Puzzles in Your Homeschool Curriculum
Puzzles are one of the most versatile teaching tools you can incorporate into your homeschool curriculum. Check out this Homeschool Living for some creative ways to incorporate puzzles into your homeschool curriculum, and for some tips on using your puzzling skills to piece together the homeschool that is the perfect fit for your family.
Puzzles have a long history of use in an educational setting. In fact, the first jigsaw puzzles were developed as a tool to teach geography in the 1700s! Check out the history of puzzles through the centuries, and discover even more ways to incorporate them into your homeschool curriculum.
Puzzles A Plenty
Now, while you can certainly find many beautiful and high-quality puzzles that fit your subject matter and that your family can enjoy working on, if you have access to a printer you are virtually limitless in your ability to create personalized puzzles reinforcing any lesson you want. If you want a fun, hands-on teaching tool to use for a specific topic, you can simply print the picture you want and cut it apart into squares or odd shapes–as many as will make the puzzle challenging but doable for your child. You can use these as aids in memorization, with things like multiplication tables, geometry principles, biological life cycles, poetry, historical speeches or quotes, foreign language, and more.
For broader concepts, or as a way to encourage some family discussion on a learned topic, you can find puzzles depicting historical scenes; animal and plant life; state, country, and world maps; scientific and mathematical charts; poems and literature; great works of art; natural wonders; Bible stories; and so much more.
Using puzzles in your homeschool is also a great way to help students learn focus, critical thinking skills, and collaboration. You can let children work together on a puzzle that interests all of them, use puzzles to occupy smaller or restless hands during quiet times, like read-alouds, nap times, and devotions.
Of course, while “puzzles” often refers to jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles or brain teasers are another type of puzzle that is invaluable in the homeschool curriculum. The history of this type of puzzle goes back much further than jigsaw puzzles, with some of the earliest examples dating back to logic games found in ancient Egyptian tombs, mathematical puzzles in ancient Greece, and codes and ciphers used for centuries in many ancient civilizations. Logic puzzles are a great way to teach analytical thinking, improve concentration, enhance processing speed, reinforce difficult concepts, and make learning entertaining. Incorporating logic lessons into your homeschool curriculum can be as simple as introducing a brain teaser or logic problem into your daily routine. My mother used to read us a logic puzzle during breakfast or lunch so that we could debate and discuss during the meal! Check out these brain teasers for kids for some ideas on some riddles and puzzles to pose to your own children.
If you find puzzles an effective way of grabbing and holding your child’s attention while helping with information retention and concept understanding, you’ll love to know that there are a lot of ways to incorporate play into your homeschool learning. Check out “Teaching With Play: Using Games In Your Homeschool” for a ton of ways to use board games in your homeschool classroom.
In more ways than one, your own homeschool will feel like a giant puzzle for you to put together, and perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than in the curriculum. Piecing together your homeschool curriculum can be overwhelming, but this is the perfect time to embrace and demonstrate those creative learning, outside-the-box thinking skills we learn with our puzzles and put them to good use. Check out these tips for putting together a homeschool curriculum for some excellent resources and guides for determining what is most important for your homeschool and how best to incorporate it into a homeschool that will foster a life-long appetite for enthusiastic learning and discovery.