Like most kids, my children love Minecraft. They could play it and talk about it for hours! My son has both Autism and ADHD and is truly obsessed with Minecraft. Every conversation consists of someone talking to him and him replying with a 20-minute response composed of Minecraft facts. We have the PS3 edition and often play together (I’m not going to lie, they’re way, way better at it than me), so I’m pretty familiar with the jargon and how the game works.
While struggling to gain my son’s attention for our homeschool lessons, I realized I needed to combine his obsession with his learning… And it has worked wonders!
I’ve decided to make all of the vocabulary from the game his spelling words each week. They have words ranging from simple, 3-4 letters all the way to complex words. We’re doing 5 each week, to be sure to not wear him out. They will progressively get more difficult with the longer words throughout the year. I’d rather he excitedly learn 5 words than scream through 10 and learn none. 5 matches his attention span closest (he’s actually been tested as having a 3 second attention span) and is working really well for him! The other benefit is that he’s reading and seeing the spelling words as he plays during his off-time.
This week we used the words:
Today, Monday, I had him copy each word and draw a picture of it. This makes it fun and not feel like learning!
Secondly, I made him a story about Minecraft that he could fit the spelling words into. He excitedly read the story to me (and then proceeded to explain that iron swords have more durability than gold, so it made no sense that Steve wanted to get a gold sword in the story when he already had an iron. lol) 🙂
For Math, we decided to figure out how many of certain items we could make with a specific number of diamonds. I know that division may not be where each child is comfortable, so other ideas are counting items, adding ingots together to reach a certain quantity for a specific item, subtracting ingots from a total based on how many each item made requires, etc. These kids are doing this math in their heads while playing, so putting it in the context of pencil and paper math makes math become real!
Our math for today:
In Science, we are researching the real versions of Minecraft items like obsidian, diamonds, iron, the various types of trees, etc. We’re researching how they’re formed, where they are found, their properties, and more. There’s a nearly unlimited world of things to research from Minecraft.
For our Geography portion, we’re learning about each biome from the game, where it’s found in real life, etc.
Finally, in Social Studies, we are learning about how villages and cities are set up and run and using that knowledge when we play. We’re also learning about mining and its benefits and downfalls for local and global economy and life.
For a fun activity, I have a bonus option. This can be made by the parent if they are comfortable in Minecraft (or ask your kids to teach you how!). I made a school with about 20 questions. Each question is on a sign and has multiple choice or true and false answers on signs that have dispensers under them. This should be built in Creative with a super flat world and played in Survival.
The child reads the sign and finds the correct answer. The dispensers for the incorrect answers are filled with things like slowness potions, sickness potions, mob spawners, and the like. The correct answer has useful items, such as diamonds, saplings, night vision potions, etc. The child presses the button for the correct answer and receives the appropriate item from the corresponding dispenser. This is useful for things that aren’t learned in Minecraft-ese (telling time, other spelling words, presidents, your state info, and those kinds of things). Afterward, the kids use the items to go out into the world and use the items won to build and craft and play! These are great also as “tests” at the end of each week!
Here’s a picture of the bonus school I made:
I’ll be posting examples of our Minecraft Homeschooling to this section of my site, so please follow my blog to receive all ideas and updates!
Please share with your friends, both homeschooling and not, as a great tool to either enhance their traditional schooling, keep kids learning through the summer and breaks, or prepare for Kindergarten!
Also, feel free to post any ideas you have to add, your experiences, and your thoughts. I’d love to share and expand on this with your contributions to make it the best learning experience it can be! Thank you!!!
*Disclosure: I do not represent or work for Mojang, Minecraft, or 4J Studios. I own no rights to the images of the game or any part of the game itself. This is simply a fan creation and no rights or permissions for commercial use are expressed or implied.*
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