games. These games are fun for kids and
adults, reduce the influence of luck, and
focus on player decisions. This isn’t Monopoly. This is fun, engaging, rewarding
play. The games to which I’m referring
started arriving in the U.S. in 1995, but
stayed out of the mainstream until about
ten years ago. Since that time, however,
the U.S. has been undergoing a type of
board game renaissance. Mainline stores
like Barnes & Noble and others are starting to carry these new games, and people
are realizing they provide great ways to
spend time together as a family.
The second reason is families don’t
know how to pick a game for their family based on age, experience, and interest.
This can definitely be a challenge, but the
big questions to get you started are: 1)
how old are your players; 2) how many
players do you have; 3) how long do you
want to play; 4) how much do you want
to think; 5) do you prefer games with cooperation, competition, or conflict; and
6) is there a particular topic, story, event,
or theme you are interested in? Internet
resources (like www.dicetower.com and
www.boardgamegeek.com) can help you
narrow down your list with game facts,
reviews, and rule explanations. Local
game stores frequently offer demonstra-
tion copies or game nights where you can
try new titles before purchasing them.
We guarantee there is a game to fit your
interests, attention span, and abilities. If
you want a personal recommendation,
feel free to contact us at our site, www
. charagames.com and see the sidebar for
Third, some people think games waste
a student’s time. Study after study shows
the importance of play in a child’s devel-
opment. Essentially, play is a child’s ver-
sion of “life rehearsal.” It provides a way
for kids to challenge themselves, face
unknowns, explore both personal and
social limitations, and develop the char-
acter that will propel them through life.
In our experience, games allow students
to employ the skills and knowledge they
are learning in a formal curriculum in
creative, fun, and interesting ways. This
allows the student to truly grasp the im-
portance of that skill or truth and inter-
nalize it for later use in life. What teacher
would not want their student to actually
use what they are learning?
Stronger families, engaged learners,
and internalized skills and knowledge are
among the many things board games offer. We hope this tool helps your homeschoolers as much as it has helped ours!
Remember, homeschooling isn’t all fun
and games, but the power of play can
transform your school experience into a
launching pad for lifelong learning.
Patrick and Katherine Lysaght have four
children, homeschool, and serve in the
military. In 2014, they founded Chara
Games to build games that create joy by
developing relationships with God and
people. Commissioned, the first game they
have developed and authored, immerses
players in the faith, fear, and wonder of the
early Christian church. More information
is available at: www.charagames.com.
Here are several games we highly
recommend. Have fun trying some
of these! And, check out our offerings at www.charagames.com,
including our new game,
Ticket to Ride: geography, train-based strategy game. Ages: 10+
Dixit: creativity, word association.
Pandemic: cooperation; save the
world from disease—together. Ages:
My Happy Farm: planning, run a
farm to feed your animals. Ages: 8+
Commissioned: immerses players
in the history of the early Christian
church. Ages: 14+
Yardmaster Express: train-themed
Uno; plays in 5 minutes. Ages: 6+
Hive: abstract strategy with bugs.
Memoir ’44: military games about
the Normandy invasion; two-player,
one hour. Ages: 10+
What teacher would not want their student to
actually use what they are learning?