Tag Archives: minecraft homeschool

Storytelling with Minecraft Homeschool

MCHS Book Adventure mapIt’s week 5 and the final week of Build Your Own Adventure, my son’s latest class with Minecraft Homeschool. He has finished writing and building his own adventure map and has tried out a few maps made by some of his classmates. It’s time to enjoy the sandbox and maybe play some mini-games with his classmates.

I’ve always let my son choose which Minecraft Homeschool class to join. For this term (right after summer camp), he chose Build Your Own Adventure, his first writing class. I enrolled him in this class last month, not knowing that it would work hand in hand with his Language Arts lesson a little further down the road. At the same time that he was building his own adventure Brain Quest 4: Writingstory in Minecraft, he was also practicing how to write a story in his Brain Quest 4 workbook. As luck would have it, he was able to imagine and improve on telling his story by crafting it both in Minecraft Homeschool and in Brain Quest! (I am one very happy homeschooling mom!)

Now, it’s time for my son to just enjoy playing in Minecraft Homeschool until the next class in November. We are signing up, and we are excited! (Though I don’t play the game, I’m a Minecrafter’s mom and an avid supporter of Minecraft. I was so amused to see my son using a virtual book and quill to write his adventure in Minecraft. How cool!)

 

 

 

 

Gamer’s Mom Lesson No. 3: Change is Scary, But Change Can Be Good

Minecraft.jpgJust like the millions of Minecraft fans all over the world, my son and I were worried when we heard the big news today. I had already seen several articles last week about the rumor. Today, it was all over the Internet, not as a rumor but as news. Swedish company Mojang, makers of Minecraft, posted this on their website: “Yes, we’re being bought by Microsoft.”

My son has been a Minecraft player and fan for about two years now. I’m a Minecraft mom, not in the sense that I play the game, but that I am a fan of how Minecraft enables my son to express his creativity, helps him learn about gaming and technology in a fun way, and gives him a safe (supervised) and comfortable digital venue for making friends. I became an even bigger fan of the game thanks to Minecraft Homeschool, because through it my son has found a way to incorporate his love of gaming with his homeschooling. Win-win situation!

I eagerly read up on it. Why did Mojang sell itself to Microsoft? Markus “Notch” Persson, maker of Minecraft, wrote on his blog that he needed to step away from the global phenomenon for his sanity. He has always been a game maker, and he wants to make games for fun. He doesn’t want to make big hits that earn tons of money and carry the responsibility of managing and developing what has become a symbol to millions of gamers all over the world. He and two other founders of Mojang, Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser, are leaving Mojang to the hands of Microsoft.

I’ve been seeing and reading more pessimistic views from Minecraft fans online. My son and I were also worried.  Would this spell the end of Minecraft as we know it?  Will it become more commercial, more exclusive, more limited?  Will it become less engaged with the global Minecraft community who support and promote its spirit of independence, creativity and openness?

 

Thankfully, Mojang has written a reassuring note to all its fans and followers:

“Is the game going to change? Will we still be able to make videos, mods, awesome builds, and all the cool stuff we’ve created over the past few years?
Minecraft will continue to evolve, just like it has since the start of development. We don’t know specific plans for Minecraft’s future yet, but we do know that everyone involved wants the community to grow and become even more amazing than it’s ever been. Stopping players making cool stuff is not in anyone’s interests.”

Here’s to hoping that Minecraft and Mojang will stay awesome.

 

 

Minecraft Homeschool Summer Camp is Here!

Yay! Today is the first day of Minecraft Homeschool Summer Camp!

A few days ago, my son and I did the preliminary work of registering in the new Moodle Learning Management System and completing the orientation lesson (which was a breeze for my son who has finished two classes with Minecraft Homeschool before this summer camp).

Grand Canyon for Kids articleToday, he was excited to start building and I was excited to see what the lesson would be about. Usually, I’d sit with him at the beginning of the week’s lesson so we could go through the assigned reading or videos together before he gets to the individual and team builds. Today, we read about the Grand Canyon 🙂 Admittedly, I’m usually the one more excited about the reading and video materials because I also learn a lot from them!  He was quite relieved that today’s articles were fairly short and easy on the eyes because of the nice layout with photos and illustrations.

After about 30 minutes of reading, it was time for my son to get into the team map and build his house in the Grand Canyon.  When I saw the Minecraft version of the Grand Canyon, I was amazed! The creativity, skill, patience and perseverance that it must have taken to build it were astounding! Kudos to Miss Jody and the Minecraft Homeschool team!

MCHS Summer CampPerhaps more so because I’m not a Minecraft player, I am always blown away by the things people build in Minecraft.  It’s awesome that you can be eight or eighty years old and be able to build such unique structures, contraptions, worlds and stories in Minecraft. And more awesome that you can build and play with other people from anywhere in the world.

After looking at some of the houses that a few of his team mates had already built, my son was ready to make his Grand Canyon dwelling.  (After a few minutes of him starting his build, I usually give him space so he’s more relaxed and able to just enjoy.) Soon, he called me to show me his home, built with clay stones to match the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon.  Done in about ten to fifteen minutes.  Wow. So cool.

So far, so good with Minecraft Homeschool Summer Camp! Looking forward to the coming weeks!

 

Where Minecraft and Homeschooling Collide!

minecrafthomeschool

 

 

 

 

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.”

Nemi Ship

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!”

Trireme Ship

 

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.”

 

It’s Cool to Minecraft Homeschool! (Review)

My 8-year-old son loves Minecraft.  I wanted to find a way to incorporate his passion for Minecraft and for gaming into our homeschooling.  I’m not a gamer, so I researched online.  Thankfully, I found Minecraft Homeschool.

In Minecraft Homeschool, the students start the week by logging into the website for their assignments.  A weekly assignment would either be watching 1 or 2 online videos or reading an online article (links provided on the website). The students will then answer a short quiz about their topic for that week.  After answering the online quiz, they can join their class server to do their assigned individual and team builds. Students coming from different parts of the world communicate by in-game chat or TeamSpeak. Classes run for 5 weeks.

Last January, my son joined the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World Lite Class. (It was his first Minecraft Homeschool class and I just wanted him to try it and enjoy so we opted for the Lite class which is not graded.  Advanced classes, which are graded, are also offered.) Of all the homeschooling that we did then, Minecraft Homeschool was his favorite by far!  Everyday, he looked forward to joining the server, making his builds and chatting with his classmates. With the assigned viewing and reading, I had to sit with him and sometimes help him understand.  But when it came to playing and building in Minecraft, he was having fun and learning (yay!).

During a dinner with extended family, my son wanted to talk about Minecraft Homeschool.  I started to explain to the grown-ups what it was. Then, we were all surprised when he said, “We built the Statue of Zeus, Colossus of Rhodes, the Great Pyramid, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Lighthouse of Alexandria, Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum.”