Thursday 16 February 2012

A double edged sword

It's strange, I look at all these wonderful blogs and see beautiful crafts people do with their children, or the adventures they get up to in beautiful settings (ok we do have some adventures but not as many as I would like) and I feel a tinge of jealousy that our life isn't like that.  I then bemoan the fact that there are very few blogs that I have come across that share what life is like with older children who go to school, but then don't often blog about what my lot do!  Why don't I blog about it?  Probably because it doesn't fit in with the crafty, slow(er) living, low tech life that I dream about.  But I'm going to redress this imbalance right now and introduce you to Minecraft.

It has taken over the boys lives a little bit, especially since Stuart set up a server for them, so they can now play online with each other and their friends.  So what is it?  It's a computer game where you have to mine for things and then can make items with the things that you mine.  The example that sticks in my head is if you combine water and lava you get obsidian, but you can only mine the obsidian if you have already found diamond to make a diamond drill bit.  The boys create accomodation and have to protect it from creatures that try to destroy it all when night falls. 

Since they have now got a server, some of their school friends are joining in the fun too.  Although it also adds a political element to it too.  There have been occasions when some of the children have been silly, and Luke and Alec who are moderators are sorting things out as diplomatically as possible (I overheard Luke at one point, and was struck with how fair he was being).  They have also introduced a monetary system, which has already thrown up a few interesting results.  For example Luke is now employing Ethan in the making of potions to sell.  But last night somebody started to steal the potions. 

I am really impressed with the imagination and skills this game draws upon.  It is not the most graphically enhanced of games, which I think adds to its charm.  However, and this is the double edged sword bit, it does suck them in to spending alot of time on the computer.  Luke and Ethan are pretty good at regulating themselves, but Alec finds it difficult to to drag himself away, and when he isn't playing it, he is researching things about, but then that is all part of his character, such a focussed child when something interests him.  For half-term we have had to impose a curfew, so that after lunch computer time is ended and we go find something else to do.  I don't like curfews, but without it I know exactly what this half term would consist of!!

So there you have it, technically addicted children, but they are my children, and I can see the benefits they are getting from it as well as the drawbacks!  And right now, it is!

Oh, and on a completely different note, don't forget my giveaway to celebrate 300 posts.  Just leave a comment here.


  1. Fantastic post, Claire. Yours is one of the mist authentic blogs I know. xxx

  2. I love your blog too, real life not all airy fairy!

    Game sounds good if they enjoy it.

  3. My boys love Minecraft too...and I definitely impose a time limit otherwise I would never see them!

  4. :D Hey did you see the minecraft hat I made for my friend's daughter? It's on my Ravelry Project page is you haven't.

  5. I haven't come across Mincraft, but this year, I bought my older three a DS each as I figured that they were old enough and I wanted them to have a bit of independence regarding how they spend their free time and learn to moderate it. Anyway, it's been great, so much so that I bought myself a DS last month and now the children all laugh at me because I'm often to be found, glued to Professor Layton whilst feeding Billy!! DH secretly thinks the DS is good too as he loves crosswords.

    I don't see the harm if the child is old enough, life is all about balance isn't it.

    You're right about there not being many blogs for older school children and it would be good to read some, the teen years are always eventful whatever the mode of education.

    Bet you are enjoying these days of spring weather and planning your allotment! xxx

  6. Computer time has to be limited in this house too. We don't have any gaming I have to admit. I personally hate it, and think its a great time waster, but I do let them have some time on such sites as coolmaths4kids. I struggle to watch them even at this!! I think my attitude comes partly from my upbringing though, as I was brought up without a TV, and was not allowed to have anything to do with gaming. Minecraft sounds similar to something the children play on my OH's phone, some Alchemy game. There is clearly an educational factor to this, and mine have learnt some useful stuff too. But its just that full on gawping at a screen I hate. Obviously my OH being a computer programmer, he doesn't mind it half so much. Its a hard one. I think you are doing the right thing limiting it, though it does sound like they are enjoying it!
    If I come across a blog that embraces older children at school I will share it, but I honestly haven't seen one either. Its a shame, as we all like to read others experiences, it helps so much with our own.
    As for what you do, you always seem to be busy enjoying life! And if we're honest, we all feel a little jealous of other peoples exciting lives, or at least what we see as being exciting. I think the trick with blog reading, is to remember that everyone puts their best face forward as it were!
    Hope you have a lovely weekend xx


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