When I started homeschooling, I quickly realized that my kids were exactly like me – they loved to learn, but hated to be told what to learn. My kids explored their interests during the “unschooling” process and that’s when my 7-year old daughter fell in love with Minecraft. She was playing hours at a time and I, as a parent, was concerned. She’ll never learn to read if she won’t put that game down, I thought to myself. But I was wrong. Let me explain.
First, understand that my 7-year old daughter “HATES TO READ!” (Her words.)
I was hesitant to let go of my lesson plans and get too off track from reading lessons. But the “unschooling” process means giving my children the opportunity to explore their interests. In doing so, something amazing happened! Yes, my daughter was playing Minecraft for hours on end, but something changed!
Minecraft players have to communicate in the game’s chat feature. My daughter has to read the messages, compose her own messages, and navigate the Minecraft map to finish projects in the game. The words came alive, they finally meant something to her and it clicked. She taught herself how to read!
You might be thinking, Sure, she figured out how to decipher some video game words, but she can’t actually read, just decode. However, isn’t that what reading is? Reading is decoding symbols strung together to form words, words form sentences, and then paragraphs, then chapters and books! That is exactly what happened!
About two months after my daughter started to decipher these Minecraft symbols on the computer screen, she picked up Charlotte’s Web out of our home library and read it from beginning to end without stopping to play Minecraft. My daughter, the 7-year old, who could just barely read her own name, picked up a book meant for readers two grades ahead of her and read just because she wanted to.
Letting go of my homeschool lesson plan wasn’t easy, but it has been truly a blessing. My daughter discovered her passion and fell down an educational rabbit hole. Now, she reads because she wants to.
About the All-Star Blogger
Jodi Stevens is a mama of 6, married to her soul-mate. She started couponing back in 2007 to save her growing family some money. She enjoys snagging freebies, getting coupon overage, drinking coffee, polishing her nails, high heels and of course, her large family. Jodi is a full-time blogger, working on making ends meet, while prepping for the future.
Want to turn playtime into learning time? Check out the Learn to Mod Minecraft software that teaches kids how to code!