Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Minecraft Saves My Homeschooling Day

Kirsten is a homeschooling mom and administrator of the PACT homeschooling academy of Natomas Charter School. She loves all things education. Questions about homeschooling? Email her at kspall@natomascharter.org.

One of the questions I get all the time about homeschooling is, “How can you teach your own kid? Just doing homework at night is a fight at my house!” Monday I had one of "those mornings" that made me ask myself the same question. Assignments that usually take ten minutes were taking an hour due to the complaining, whining, and multiple bathroom breaks.

When I whipped out the first and third person posters that I planned on using in the next lesson, I almost slid them back into the binder. I was not looking forward to any more complaining and I was 99% sure that a lesson on a literary term would bring complaints.

Determined I hung them up on the wall and called the kiddo over. “We are going to talk about different ways to tell a story. In one way, we tell the story from the character’s point of view.....” I finished the explanation and we read two passages that used the same events, but told them from different point of views. The idea of first and third person limited point of view still seemed to mystify him.

When I did see the light bulb click on, it was not due to my great teaching or carefully selected mentor texts. It was due to Minecraft. “Ohhhhhhh....Mom, you mean it is like Minecraft? You know like when you are in first person you are, like, in his head. You see what he sees?”

I stayed quiet, stunned. In disbelief.

“Mom, then in third person, you are outside of the person...like...well...stand up.” I stood up and he stood in front of me. “See mom, like you see me now? You see what is going on, but you’re not in my head? You don’t see it happening like I do....you see it from your eyes”.

“Show me.” was all I could get out. Sure enough, he logged into Minecraft and showed me the difference between playing in first and third person. “Who taught you this?”

“Uh...I don’t know. Zack or something. I don’t remember.”

The lesson was over. Only, I don’t think I really taught him a new literary term. Apparently, Zack and Minecraft already did that and now my job is to find out how First and Third Person operate in Minecraft!