Monday, June 17, 2013

Minecraft as Summer Learning

It is Day One of summer vacation. I figured that I could give my kiddos at least one gimme day of just hanging out and doing whatever they wanted to do, which pretty much means that they got to play a lot of Minecraft.

No worries though! It turns out that Minecraft is edu-ma-ca-tion-al.

In the three days since school has let out, I have witnessed my children use their obsessions with Minecraft to build on several very important academic subject areas:

Math: Sam and Quinn spent a substantial amount of time on Saturday doing extensive math problems to figure out how many…somethings they needed to…do something having to do with Minecraft.

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Reading: Quinn loves to read—as long as what he’s reading features big cartoon drawings. He briefly began a love affair with the Magic Treehouse Books, but then he discovered Captain Underpants and his non-cartoony chapter books phase ended.

Do you want to know how to get him to read big chunks of text on a page though? Make it a wiki about Minecraft.

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Collaboration and family bonding: My kids spend a fair amount of their time acting like they want to kill each other. Yet if you put something interesting about Minecraft on the computer, they will all cram into one chair to pore over it.

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Chorus: I wandered past Quinn and Jack playing at a computer today. Quinn was playing Minecraft and Jack was humming the exact same song as was playing on the screen. He does that all the time. It is one of my favorite things about him. No worries that he doesn’t have a weekly music class anymore; Jack is keeping his vocal chords primed and ready.
Art: Every single ding dang day my kids use reams of paper making Minecraft-themed drawings. These are some of Jack’s. He actually drew them at school. I was too lazy to walk into the living room to take photos of today’s art that was on the coffee table.
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Also, these are in color and today’s are black and white, so I thought you might like these more.

Til-the-End

A couple of weeks ago, Jack said he wanted to write a blog about Minecraft and even though part of me was all, “nooooooooo,” another part of me was all, “Dayum, this is a fantastic way to (a) encourage Jack to write, (b) teach Jack to type more fluently, and (c) entertain the hell out of me.”
It will not, however, serve as a lesson in grammar unless I decide that my editing their work for proper punctuation is more important than their artistic integrity. I’m stuck on that one.
I mean, the kid capitalized “Bloggers,” for the love of God. Clearly he needs to learn a little something about bloggers and how we are most definitely a lower-case “b” group of people.

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Jack eventually let Sam take over the typing and he took on more of a “creative mastermind” role.
I figure that by the end of the summer one of two things will have happened: They will have lost interest and abandoned their blog almost immediately or they will be fluent in HTML.

They are welcoming comments over there, so if you like Minecraft, you’re welcome to hop on over. They are also looking for topics that you’d like to hear about in their future blog posts.
In the meantime, I plan on not feeling the slight bit bad about letting my children play hours and hours of Minecraft this summer because of the, you know, LEARNING. You all have fun with your summer homework packets though.

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