When we were young, my friends and I always had great fun playing games like Monopoly. We invented rules that didn’t quite match the rules that came with the game- like awarding $400.00 for landing on the GO square, getting all the money in the center (the kitty) when landing on free parking , building on personally owned properties when ALL the color was sold- despite not being the one that owned them all, and other home spun rules.
This is probably not a blog that persons committed to following all the rules to a tee will appreciate- fair warning! In my world, rules have been bent.
When I met my step daughter, she was young and her parents divorced when she was even younger – about 5 years old. This was a critical developmental age and she fell behind in her school work -such as learning to read and developing her math skills as well as other educational tasks.
So, to help her, I used the games and story books to catch her up on her schooling. We had fun and she was easily engaged in learning without being aware of my intentions. Since she was unable to read, and loved picture books, we went to library and checked out 35 picture books- the maximum allowed. I read the books to her each night. She thought she was tricking me into letting her stay up later and I was really tricking her into learning to read. Eventually, she began reading words and pages herself and then advanced to young chapter books. Eventually she excelled at reading.
For spelling, we played Scrabble. I told her all she needed to do was make words. As long as she created a word, she could place it anywhere on the board. I never mentioned the need to attach her word to any other word or letter on the board. At first she had some unusual spellings for words – which I ignored, but as time went on, she became more and more accurate with her spelling.
Monopoly was a great game for learning to count and handle money, building on properties, winning, and more. She loved it and we played by the rules my friends and I played by when I was a little girl. She learned quickly. I must admit I made it easy as she won all the time and learned to count money in a non stressful way. She enjoyed calculating the money for houses and then a hotel on the properties she owned.
Then, a kind of funny thing happened -something I never anticipated. One day she stepped out of our little world and went to her cousin’s home where they decided to play monopoly. She called me hysterical that her cousin did not play the game correctly. She explained all the rules her cousin was trying to make her play by. I thought, ‘oh no, I am not there to protect her.’ I told her some people don’t know the rules and play some other way. I did not mention we were the ones who did not play by the correct rules. I told her not to worry, forgive her cousin, and suggested they play with their dolls. Crisis averted.
I’m not certain if she ever realized I tricked her for her own good and I never anticipated she would encounter someone who would shatter her innocent approach to game playing, but somehow we got through it all.
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