I’m a member of a few different online homeschooling communities. Even after nearly three years of homeschooling, I still enjoy learning and finding out how others do it. In one of the communities, I recently read about something that is new to me: project based homeschooling.
As far as I can tell so far, the basic idea behind it is that my kids decide what they want to do, and I simply facilitate that: I provide supplies, I drive them to the library or other locations necessary to complete the project, I guide and suggest. It’s not unschooling, exactly, but neither is it school at home.
Being that C & J are tactile learners, I’m thinking this may be the ideal way to help them learn by doing, while keeping me from driving myself insane trying to figure out from one day to the next what will interest them, or how I can turn something into a “do” rather than a “sit and lecture” or “sit and write.”
I’m a little concerned that this could lead to a massive output of cash that I’m not really able to handle, but perhaps I can delay the larger, more expensive projects if they come up with enough smaller, cheaper ones to keep us busy for a while. And then again – this is their education I’m talking about here. I shouldn’t really allow money to be a hindrance to their education, should I?
The great thing about this particular method is that there really is no end to the list of things that can be done: cooking, baking, animal care, home repair, car maintenance, survival skills, homekeeping, art, music, a whole wealth of science ideas, photography, reading, writing. Anything they might wish to learn/study, can be done with this method. Because, from what I’ve read thus far, the “projects” aren’t necessarily “projects.” It’s not always about building something, or creating something, or doing some kind of project as most people define the word. The word, in this sense, can refer to simply taking an interest (say photography) and expanding it into something bigger than a simple lesson (so the project could be anything from learning how cameras works, to the history of cameras and photography, to taking photos and creating a scrapbook, photo album or a frame for a favored photo – or all of these things!).
I haven’t fully made up my mind yet. I feel I still need to read more about this, get a deeper sense of what this is supposed to be, how it works, and consider a little more if I really think it’s a good fit for C & J. But right now, it’s looking pretty good.
Have you tried this method? What did you think of it? If you haven’t tried it, what do you think of it? Do you see any pros or cons I might have missed?