Recently, for various reasons, my wife and I decided that homeschooling was a better option than public school. We’ve quickly had to rediscover what it means to teach our son the building blocks for life’s experiences. What fond memories do I have when I was a child, well of course playing D&D! I was too young to understand how to really play, so I created a simplified system. But what I can say is that from my childhood, I learned both math and creativity from role playing games. I imagined hordes of legos, miniatures, muscle-men, trolls, and various other “uglies” battle for supremacy. At one point, I can recall even keeping a journal of the history of the wars. It was truly epic.
“From my childhood, I learned both math and creativity from role playing games.”
So what better gift than to give my child something that I experienced myself as child? Something that I still hold dear to me as an adult. That and a little brain washing to want to play RPGs with me! What better way to prepare him for the real work by building a dungeon set to roll dice on. There is excitement, saving characters and morality. Oh, and of course, rolling dice! I mean, MATH!
I was never particularly fond of math. I didn’t hate it, though. I was okay at it. Sometimes it was fun, but I much preferred my electives of pottery, calligraphy, and illustration to it. Math was just something that I had to do. It wasn’t fun and I have never had to figure out how long it would take a speeding train going one way to meet another speeding train coming from the other way. Never-the-less, I saw value in math, but no, fun was nothing something I would ever have described it as.
In RPGs money has value, especially when a kid has nothing but the clothes on his back and a smile to manipulate his parents. Money was more than real in RPGs. It bought things that you could only have imagined- literally.
So here we sit across from each other. He haphazardly organizes his dice and I arrange mine perfectly revealing some awkward ‘tick’ of mine. I can see his eyes scanning the terrain to best place his worries to thwart the bad-guys. I let him roll the “battle” dice to “defeat” the evil mage and his orc horde. He leaps forward with a surge of ‘bams’ and ‘pows’ in that old Batman spirit which would make Adam West proud. We subtracted health after a groan when we got hurt and heal with a ‘brrrrring’ when we needed a boost. So far we’ve done one play through and he had a blast. Just look at this little adventurer on his first journey!
Funny enough, no adventurers were severely wounded during the initial gameplay. My son runs a tight ship on keeping health up to full and sending bad-orc-guys to jail.