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Everest Academy is a ministry of Everest Family Church in Hayden. We offer freedom along with quality resources, information, activities and support to those homeschooling in Alabama. We believe that the parent has the best interests of their children at heart. We believe that the parent is the first and only teacher that a child needs. In keeping with this philosophy, we wish to be a very hands-off church "cover" school and allow the parent to lead and guide their children in the direction and at the pace they feel is best suited to their children. We ask only for what the law requires while offering support along with quality resources to aid families in their efforts.

Benefits of Gaming

Written Dec. 10, 2010

2014 update:  If you are concerned about gaming in your home, just Google "benefits of gaming".

Let me start off by saying that I used to despise video games. They seemed like such a waste of time to me. Dalton was started at an early age playing "the game" by his grandparents and my husband. My husband has now evolved into not liking game playing time either. We have had major conflicts over the years involving issues pertaining to length of time played. As with anything else, when something starts interfering with the peace in my home, I research it. Surprisingly, I found many many studies documenting the benefits of game playing. I wrote them down as I went along.

Here is what I found:
  • Systems analysis
  • Patience (you have to accomplish "this" to make "that" happen)
  • Manual dexterity
  • Visual memory
  • Interactivity
  • Complex cultural experiences
  • Logical reasoning
  • Clearly articulated rewards
  • Decision making
  • Prioritizing
  • Trial and error
  • Scientific method = probe, hypothesis, reprobe, accept order, hypothesis
  • Immediate problems/long term objectives
  • Hierarchy of tasks
  • Rich aesthetic experiences
  • Understand and construct multidimensional characters
  • Empathy
  • Alleviate stress
  • Physical Rehab
  • Spatial vision improvement
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Problem solving by cause-and-effect
  • Sparking imagination and creativity
  • Positive effects on cognitive health
  • Quick decision-making skills
  • Strategic aptitude
  • Physical activity
  • Technology aptitude
  • Social skills
  • Improve language
  • Improve social studies
  • Improve scientific reasoning
  • Improve math skills
  • Many games are based on history, city building, and governance
  • Strong analytical ability
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased adaptability
  • Increased attention capacity
  • Fast and accurate information processing

What I have noticed in my home regarding gaming is that it is an instant-immersion adventure set in different places, situations, story lines, and times.  I have noticed that Dalton will look up the facts and compare them to the game he is playing.  The game usually has historically accurate clothing, backdrops, music, etc.  Dalton has told me that he has learned more historically accurate information from games than he ever has from books (and he has read a LOT of historical books).  I have also noticed that he uses the games as a "jumping off point" to get involved in different topics.  As Dalton has gotten older, he has started learning about computer programming "languages" and "modding" which has led him to a greater understanding of not only how to use a computer but about the inner workings of computers.  Dae has also delved into the video-gaming world.  She mostly plays on-line games such as "Toon Town", restaurant-building games, and Wii games.  She has learned a lot of real-life skills such as typing, cooking, drawing, computer skills, health information (using the Wii), reading, writing, spelling, science, history, geography, cultures, and on and on and on...

I have now restructured my thinking on video gaming and have definitely seen the many benefits.  I hope this brings some peace of mind to a frantic mom out there worried about their child(ren) playing the game "all the time"!

How Video Games Blind Us With Science - This led Steinkuehler to a fascinating and provocative conclusion: Videogames are becoming the new hotbed of scientific thinking for kids today.

How Video Games Are Good For the Brain:  Most games involve a huge number of mental tasks, and playing can boost any one of them. Fast-paced, action-packed video games have been shown, in separate studies, to boost visual acuity, spatial perception, and the ability to pick out objects in a scene. Complex, strategy-based games can improve other cognitive skills, including working memory and reasoning.

Live Science article on World of Warcraft and Unschooling - "We know several kids who learned to read while playing these games," Traaseth said. "If you want to classify some of the things we're doing when we play World of Warcraft, the list could include math, reading, sociology, economics, creative writing and communications."

BRAIN CANDY: Is pop culture dumbing us down or smartening us up? At the same time, players are required to manage a dizzying array of information and options. The game presents the player with a series of puzzles, and you can’t succeed at the game simply by solving the puzzles one at a time. You have to craft a longer-term strategy, in order to juggle and co├Ârdinate competing interests. In denigrating the video game, Johnson argues, we have confused it with other phenomena in teen-age life, like multitasking—simultaneously e-mailing and listening to music and talking on the telephone and surfing the Internet. Playing a video game is, in fact, an exercise in “constructing the proper hierarchy of tasks and moving through the tasks in the correct sequence,” he writes. “It’s about finding order and meaning in the world, and making decisions that help create that order.”

Digital Journal  The report found how teens enjoy video games: "Even when they are not playing games with others, teens talk and engage with others about games—by posting comments on discussion boards and websites or by writing reviews and walk-throughs that assist newcomers to a particular game by showing them how to play the game."

Photo by AFP

Online Gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

    Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle


    Online gamers have achieved a feat beyond the realm of Second Life or Dungeons and Dragons: they have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade.
    The exploit is published on Sunday in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, where -- exceptionally in scientific publishing -- both gamers and researchers are honoured as co-authors.

    Their target was a monomeric protease enzyme, a cutting agent in the complex molecular tailoring of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV.

    Figuring out the structure of proteins is vital for understanding the causes of many diseases and developing drugs to block them, but a microscope gives only a flat image of what to the outsider looks like a plate of one-dimensional scrunched-up spaghetti. Pharmacologists, though, need a 3-D picture that "unfolds" the molecule and rotates it in order to reveal potential targets for drugs.

    This is where Foldit comes in.

    Developed in 2008 by the University of Washington, it is a fun-for-purpose video game in which gamers, divided into competing groups, compete to unfold chains of amino acids -- the building blocks of proteins -- using a set of online tools.

    To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks. Cracking the enzyme "provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs," says the study, referring to the lifeline medication against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is believed to be the first time that gamers have resolved a long-standing scientific problem.

    "We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed," Firas Khatib of the university's biochemistry lab said in a press release. "The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems."

    One of Foldit's creators, Seth Cooper, explained why gamers had succeeded where computers had failed.
    "People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at," he said. "Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week's paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before."