Project-based homeschooling is about mentoring my child so that he will eventually direct his own life-long learning. It’s not “arts and crafts,” and it’s not about letting him have his own way, willy-nilly. It’s about supporting his interests and desires and mentoring him. In other words, there are “tricks of the trade” in project-based learning that will help him dig deep into those interests and truly learn. My goal is to help other parents learn these “tricks” too – whether you homeschool or not.
From my post, What is Project-based Homeschooling:
This process is about learning how to step back and see the value in letting your children take the lead. It’s also about learning how to “step in” to support their interests by helping them learn how to find answers to their questions, solve their own problems, achieve their own goals, and watch them become deeply engrossed in their work.
Children don’t get personal mentors in traditional school, but every child – homeschooled or not – has the opportunity to be mentored by a conscientious parent who knows him/her best, who is with him through it all, and who can guide him to the resources he needs to become more than passive learners.
I hope you view the slideshow of some of my son’s work, but remember, building models is just a part of project-based homeschooling. By building, drawing or sculpting representations, he has to study, research, and carefully observe an object. In the course of our projects, we also read books and information about the subject on the Internet, view countless photos, take field trips and speak to experts on the subject, if possible. It’s my job to model the process and behavior I want my son to learn, and it’s also my job to document and remind him of his work. By paying attention to the “good stuff” that my son is doing, he’ll want to do more of it. As my son does more projects, he’ll begin to take this path as a researcher more independently. Whenever possible, I always go with his ideas first.
My mentor in this process is Lori Pickert. Her website is wonderful, and if you’re interested in this method of homeschooling, I suggest you read it and her book.
Once my eldest son turned six, we began to embark on project-based homeschooling in a more serious manner. Some of the kindergarten projects you see listed below were projects I initiated in order to “silently feed the interests” of my young children. But in later projects, such as the Celery-Lettuce Cake and Building the Titanic, my son initiated and controlled every point of the project. As he gets older, I’m more able to talk to him about his projects and where he wants to take them.
I hope you’ll follow along with us on this journey! Thank you! Don’t hesitate to e-mail me with your questions: shellipabis (at) gmail (dot) com.
What is Project-based Homeschooling? - A good place to start.
Interview with Lori Pickert: Getting Started with Project-based homeschooling for Younger Children, Part 3 - This post has a Question and Answer with Lori Pickert in the comments area for YOUR questions. Check out the good questions that have already been asked.
Experimenting with Project-based Homeschooling, Part 1 ~ My very first glimpse at PBH. For more in depth, see other posts.
My Nature Boy - On discerning my son’s deep interest.
Kindergarten / First Grade Projects:
Building the Titanic: Project-based Homeschooling - an example of PBH in real life.
The Little Projects: Project-based Homeschooling – What my son spends most of his time doing. The “in between” projects & experimentation with different mediums.
Clay Penguin – Another “little project.”
First Grade Projects
Preschool the Second Time
Coming in the future…
And my son wants to grow mushrooms!