My 12 year old son Kyle is in 6th grade. Here, this is Middle School. (How did he get so grown up, and when did I get so old?!) Kyle has been on the Honor Roll every grading period so far this year, and I am so incredibly proud of him. He has come a very long way in a short period of time.
You see, he used to struggle a lot with academics in Elementary School. The problem wasn't that he couldn't learn. He's a very smart kid. Kyle's biggest issue was getting bored and distracted very easily in class. Unless they were learning material he was already interested in, like astronomy, he just shut down and went off to La-La-Land.
My son, like so many kids, excels the most when learning is fun. This can present quite a challenge. Let's face it: School is not always fun. Sometimes, it's incredibly dull. I can understand how it might be easy for some kids to tune out their teacher and daydream. That's why I do my best to give Kyle fun ways to study when he gets home. Whether it be games, activities, or even educational TV shows, I try to find ways to supplement his learning that won't bore him to tears.
One of the things my son loves is video games. Now I am known as the "strict mom". While many 12 year old boys are playing super-violent games like Call of Duty, my son is not allowed to do this. Period. I will only let him play more innocent games like Mario, Pokemon, and Guitar Hero. I will also let him play games that have educational value.While he may not like these restrictions, he does understand why I limit what games he can play, and he does respect this rule.
On top of restricting what games are allowed, I also limit gaming time. Kyle does not play video games on a daily basis. When he does play video games, he plays in moderation. I prefer that he do something other than sit on the couch for hours like ride his bike, make arts and crafts, or do other more active things. So playing video games is a treat for him.
When I learned about the online, educational video game site, DimensionU, I knew that Kyle would immediately be interested in trying it. What is DimensionU? It's a fun, easy to use site that allows kids to have fun while they learn. There are some great, fast-paced games that keep kids engaged as they strengthen their math skills! A video game experience that makes learning fun? Now this is something I feel good about as a parent!
DimensionU has taken math beyond the mundane by creating an exciting outlet for children to learn while earning rewards for their hard work. Through the reward-based 'EdCred' Educational Allowance system, DimensionU takes an innovative approach to motivating children to become stronger students. Each week parents pledge an allowance, which kids can collect once they complete a given educational challenge. A university study found that almost all students who used DimensionU increased their test scores by at least one letter grade.
Just as I suspected, Kyle was thrilled when I told him about this program. Not only did he get the chance to play video games, he was allowed to be on the internet, too! (Yes, I am also the mom that doesn't allow internet access except under close supervision.) Kyle signed up on DimensionU and chose his gamer name and avatar. He then started playing the games.
Once the grade level and game is selected, the player has goals they need to reach. Each time 3 goals are met, it unlocks a question that must be answered. If it's answered incorrectly, there are penalties that make the game play more challenging. I like this aspect because it makes kids WANT to think and get their answers correct! Take a look:
Once 3 goals are met, a question such as the one below will appear:
Overall, I am quite impressed by the games at DimensionU. My son likes them, too! He really likes the fast pace of the games, and he enjoys challenging himself to find the right answers to the challenge questions. He also loves that he is able to earn an allowance and be rewarded for his gaming accomplishments. This is a great incentive to make kids want to study!
The only thing Kyle didn't seem to like were all of the pop-up style instructions that appear throughout the game play. He thought they tended to slow things down too much. That didn't make him want to stop playing, though. As a matter of fact, he asks to play everyday now! And you know what? Even though I am the "strict mom" who doesn't allow excessive gaming, I do let him play the games at DimensionU. Who knows? Maybe when report cards come he'll show an improvement in math! I will let you know!
Would your kids enjoy DimensionU? Sign up for FREE on their website! Happy Learning!
***Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for DimensionU. I received a free trial of DimensionU to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.***
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I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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