Dec 28, 2022

7 Reasons to Add Chess to Your Homeschool Curriculum

Best Homeschool Curriculum · Homeschool Activities · Homeschool Electives
7 Reasons to Add Chess to Your Homeschool Curriculum

Eight years ago I stepped nervously into a New York City preschool to teach my first Story Time Chess lesson. Though I’d always enjoyed the game I was no Grandmaster—I was a struggling actor, a doer of gigs and odd jobs. There was just no way, I thought, that children so young could learn chess.

But as I launched into the opening tale in our story-based curriculum, my fear gave way to utter amazement. My preschoolers were rapt! The story conveyed chess’s complex rules through fun, memorable “ah-ha!” moments. Before long, my kids were playing with confidence and I made chess education my singular focus.

StoryTimeChess Image 1

That day, my students joined a global community of over 250,000 students who've learned to play chess the Story Time way, many starting at the surprising age of three. Now Story Time Learning Live gives you the chance to seamlessly integrate chess into your home classroom, even if you've never so much as picked up a pawn. Here are just a few reasons to add Story Time Chess to your 2023 lesson plan:

StoryTimeChess Image 2

1.    We Make Learning Fun!
Our story-based curriculum was born of a simple question from a young student back in 2006: Why? Why does each piece move in a different way?

In early childhood, most kids aren’t developmentally ready to accept arbitrary rules. They are, however, masterfully fluent in the language of story. So rather than simply telling students, “Kings move to adjacent squares,” we wrap the rule in a story and allow kids to answer that “Why?” for themselves.

That’s where characters like King Shaky come in. King Shaky is scared of everything and tiptoes nervously wherever he goes, one step at a time. By forging a personal relationship between the students and the pieces as characters, kids as young as three can easily recall how each one likes to move.

StoryTImeChess Image 3

The tutor-led video lessons in Story Time Learning Live keep the fun going in every episode with a captivating story, colorful illustrations, “Chessercises” that get kids moving, and gameplay exercises on the chessboard. Research has proven that kids learn better when they're having fun, and with Story Time Learning Live, your children will have so much fun listening, watching, and playing, they won't even realize how much they're learning!

StoryTimeChess Image 4

2.    Playing Chess = Stronger Math Skills
Building strong STEM skills early in life is key to later academic success. But between ages two and seven, kids are often prone to what psychologists call preoperational cognition-in other words, magical thinking. Story Time Learning Live helps them shift from magical to logical thinking. Each video lesson is led by a professional chess tutor who helps students analyze board positions and consider all the possibilities before arriving at the strongest move.

We also include basic arithmetic, the cornerstone of quantitative reasoning, in fun and unique ways. In Story Time Chess: Level 3 (included with Story Time Learning Live subscriptions), our “Spaghetti Tug o’ War” module introduces piece point values, giving early childhood learners an opportunity to practice addition, subtraction, and even multiplication.

StoryTimeChess Image 5
Longitudinal studies have shown that early childhood students who routinely apply quantitative skills outside of regular instruction time find it much easier to bring those skills in an academic setting. This makes Story Time Learning Live an excellent tool for promoting mathematical aptitude, adaptability, and confidence.

3.    Listening Leads to Literacy
Hearing stories aloud boosts kid's pre-reading skills and expedites vocabulary acquisition, so when you queue up a Story Time Learning Live video, you're in for a treat: out-loud storytelling and colorful illustrations that supercharge linguistic development.
StoryTimeChess Image 6
Our story-based approach allows parents, teachers, and on-screen tutors to model lexical fluency and imbue new words with emotional meaning. Each lesson includes Interactive Moments grounded in dialogic reading, the practice of stopping periodically to repeat key phrases, introduce novel vocabulary, and analyze the text.

With these reading comprehension techniques - all of which deliver short- and long-term academic benefits - Story Time Learning Live helps children gain knowledge, make sense of their world, and build the mental muscles that will make them keen, confident readers.

4.    Decisions, Decisions…
Blaise Pascal, who invented the first mechanical calculator in 1642, once described chess as a “gymnasium of the mind.” How right he was: Modern science has confirmed that chess exercises both the right “creative” side of the brain and the left “analytical” side.

Story Time Learning Live takes unique advantage of this phenomenon: Stories and illustrations stimulate the right brain hemisphere, while learning rules and strategies lights up the left hemisphere.

StoryTimeChess Image 7
Our two-pronged approach gives students invaluable opportunities to work on their decision making skills. Students are challenged to examine the whole board, weigh all their options, and determine creative solutions to unique problem's all while having fun playing a game!

For an in-depth look at how Story Time Chess can help kids become excellent decision makers, check out our blog about building executive function skills in early childhood.

5.    The Power of “Good Game!”
Coping with highs and lows of winning and losing can be tough for everyone, especially young children, and Story Time Learning Live is a perfect tool to help kids attain a healthy relationship with competition. 

StoryTImeChess Image 8
That’s because Story Time Chess lessons focus just as much on sportsmanship, respect, and empathy as they do on nuts-and-bolts chess skills. Our stories are rife with positive examples of fairness and friendly competition and, no matter the outcome of a game or exercise, we always shake hands and say, “Good game,” at the end.

StoryTimeChess Image 9
When paired with Story Time Chess: The Game, Story Time Learning Live gives you everything you need to be chess ambassadors in your own social circle. Invite friends and neighbors over to learn from the videos, then break out into a mini-game tournament with the whole group. You'll be astounded to see your kiddos practicing patience, making moves on their own, and shaking hands at the end with grace and humility.

6.    Family Bonding Across the Chessboard
Playing games as a family provides a host of benefits, from improved communication to a greater sense of closeness. Story Time Chess and Story Time Learning Live are committed to bringing families together across the chessboard through our story-based learning system.
StoryTimeChess Image 10
With highly interactive exercises and an emphasis on reading aloud, Story Time Chess puts the parent-child relationship in the spotlight, making our approach ideal for homeschoolers. Our signature game set even includes a double-sided chessboard, featuring a Chesslandia-themed “story side” and a standard “tournament” side. The custom pieces can be used with or without the character cutouts, allowing older children to join the fun and offering younger kids a more “official” style of gameplay to grow into.

All that said, we know homeschoolers are constantly multi-tasking. Story Time Learning Live's video lessons mean that your kids can learn and review on their own while 're working, making dinner, grading homework, or prepping the next day's lesson plan.

7.    We've Got Your Back
As educators ourselves, we know how frustrating it can be to incorporate new material into your lesson plan, only to find you don't have all the answers. That's where Story Time Chess and Story Time Learning Live rise above the competition. Our in-house customer service team will work with you to resolve any issues that might crop up, be they technical gremlins, teaching quandaries, or questions about chess in general.

StoryTimeChess Image 11

Our client support doesn't end there, though. We publish blogs and newsletters on a regular basis that provide educational insights, teaching tips, chess news, and more. We even release free additional stories and seasonal mini-games throughout the year, giving you a bank of extra content and fun chess variants to keep your child's chess adventure fresh and exciting

With Story Time Learning Live and Story Time Chess, you can seamlessly integrate this beloved, brain-boosting game into your homeschool and take advantage of all the developmental benefits that come with playing chess. We've always maintained that learning to play chess is a lifelong, self-perpetuating gift; Story Time Chess makes it possible to give that gift to younger children than ever before.

StoryTimeChess Image 12
Ready to make the right move and embark on your family's chess journey? Click here to get an HBC-exclusive discount on your first year's subscription to Story Time Learning Live and great deals on our award-winning Story Time Chess game set, Level 2 Strategy Expansion, Level 3 Tactics Expansion, and more!

Special thanks goes out to our friends at Story Time Learning for sharing with us the many benefits of adding chess into your homeschool day.

Story TIme Learning-LOGONathaniel Basch-Gould serves as Story Time Chess's Editor-in Chief and has over a decade of experience in education and product development. Before joining the Story Time Chess creative team in 2018, he was a chess teacher, English tutor, actor, and freelance writer. He's currently working on the next wave of Story Time game sets, which will introduce even more classic strategy games to younger players than ever before.

Get your Story Time Learning Live subscription at the Homeschool Buyers Club and save 42%.


Link to share

Use this link to share this article