My children are avid Minecraft players.
Avid is a respectful way to describe an obsession. Even the most “unschooliest” of Mother’s might become concerned seeing the level of addiction my children have developed to this game. And so, naturally, was I!
So I’ve been giving it some serious thought. When my almost 12-year-old doesn’t want to join us at the beach, for instance… because he’s been accepted as an admin on the City Wars server. Seriously? You don’t want to go to the beach? All sorts of insecure thoughts raise their ugly heads. This is the epitome of the stereotypical “unsocialized” homeschooler! How will he learn anything if all he wants to do is play that game? How can our homeschooling be fun if I have to force it to happen?
Here’s what I have concluded. My kids are completely engaged, creative, happy and learning while they are playing Minecraft. They are socializing with each other, with friends who they know in “real life”, with friends around the world that they have never met, and they are socializing with me! When I am supportive of their interests, they talk to me about it. I’m continuously being begged to come and see their city, the room on a giant ship that they’ve made “just for me”. I’m shown the ins and outs of mining, creepers and enchanting tools.
As the kids share, I begin to understand how alive their minds are with excitement, problem solving, planning and networking. Digging deeper I began to understand how much of what they are doing is a truly engaging way for them to be working with concepts in mathematics, science and social studies. There is art, engineering and communication. The subject matter is actually quite vast.
So how can we incorporate this into our state standards curriculum? Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:
1. Homeschoolers who are studying biomes could certainly find a creative way to incorporate their observations of Minecraft biomes and make observations about how realistic they are.
2. How about trying to replicate areas of study, such as the Great Pyramids or the Empire State Building? Searching on movies on YouTube can reveal some amazing projects people have accomplished with Minecraft. I’ll share some at the end of this post.
3. Problems getting your children to write? Use their Minecraft adventures as a muse! Or get them to start a Minecraft journal, or if they prefer they could blog.
4. Older children could become involved as editors and contributors to the Minecraft Wiki project.
5. Consider Minecraft art projects. How would the family dog look as a minecraft dog? What about the front of the house?
6. Challenge them to recreate areas they know well, such as their front yard or a favorite park in minecraft. Consider this social studies and utilize minecraft to help learn mapping skills.
7. Ask them to utilize Piston inventions and write a short report on what they created and how it works. Have them learn how to record their own video and upload to YouTube to share with the Minecraft community.
8. Incorporate ‘Note Blocks’ into a project. View, “The Great Entertainer” video for inspiration!
9. Encourage the use of spreadsheets for their planning and execution of projects they are working on. This is especially useful to them when they are collaborating with other players. My son built an extensive spreadsheet to help him organize a New York City project he was working on.
10. Have older siblings create ‘treasure hunts’ for younger siblings. Through the use of ‘Signs’ they can give easy instructions with sight words. Using directions in the signs can help establish an engaging way for younger children to practice: right and left, forward and backward or middle, top and bottom for example.
Additional resources for homeschooling Moms who want to incorporate Minecraft into their curriculum:
- The Minecraft Teacher – Joel Levin – an innovative 2nd grade teacher who has successfully integrated Minecraft into his classroom.
- MinecraftEdu – A suite of tools created by a small group of teachers to help you adapt Minecraft for your own educational purposes.
- EduElfie’s Youtube Channel – Get inspired by this dedicated teacher’s use of Minecraft with his students
Still need Reassurance that Minecraft isn’t a complete waste of your child’s time?
Check out some of these amazing projects that were accomplished in Minecraft. Surely you could at least consider this an art elective!
The Taj Mahal
Castle in the Sky
Dragon Valoo from Dragon Roost island ( Zelda )