Learning From My Children And With My Children - Minecraft is One Tool

in Home Edderslast month

One of my goals in life is to "stop pretending" that I have all of the answers. The older I get, the more I realize that it is ok to say, "I don't know the answer to your question, but I would really enjoy finding the truth with you." My leanring journey is particularly fulfilling as I do life with my wife and kiddos.

Why the change?

  • Sharing knowledge is important. Receiving knowledge is important. But the journey of learning knowledge through experience is most important (at lease in my opinion).
  • Protecting my ego is not.
  • When I admit that "I don't know," I am embracing new opportunities to learn something new that I was not even looking for.
  • Teaching my children how to learn is more important than teaching them what to learn.
  • I want to be a good example for my kiddos. It is ok to say, "I don't know" before starting the investigative journey.

Trust me! I am still very opinionated and passionate about many topics. But my goal is not to let what I know (or don't know) prevent me from connecting with others and learning new things.



Using Minecraft as a Learning Tool

I really enjoyed playing video games when I was younger. I am sure that my parents wished I would have used all of those "wasted hours" in a more productive way. In hindsight, that time was not wasted (for the most part).

Thinking back, I realize that I appreciated being in control. I made Mario jump (or not) at just the right moment to flatten the Goomba or shot a fireball at a Koopa Troopa. (Those are references to the original Super Mario Bros. (1985) on Nintendo).

While playing Oregon Trail, I was responsible for hunting buffalo, rationing food, and forging rivers. My computer "family" lived or died by the decisions I made.

Video games gave me the opportunity be creative and be in control. Now as a Dad, I have see the same desire to create and control in my own kiddos. Although the video games have changed a lot over the years (some changes I don't agree with), I still believe that there are unique learning opportunities (when children and parents takes a moment to look for them).

My kiddos enjoy playing Minecraft. As a Dad, I don't think about how they are wasting their time, but rather think of ways to encourage learning while they play.

Having said that, I believe in responsible video game play. I think it is important that families discuss boundaries to keep children safe while playing online and video games create connections not division.

Consider the following four life lessons that can be learned while playing Minecraft.

  1. Causation - Understanding the relationship between cause and effect is very important. Minecraft is a virtual playground where your child can test various cause-and-effect scenarios.

  2. Problem Solving and Logical Thinking - In Minecraft, a player can craft recipes. This might seem simple (you know, its just a game), but these recipes are similar to "real-world" recipes. If you are baking a cake, you have to have the right ingredients and the right amounts of those ingredients. Not only that, but you have to be thinking far enough in advance to gather those ingredients.

    In Minecraft, your child is in charge of the gathering and the crafting. Where you might buy flour from the store, your child might have to gather and plant seed first to grow the wheat, before making it into flour to make a Minecraft cake.

  3. Scarcity of Resources - Minecraft can also teach your child the principles of supply and demand. Both in the real-world and in Minecraft, the more valuable something is the harder it is to purchase or locate.

  4. Spatial Intelligence - Minecraft allows your child to build in three dimensions. Although kids view building as something fun, they are improving their spatial intelligence - the ability to visual in one's "minds eye."

Honestly, I think the list of learning opportunities is far more vast than the four possibilities I listed above. Your kids are just learning, because that is what young minds do. As parents, we can harass Minecraft as a(nother) learning tool if we take time to think about the game and intentionally start communicating with our children about the game.

Using Minecraft as a Communication Tool

Some of my favorite conversations in life take place when I share an interest with someone else. Fortunately, I share my kiddos interest in Minecraft. Not only do I see Minecraft as a recreational outlet and learning opportunity, I see it as a tool in my communication tool belt.

I allow the game to start conversations. I never want Minecraft to be a "virtual" baby-sitter or a "waste of time." As Dad, I want Minecraft to be one of many ways that I have authentic, genuine conversations with my kiddos.

I hope that engaging conversation today will lead to more conversations in the future. I want my children to find comfort in coming to my wife and I when they need to share about what is happening in their lives (both today and many years from now).

I Created A Course on Listenable.io

Over the last month or so, I have been working on a audio course called A Parent's Guide to Talking About Minecraft. I received word back yesterday, that my course was published.

For a lot of parents (especially those who do not enjoying video games), a conversation about Minecraft is like speaking a foreign language but without a translation dictionary. The goal of my course is to help parents learn the basics of Minecraft so they can add one more tool to their communication tool belt.

In full disclosure, if you sign up through my link, I will be compensated. Listenable.io is a paid service with monthly or yearly subscription options.

If you are interested, be sure use my coupon code for a discount: nathannance

Final Thoughts

Learning is not strictly defined by ...

  • our homeschooling philosophy
  • what curriculum we choose to use or if we use curriculum at all
  • the hour we start and end "formal" learning

Leaning is a life-long event, an every day possibility. I am not only blessed to be able to learn with my children, I am also blessed to learn from my children.

Although Minecraft has become one tool, I hope and pray that it is not the only one. There is so much more learn and I look forward to doing so with my family.

I want to hear from you:

  1. What is one interest that you share with your kiddos?
  2. Does your child have an interest that you would be willing to learn more about?
  3. Have you every played Minecraft or talked to your child about it?

Thank for stopping by!



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