Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Activities

You might say that we like games in our house.

This picture is a portion of the 'game closet' in my husband's office. He also keeps his own personal stash in our bedroom closet that includes such marathon games as Twilight Imperium. If you think Risk takes a long time to play, you have never experienced Twilight Imperium. This summer the boys discovered a few old favorites of ours...Super Mastermind, Mancala and Memory. All of these are excellent thinking games. EM blows us away when we play Memory. He has always been good at finding things we misplace around the house. Now he has another way to put that talent to use.

It has been a struggle to keep myself from allowing the boys too much screen time this summer. I'll let them get on the computer and suddenly I realize a couple hours have flown by. Then I need to shove them out into the sunshine for a bit. Board games have made a great filler for when it's too hot to be outside.

One computer related activity that I have been allowing this summer is Gamestar Mechanic. This is an excellent teaching tool if your child is interested in game design. You can read the teacher's FAQ here. There are two different options for accounts, free and premium. The premium is about $50 a year. So far, both boys are only using the free membership. However, I think JT will soon be moving to premium. I made a deal with him. If he will enter the local newspaper's history essay contest, I will buy him the premium account. He needs to write an essay about what social issues could cause a civil war in the United States today and what the outcome might be. He has a good idea with solid arguments, so I think it will turn out to be an interesting essay. So far his motivation is good. The deadline for submission is August 19th, so he has plenty of time to finish it.

Back to Gamestar.... I like this site for a few reasons, but my favorite is the level of monitoring going on there. Because it is designed to be used in educational settings, they really keep a good eye on the online community. The users design games which are then played and reviewed by other users. The reviews are watched for any unsportsmanlike comments. JT actually received a warning once for a fairly mild negativity he made on one game. We used that as an opportunity to discuss online etiquette and how important it can be. He has really taken off with the game design and is always coming up with new ideas for his next project. EM also opened an account and has made a few games. We think he might be ready to try out Scratch when we get back to our regular school schedule.

Speaking of our regular school schedule... I have deemed August 22nd as our first 'official' school day. We will actually log about two weeks of time before the start date with outside learning opportunities, but our in home work won't start until the 22nd. Our first day will be a rough one! We will be taking a field trip. EM has an eye appointment that day and there just happens to be a geology museum near his doctor's office. Both boys whined a bit when I told them our start day, but when they found out a field trip was involved, they were appeased.

As usual, I can't believe how fast summer has been flying by. I'm hoping next week will provide an opportunity for me to really sit down and make some definite plans for the upcoming school year. Both boys will be attending Kids' College at our local university. This will be EM's first year there. I will have FIVE mornings of freedom! I wonder if I will actually be motivated enough to get to work...or if I'll just pour another cup of coffee and unwind.

Only time will tell.


Monica said...

Coffee and unwinding is important, too! (I just got a lovely coffee from CostPlus World Market that I am really enjoying.)

Cyber Momma said...

Maybe I'll have to try to find a way to combine the coffee, unwinding and planning.

I just know the week will also fly by. I might need to try unplugging from the internet so I can focus on the task at hand.

Monica said...

Coffee outside on your patio with a notebook and pen?