Where Minecraft and Homeschooling Collide!A Feature on Minecraft Homeschool
Minecraft Homeschool offers a safe and fun way to combine the purpose of learning and the passion for gaming. It offers 5-week online classes to students of various levels of interest and expertise in Minecraft. Lite classes are recommended for students aged 5-15; advanced classes are recommended for those aged 9-18. Creativity is encouraged through the assigned builds; teamwork is learned through the team builds; flexibility is given since classes do not have a required meeting time.
IT professional and homeschooling parent Jody Nova came up with the idea for Minecraft Homeschool while searching for a better way for her children to enjoy learning. “When my son started crying every time we pulled out the schoolbooks, I knew it was time for a change. Through the summer I began to investigate ways to pair his love of Minecraft with learning. Over the past 9 months we have taken what was initially a project between him and me brought it to thousands of homeschooled students around the world.”
From being a homeschool project between Jody and her son, Minecraft Homeschool has grown into a learning tool accessed by thousands of homeschoolers around the world and is being run by a team of professionals and homeschooling teenagers. “I initially began this venture by myself and ran it that way until I ran out of time and energy about 3 months into the project. I then began to pull in some of my friends to help with administrative tasks. At that time I also began to notice that some students were excelling far beyond any of my expectations. I opened conversations with the parents of these students and have slowly build a team of homeschool teens that are the life blood of our servers. Each of them has a special skill that makes them valuable to our venture, whether it is an amazing aptitude for creating redstone contraptions, a great skill in resolving player conflict, phenomenal map design abilities or something else. Every day we are growing this venture to server more of the homeschooling community, but are also building our team on some of the most talented Minecrafters in that same homeschooling community!”
Many homeschooling parents and children from different parts of the world have embraced this new way of learning. “Parents have been fantastic about giving us feedback that has helped us tweak our curriculum and processes to work best for everyone. The kids are funny. At the end of the class they all have to fill out a survey that lists their most and least favorite parts of the class. Almost across the board they say their favorite part was the builds and their least favorite part was the quizzes. That being said, our repeat student rate is amazing, so we know they are having a good experience. We hear so many stories about special students with social struggles coming out of their shell and making lasting friendships. That right there is worth so much to us!”
Where will Minecraft Homeschool be in the future? “Our goal is always to deliver a quality product to our students that make them want to come back for more. With the success of our history program, we are looking ahead to next year and what else we can offer. The plan is to have science, creative writing, and math offerings throughout next year. For the long term, we would love to develop a product that is so successful that a curriculum publisher was willing to partner with us to offer ‘real’ curriculum instead of the current ‘best option’ method we are using today.”