaces for Homeschooling

Picture of tools -spanner, oil can on wooden bench

It can be hard to figure out how to fit all the bits and bobs into a small apartment when the house is full of makers. We do lots of drawing, and crafting, painting, sewing, woodwork, game creation and science experiments in our homeschool. And before we know it, it can quickly descend into chaos – it’s beads everywhere, with the pencils and the card games scattered and the floor can regularly disappear. . . but I have learned a few tips and tricks to keep things roughly in order.
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Creating an Unschooling Environment for my 2e Kids”

Adapting our homeschooling environment to support our kids needs has been a work in progress that has taken years of trial and error. I personally love the idea of self-directed learning and unschooling, but I have had to adapt it to fit the needs of my children.

As much as I would love to be able to say ‘you can do whatever you want’ and let it happen (with me strewing and facilitating, but having the kids in charge), it hasn’t happened. Instead, we have taken a lot of slow, small steps in that direction, and have had to treat it as more of an end goal than a blueprint.

Over time, (and with an understanding of their neurological differences) I have come to understand why my children need support and why those supports need to be different for each child.

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Fostering Creative Play in 2e Homeschooling

When planning out a homeschool plan, it can be easy to think of creating and making things as nice extra, but creative play is also essential for brain development, as it helps foster problem solving ability as well as a whole host of other great things, like out of the box thinking, adaptability, and flexibility, as well as enhancing the ability to retain ideas. Which for our family, means it is bumped up pretty high on the ‘must-do’ list.

Due to the imaginational OEs often associated with gifted/2e kids, some kids ooze creativity and imagination and everything becomes an elaborate story or creation. Anything in their reach becomes part of their imaginative world. Other kids (particularly those with some types of special needs, like ASD), might also exhibit large amounts of imagination and creativity, but it will come out in more unusual ways that might be easy to dismiss or miss. Having lots of different ways for kids to express their ideas, with materials ready to hand for practical creations can really help with spontaneous creative play.

But an adult’s idea of creative play doesn’t always match up with the way kids like to create and explore. Which can be a challenge for parents and other adults. But letting go of expectations of finished products or following the instructions can have huge benefits for everyone! Creativity can come in many forms and for my family, fostering my kids ideas has been far more useful than trying to bend their ideas to fit preconceived ideas about creative play.

So, how to foster creativity with gifted or twice exceptional kids? Here are some ideas we have used to foster creativity in our home:
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Unconventional Learning;

We’re a geeky kind of family. With me being a mathematician and my DH an engineer, it would be hard to not be geeky. We’re also not going to score high on the ‘doing things conventionally’ test, if one of those existed. But sometimes, just sometimes, the paths my kids take to learn are so unconventional that they leave me with a feeling of stunned awe (and a little bit of ‘where in the sweet unicorns on a pegasus did that come from‘?).

Being the kind of family that we are, we were never going to let our kids going to coast through on understanding how computers work. And being the kind of homeschool mum that I am, I had grand plans of my kids learning how to program, helping them navigate through learning the basics of making computers ‘do things’ – I had plans.

And then the kids got sick. And then they got sick again, and again . . . and just when I thought we’d have a week free of illness, another nasty virus took up residence. So instead of doing all the fabulous strewing I was planning, I ended up with two very sick little children who spent the next few weeks in and out of bed (and yes, it’s still ongoing, sigh). Now we have one very important rule in our house – sick children get to rest. And with kids whose minds won’t stop, both embarked on a long, bandwidth hogging binge on streaming videos.
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Tools to Tame the Rule Monster: A Review of Fluxx

It was a number of years before children that I was first introduced to Fluxx**. A good friend brought the game out at a party (the kind of party where everyone ends up watching old Dr Who episodes until the early hours). I remember it being a blast, but didn’t really think about it again for many years.

Then my son fell in love with board and card games, and my DH remembered ‘this old game that was kind of cool’. We now have 4 different versions of the game and they get played regularly. It has become an essential part of our homeschool.

**This post contains amazon affiliate links. If you decide to purchase a product using them it does not affect the price, but I do receive a small amount as well. Think of it as shouting me to part of a cup of coffee… Continue reading “Tools to Tame the Rule Monster: A Review of Fluxx”