A school is a messy battleground that bombards us with home works, term papers, exams, projects, and whatever difficult requirements you can think of. Sure, it helps fill our brain with knowledge and experiences that will come in handy when we become adults and face the real battlefield called life but to be brutally honest, there are times when we’d rather play and goof around than solve for the perennially missing x and y.
However, for 44-year-old mother Katie Pybus and her husband Roger, there is a better option over a conventional school. You see, Katie chose to have her three children homeschooled. But unlike any other conventional homeschooling techniques where kids are taught letters and numbers, Katie’s kids get busy with video games for seven hours every day.
Katie homeschools her three kids using video games.
Katie has three children: Sapphire, 12, is the eldest and the only girl; and, two boys, Etienne and Orin, aged 10 and 7, respectively. The kids can begin their “school work” whenever they like, so we guess that means that no alarm clock goes off each morning. For Sapphire, the day begins at around 10 in the morning. Etienne wakes up earlier at around 5 AM while Orin surfaces at 8 AM. From then on, they can play all day.
Katie believes that her radical approach to homeschooling is helping her kids.
“I don’t think the alphabet has got much to do with learning to read.
“Games are the bedrock of what we do in our home education. Schools are far too focused on testing and exams and I prefer my children to learn through play.”
However, not everyone agrees with her methods. Tanith Carey, a parenting expert, asserted that:
“This sounds unhealthy – screens are like crack to children. It might sound radical and free-thinking but computers are highly addictive to children.”
Despite the dissent from some parents and experts, Katie stands firm, saying:
“My children will look back and realize they’ve had a lovely, free childhood.
“I’m led by what they want to do and I don’t restrict screen time. I haven’t formally taught them English and Maths but they’ve learned lots about spelling and number manipulation through games.”
Katie is not deterred by opposition from some parents.
Katie and Roger thought of adopting the unorthodox homeschooling system when they bought a Nintendo Wii six years ago.
Now, the kids play Minecraft, Clash of Clans, Sims, Pokemon Go, and more.
They have two Playstation 4 consoles, five tablets, four personal computers, and one Wii.
Everyday is game day for these kids.
One rule: Bedtime is at 8 PM.
Katie further commented on her technique:
“I joke that you can always tell a child who plays Minecraft because the bricks are arranged in multiples of eight, so they can do their 64 times table.
“They are not phased by big numbers because they haven’t had the negative maths experiences others have had at school.
“Etienne, who is dyslexic, didn’t want to read books but when I started playing Clash of Clans with him he wanted to help me type messages to his friends.
“If they’d gone to school, they’d have probably only made friends with people from similar backgrounds. The definition of friendship has changed thanks to things like Facebook.”
The kids also believe that they are learning a lot through playing video games.
However, Sapphire insisted on having weekly Maths and English lessons with other homeschooled kids. The two boys, on the other hand, refused. Katie said they knew how to read but was not sure if they can recite the alphabet.
The three kids have individual “school work stations” where they play for at least seven hours each day.
“Orin has been able to read for a long time but if you asked him to put something into alphabetical order, he’d struggle.”
The children don’t remain cooped up inside their rooms, though. They participate in weekly football and swimming activities and the family regularly goes on trips to parks and museums.
Katie and Roger bring the children to “fields trips,” too.
Watch the interview with Katie and her kids:
What do you think about Katie’s homeschooling technique? Share your thoughts with us!
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