I was recently given the opportunity, by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, to use WannaBe - When I Grow Up I Want to be a Video Game Designer with our boys and to given a review of what I thought of it. I chose this book because both of our boys, ages 7 and 12, love video games. I thought that they might find it interesting to see the "behind the scenes" of video gaming from the people who make the games that they love to play so much.
Before we started the book, I thought that it would just be a simple book to read through and discuss. I was so wrong! There is so much more to this ebook. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was in it and how much we liked this ebook! My boys were excited to go through parts of it each day and asked if we could "please" do it first! I love that they were excited about learning!
The ebook was written by five separate people who are video game designers in real life. That was really interesting because they all had a different perspective on what it was like to do what they do. They all went through what it was like to become a video game designer and what a typical day looked like for them. A couple of them even discussed what it was like to develop a game. I found it extremely intriguing when they talked about their background and how they become interested in this field while they were growing up. They were normal, everyday kids who loved technology and were curious about how it worked.
The part of the ebook that received the most discussion in our household, even days afterwards, was when Andy Harris discussed college degree options. That really peeked the interest of our 12 year old. We have already discussed college with him and how important it is in order to get the kind of career that he wants. Andy Harris did an excellent job explaining the differences in the types of degrees and why he felt that one way was better than the other. It was so great for our 12 year old to hear this from someone else and not just mom and dad (because moms and dads don't know anything, you know). He also went through a list of character traits and talents that someone in this line of work need to have. Another big plus in my book!
There were five video game designers so I decided to read through one of them a day for five days. This seemed to work out well. Plans changed on Thursday of that week, though, so we just ended up going through the last two on Friday. This worked well because the last two were shorter in length and fit perfectly on the same day. I didn't want to just sit there and read it to our boys, so I connected it to our Apple TV and used our TV as a second monitor. This allowed them to follow along with me as I was reading as well as look at the pictures easier as they were larger on the TV.
At the end of the reading portion of the Ebook, you would think that it was over. But it wasn't! There is a map of the average salaries that video game designers make around the country (something our 12 year old thought was extremely interesting), copy work with Bible verses using key words to remember: credibility, adversity, and pursuing, a ten question quiz to review the information, writing prompts to extend their learning into the subject of writing, math problems (that were built for at least 6th grade and above), a word search, and a crossword puzzle! They provide all of the answer keys (thank goodness)! We orally discussed the quiz questions and answers. Our 12 year old worked through the math problems as they were too difficult for our 7 year old. In the writing assignments, they both decided to design an advertisement for a brand new game that they were creating. They liked the creativity of it and especially being able to "create" a new game.
WannaBe - When I Grow Up I Want to be a Video Game Designer was a wonderful addition to our homeschool. It was really something we could discuss as a family and something that our boys were really interested in. I would highly recommend this Ebook from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. We are interested in using more of the WannaBe series of Ebooks on their website!