Using Minecraft for Homeschool History Lessons

When I combine my 12-year-old’s dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD with homeschool history lessons, several issues arise. Lapbooks require too much attention to detail and frustrate her. Writing research papers are, as of yet, out of the question. Workbooks get boring. She likes movies, but only retains so much.

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I’ve built Mille a homeschool curriculum from a variety of resources, including the excellent BBC History website, a Roman studies workbook, and library books. But I wanted something to bring it together, something to make it real for her.

When we added Minecraft to the mix, my homeschool kid had a brilliant history lesson idea of her own. Let me explain. Last year, Mille created a “Digestive Tract Theme Park” in Minecraft for her co-op anatomy class. So I was not surprised when she suggested building a digital model of a Roman city using Minecraft for her history project. Architecture is one of the outstanding features of Ancient Rome (and modern Rome, for that matter) so I was on board straight away.2

Mille searched the internet to find pictures of the Coliseum on which to base her own version (many large Roman cities had their own amphitheaters). Using her modding skills (from a course I purchased on Educents), Mille is creating a texture pack that will make her city more realistic. She’s planned modest homes and villas, stores and temples, and is considering a Vesuvius-like volcano.

Mille's Minecraft coliseum from above, nighttime view.
Mille’s Minecraft coliseum from above, nighttime view.
Path to the Gladiator's cells
Path to the Gladiator’s cells
The Emperor's box seat
The Emperor’s box seat

Years from now, Mille may not remember the dates of Tiberius’s reign or the major exports of Londinium, but I’m willing to bet she will remember what a Roman city looked like and how it was built. Minecraft has allowed us to work around her learning differences and give her a fully immersive experience into a culture long since past.

About the All-Star Blogger

About Kathy – I am a Christian homeschooling mom from Northern NY. I suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 2011 which left me physically disabled. This blessing allowed me to homeschool my two children, ages 14 and 11, which we had always wanted to do.  I blog about Christianity, homeschooling, children, marriage, and living as a disabled person. You can email me at kathylapan77 at gmail dot com. <3 I hope you enjoy and God bless!

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