So I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I was thinking of trying something new, called project based homeschooling (read the original post here.) I’ve been reading more about it, and the more I read, the more it sounds like a good fit for our family.
With ADHD, it can be an enormous struggle to find ways to capture the kids interest when something isn’t interesting to them. And knowing their learning styles only does so much to help find ways to make things interesting. Knowing they’re tactile learners helps me to know that they will learn math better with manipulatives, but keeping the manipulatives fun and interesting over time can be a challenge. And frankly, though my hair is certainly thick enough to take it, it really hurts to tear my hair out trying to figure out ways to keep their attention.
With project based homeschooling, however, they are the ones who design our curriculum. Based on what is interesting to them, the things that they want to do and talk about and think about and read about, what we learn revolves around them. If they express the interest, then it should be easy to keep their interest, right?
Plus, they’ll be the ones to decide what they do. I don’t have to come up with things for them to do, because they’ll tell me what they want to do and I simply make sure it happens. I provide the materials, take them on trips, help them figure out where to find what they want to know. I can guide them in the right direction if I see a pattern emerging for an interest that maybe they aren’t seeing, but I don’t have to sit down and rack my brain trying to figure out how to make something interesting for them so they’ll pay attention to me. Quite frankly, the thought of standing on my head with a rainbow wig and clown make up while reading American History was a bit terrifying, though I was about that desperate.
So I think we’re going to dive in. I’ve got my journal, to record the things they say, do, express interest in, look up, etc. I’m prepared to help them follow whatever interest they desire to explore first. I know for J, baking or cooking will probably be at the top of that list. J has been expressing an interest in both for some time, it just always happens to be when dinner needs to be done quickly so I can’t take the time to teach. I’m not sure yet just where C will go with this, but there’s been a rabid interest in lizards, crocodiles, alligators and the like for years now so I think that may be the path there. Though, to be honest, this interest has been so extensive, I’m really not sure there’s anything left to explore there – but I guess we’ll find out!
We’re going to take it easy this week, as I begin discussing the changes we’ll be making and testing the waters to see what they’ll want to explore first. We have a park day scheduled with our homeschooling group, which is always nice, and it’ll be a good “reset” before we dive into a new way of doing things.
Wish us luck!