Why Use Minecraft in Your Homeschool...And an Awesome Minecraft Event Near You

Although there have been- and probably always will be- discussions about the dangers of too much screen time- and the quality of the screen time- for kids, I’ve found that one of the best ways to handle my kids’ love of screens and video games as an educational opportunity.

My son was the first in our family to have Minecraft as a favorite video game. He saved up his own money to buy the computer version and played with friends or in his own world. The console version soon found it’s way on to our Playstation, and other family members began playing it as well. 
I quickly realized that Minecraft was a pretty big thing. And I discovered, to my delight, that there were lots of ways to use this very popular new game for educational purposes. After all, that’s my job as a homeschool mom- to turn everything into school! (I’m just kidding, by the way. I’m fine with the kids enjoying play just for play’s sake.) But I was happy to find ways for the kids to use their newfound interest in educational ways.

Using Minecraft for education

So, why should you be using Minecraft in your homeschool? If your kids already have an interest in the game, there are some great educational purposes that can be served by using the game.

It requires creativity and critical thinking.

Have you ever truly watched a kid create in Minecraft? It’s pretty clear that the game requires lots of creativity and critical thinking skills. This definitely isn’t a passive, sit and watch, video game. In creative mode kids have to think through which building materials to use as well as plan out the construction of their creations. In survival mode they also have to think through what they need in order to stay alive in the game, adding another dimension to the things they have to think through.

One of my daughters created our house in Minecraft. She planned out all of the rooms and chose materials that would fit with different rooms, making water turn on and off in the bathroom, placing chests and supplies in closets. It definitely took her some time and thinking to result in the awesome representation of our house that she ended up with.

It gives a hands-on way to demonstrate learning.

My children have different learning styles. One is very visual; one learns well by hearing; and a couple are very hands-on. They typically prefer to demonstrate their knowledge of the material that we’re learning in a way that matches their learning style. Minecraft has provided a fun way for my hands-on learners to practice what they’re learning.

My son is a hands-on learner. With the ancient history curriculum that we used one year, kids were given the opportunity to choose a project to demonstrate knowledge of each unit. When we were talking about the ancient Egyptians, he chose to build a Great Pyramid to scale using Minecraft.

He used math skills to convert the dimensions of the Great Pyramid to something he could work with in Minecraft, and then he spent hours constructing this pyramid. The game allowed him to demonstrate what he had learned in history and use mathematical knowledge in a hands-on way that was so much better than just answering questions on a test.

It offers a fun way to learn new material.

Because Minecraft is becoming so popular as an educational tool, you can find all kinds of Minecraft classes available for kids. Or you can create your own. New material can be taught while kids use the format of the game- which they’re already familiar with- to practice and demonstrate what they’re learning. There are computer coding classes that teach kids how to code in the context of creating Minecraft mods. But there are also subject matter classes- science and history- that give kids new information, while using the game platform.

My son was able to take a Minecraft Middle Ages history class a few years ago. In the class, he learned information through reading and videos, and then he, as a part of a team, had various tasks to complete that constructed a world based on the information they were learning. It was an awesome way to take a subject like history- which some kids think is dry and dusty- and make it fun, using a platform that the kids already love.

These are just a few of the reasons that Minecraft is a great tool for homeschool families.

Minecraft and homeschooling

If you have kids that love Minecraft, I recently came upon an awesome Minecraft themed event. I knew that my younger girls especially would love this, and I’m planning to take them. Minefaire is a live family event for Minecraft fans, and it’s coming to cities around the US- including one near us!

Minefaire: A Minecraft Event for the Whole Family

Minefaire: Minecraft event for the family

What is Minefaire?

Minefaire is a live event that comes to cities across the US. At Minefaire you’ll find entertainment, question and answer sessions with Minecraft You Tubers, opportunities for gaming and virtual reality, education workshops, and a costume contest, as well as gaming vendors.

Where can you attend Minefaire?

Minefaire has already been in Houston,TX this year and is also coming to Charlotte,NC, Washington,DC and Philadelphia,PA.

Minefaire and Education

If you’re especially interested in Minecraft and education, you can join the Minefaire: Education Insiders Facebook group to stay updated on the educational opportunities at Minefaire and find great posts about Minecraft and education.

You can learn more about Minefaire or purchase tickets here.

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