Minecraft for Homework?!
The beauty of homeschooling is we can find ways to include our children’s passions in our learning. That means finding ways to include even their computer games in to school. All 3 of my kids live and breathe Minecraft. Its a open ended computer game that in many ways works like virtual LEGOs. To build things, you can chose to have all materials infinitely accessible (creative mode) or you can choose to acquire the materials for yourself as if you were lost in the woods (survival mode). The open-ended nature of this game in particular lends itself easily to educational projects. Another component of the game allows you to play with other players connected to the same server. You can play or build things cooperatively with people located elsewhere in the world.
At our first homeschool convention we met Skrafty and saw a vision of what we could do with Minecraft for school. Skrafty runs a virtual homeschool co-op with 2 parts. For free you can play in a protected space with moderated chat filters and parent moderators. For a small fee you can also sign up to take classes that incorporate Minecraft into core subjects. You can find a full course load of classes within the Skrafty platform both self-paced as well as live.
This year we have used Minecraft and Skrafty in our Language Arts work for my 2nd and 3rd graders.
Minecraft and Reading
This year Cub built the stories he was reading. We discovered he was doing it after a couple different family read-alouds, and later we changed out his comprehension questions for Minecraft builds, for a change of pace. Last summer’s read aloud was Watership Down and he built the warren and had blocks to represent the different characters. After reading Charlotte’s Web as a family, he built the farm and barn with all the animals from the story. This spring we changed up his reading comprehension questions and had him build the stories instead of answering questions. I asked him each day what he was adding to his build from that day’s reading. He loved it!
Minecraft and Writing
Lynn loves to write. She will often sit at the computer and type out a creative story that is going in her head. She prefers to type out her story because its faster for her. Chatting with other players during role playing games on Skrafty motivated her to learn to type and build her speed. She can type as fast as me already!
This year we added an IEW themed writing class from Skrafty to her homeschool plan. Each week she would sit for a live lecture in a virtual classroom with her teacher and classmates, and then complete a written assignment and submit it to the teacher using Google Docs. There is also an optional Minecraft project that goes along with the subject they are writing about. The build can be used to motivate a student to do their writing and complements the topic of the week’s writing assignment, although my student chose not to do the builds: she just loves to write! She liked having classmates and seeing a teacher each week. I enjoyed that I could delegate one subject out and watched her independence grow.
More about Skrafty
As we plan next year we will be using more of the Skrafty classes in our plan. We are planning to include more IEW writing, grammar, Spanish, Literature and maybe History and Science for next year. There are so many class options, it is possible to have a full course load from Skrafty’s offerings. Our favorite membership level is the EDU subscription with Rank Up which gives you unlimited access to all self-paced classes, huge discounts on the Live classes, and extra in game perks.
Live classes at Skrafty are open now for the 2018-2019 school year so its a great time to check it out and join us.