Homeschool, History and Minecraft

Homeschool, History and Minecraft

Last year, I could not get my son interested in History to save my life.  Even telling him that most video games have a story line that is based on History did not work.

For the last year or so he has become OBSESSED with Minecraft.  So, I began to watch and observe the game and how he plays it.  I noticed that he would always talk about things like spawning, building a world, killing animals for food, and thought: “Hmmm, that sounds a lot like History.”  I researched the game and found that there are a great many teachers around the world who use Minecraft in the classroom, and I began  setting  my lesson plan around it. Our family ascribes to the Montessori method of education, so combining Minecraft with history seemed like a natural step.

My final hurdle was learning how to play the game itself.  This was a challenge which sparked yet another idea.  One day, while we were riding in the car, my son explained something to me. What it was, I can’t remember, but the comment that ended the conversation went something like this: “Yes, there are things that I know mainly because I am older than you are, and then there are things that you teach me.” As I reflected on this conversation, I decided that he should be the teacher and teach me the game through lessons that he creates in the game.  The screenshot above shows the grade book that he made for me.

We have a personal server for our classroom and I will use Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World, to drive our History lessons and Beautiful Feet Books’ Ancient History Pack  for Literature.  These curricula will help me create the lesson plans and building projects.

Some would say that the heavy computer time would be in contradiction to Montessori’s philosophy, but, I believe that the Minecraft project is in TOTAL alignment with her thoughts.  According to Laurie Ewert-Krocker, “When a Montessorian goes to plan a project, they must think extensively about how the project will connect to the broad picture of education that Maria Montessori recommends.  This includes answering questions such as: How is this project connected to History?  How is it connected to the building up of progress in technology? How might creative expression in language and art and poetry and fiction be encouraged in an occupation project as well?

With the Montessori notion of “Follow the Child,” I am diving headfirst, behind my son, into the Minecraft World.  I know computer time is not ideal for all families, but by observing and determining how your child learns, it helps to mitigate time wasted when you begin your own homeschool journey or find you need to refresh your plans.

As our Minecraft journey into Ancient history progresses, I promise to keep you up to date. Of course, once we work all the bugs out of our server, I will provide you with the information you need to join us!

Want to know more about Montessori?


  1. Love the post and the project Nicole!
    Just 3 points to back you up:
    1) Montessori never said anything about computers. They didn’t have them. So people (and I know what you mean)… people who say she would not have condoned it, don’t really know. She WAS known to be quite unpredictable even to her most loyal followers.
    2) She did say “Follow the child,” which you certainly are doing. This was her mantra because she wanted her method to suit all cultures and all times. She knew hand-washing would not stay the same, and yet we keep it the same. Hmmm.
    3) She worked mostly with young children who are still in the “sensitive periods” of developing coordination and sensory skills. Your son is beyond this stage and no longer requires the heavy emphasis on hands-on projects like a young child would. He is in a period of abstraction and diminished motor skills. And Montessori never got to write the next great book about this age group.
    I know you know all of this, but these comments are just in case you take comfort in some outside shoring and validation, or in case anyone else out there sheds doubt. I think this is perfect. Keep it up!

  2. Jamie Anda says:

    That sounds amazing! Could share more details? did you create a lesson plan you are willing to share?

    • Nicole Sinclair says:

      I did create school work for my son with Story of the World. I allowed him the creative freedom to build whatever buildings or scenes he wanted to based on the story and then he did independent research on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and wrote papers. I also switched to Beautiful Feet’s history and the literature in that program give him more visual ideas. I hope this helps…


  1. […] history was his least favorite subject. Nicole used the spine and the activity book to create an ancient history Minecraft world with her son. Who loves history now? Yup, her son. The message here is that no one knows your child […]

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