My oldest son is in the 4th grade and it takes him about an hour and half to complete his homework every day. That is an hour and half on top of the seven hours he already spent sitting at a desk in his school. My daughter is in the 2nd grade and has a similar story. I usually spend the homework hour(s) begging them to stay focused on the task at hand and providing bribes for them to complete their homework in a timely fashion. I’ll be honest, I myself am usually bored as I sit next to them answering any questions that I can.
English Arts is extra boring for them to complete. Usually they must write a lot about verbs, adverbs, and blahhhh…snore. Yet, mastering the subject is particularly important for their future success.
Which brings me to Mad Libs. My oldest son loves to sit on his bed and fill in Mad Libs. He also does this on long car rides and in church, if we let him. He knows all about adjectives, adverbs, nouns, etc. from Mad Libs because he has the freedom to place them in a story with some guidance. His Mad Libs stories usually end up having potty humor, but that’s his age and that’s the sense of humor of most children. Would a kid be more likely to remember and point out the adjectives in “Johnny went to the store to pick up his colorful book,” or “Johnny went to the garbage dump to find his stinky underwear?”
So what can schools learn from Mad Libs? Make learning fun if you want kids to learn. That might mean using words like toilet, gross, stinky, silly, and crazy. Learning should be geared towards kids’ interests and be appropriate for their age and on their level. It’s not rocket science, but in the age of the Common Core and standardized tests, it is worth repeating.