You may not know this about me, but I grew up as an ‘end of alphabet-er’. This is a terrible thing to be in a classroom! My last name started with a W, which meant I was the last to get everything. *sob* This was never more evident than when it came to ‘project’ time. Our teachers had a list of topics for our papers and they would go through the class list letting kids choose. Only one student could do each topic and by the time it got to me I would be lucky to have two options! When things are run a bit differently my fellow end of the alphabet-ers won’t have to suffer anymore! Follow my tips here to learn how to homeschool with project based learning!
Create Something Real
If you grew up in a brick and mortar classroom, ‘projects’ usually meant one of two things: research papers or posters. What they both had in common was that they didn’t produce anything that really mattered. The same cannot be said for project based learning.
What it’s NOT
Project based learning is not about writing research reports and essays. That’s not because researching is a bad skill. Learning to do it is important both as an academic and life skill. What is rarely relevant to adult life is writing an essay. Instead of assigning a simple research paper, cover those same topics by creating things like brochures and booklets that can be used to educate others.
What it IS
Project based learning is an opportunity to make something real and useful. The possibilities are only limited by a student’s imagination. Your child can cook a meal based on a culture or time period, make a map to guide others, create a game, or do an act of community service.
Choose Project Styles
There are a few options for choosing project styles. They both work well and have their advantages and disadvantages.
One option is to choose what type of project your child will do each time. You could either choose to keep them all within your child’s interests and skill sets, or you could choose to push them out of their comfort zone with some projects. This was the method I chose to utilize with my Journey Through the USA curriculum.
You can also give your child complete freedom to choose project types throughout the year. This is great for helping kids take control of their education, but some may need some encouragement to challenge themselves.
Choose Project Topics
When you’re figuring out how to homeschool with project based learning, choosing project topics is an essential part. The beauty of this style of homeschooling is that there is a lot of freedom for students!
With ‘guided freedom’ you give your children an overall subject such as ‘life during the WWII era’. Then they can narrow it down to something that interests them. They could choose military recruitment and practices, changes in women’s fashion, or comparing high society life to that of the working class.
Another option is to give your children complete freedom in choosing the topics of their projects. If you are studying marine biology they would get to choose anything that falls under that umbrella to focus on for their projects.
How to Homeschool with Project Based Learning
Now is the time to let your kids explore the passions and skills that will lay the foundation of their futures. Take some to figure out how to homeschool with project based learning with your kids. Not only will it make school more interesting now, they’ll learn to take control over their educations for now and the rest of their lives!