Education in the “Classics”

Education in the Classics | HSLDA Blog

Education in the Classics | HSLDA Blog

Advance token to Boardwalk.

Go to Jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

I say it was Colonel Mustard… in the library… with the rope.

As part of the older kids’ 20th Century history, Darren introduced them to some classic board games.

It was kind of a surprise that they weren’t at all familiar with Monopoly or Clue. They had no idea that rolling doubles is great until it happens the third time, or that there’s a secret passage from the Kitchen to the Conservatory.

What in the world is a Conservatory anyway?

Education in the Classics | HSLDA Blog

It’s been years since I played either game. As far as Monopoly goes, I was able to appreciate anew how utterly fussy the game is. It goes like this:

Roll the dice. If you roll doubles, you go again. If you roll doubles three times in a row, you to go Jail.

To get out of Jail, you can roll doubles, wait three turns, or pay $200.*

You get $200 for passing Go. Unless you’re going to Jail.

When you land on a property, you can buy it. When you’ve got all of one color, you can build houses. When you build enough houses, you can build a hotel. If you land on somebody else’s property, you have to pay rent. If you can’t pay rent, you can mortgage your property. If you need a property that someone else has, you can strike up a trade. Or auction a property. Somehow. Kind of fuzzy on that part.

In order for Railroads to be worth anything, you need all four. You also need both Utilities. Chance cards are iffy. Community Chest cards are better.

Education in the Classics | HSLDA BlogHey, you gave me a 10 instead of a 100! I know, they’re both yellow. The Bank demands that everybody change your 100s for 500s! My dice went off the board, that roll doesn’t count! You own the entire blasted side of the board! Hey, hey, do I have a business proposition for you — Oriental Avenue and Waterworks… plus $100? Please?

Surprisingly, the older three learned it pretty quickly. They thought it was great. The fact that the games lasted less than an entire freaking day helped the fun factor. Although I didn’t play, I did catch a ride on the Reading Railroad to Boardwalk, just for old time’s sake. It’s as posh as ever.

Rose’s family introduced our kids to Clue. We borrowed someone else’s set to play at home. This version is an updated one, so there’s actually not a Conservatory (nobody knew what it was anyway). But the gameplay is the same—you make suggestions, eliminate options, and finally take a guess at the cards hidden in the center envelope. It’s kind of a shock to find out your character was the murderer all along. You wouldn’t think that would slip your mind.

The kids learned a lot about paying rent, counting money, strategy, and logic. Darren enjoyed passing on this bit of American culture to our children. And I was glad to listen in while not having to worry about who owned St. James Place or whether I forgot to mark off Miss Scarlet.

School isn’t all fun and games… but sometimes it can be.

*Sparkler says that you get out of jail for $50, not $200.I guess I wasn’t listening when Darren went over that part. Either that or my siblings extorted money from their younger sister when I learned the game.


Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; all other images by Sara Jones.

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