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Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners Paperback – June 27, 2012
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"Although the title says 'Project-Based Homeschooling,' it is really something that any parent could incorporate into their lives, homeschooling or regular schooling." -- Jennifer Lumb
"[T]his isn't just a homeschooling book. It is a guide to parenting." -- Annie @ Bird and Little Bird
From the Inside Flap
Project-based homeschooling combines children's interests with long-term, deep, complex learning. This is an essential experience for children: to spend time working on something that matters to them, with the support of a dedicated mentor.
This book is an introduction and guide to creating the circumstances under which children can teach themselves. It gives parents concrete tips for helping children do challenging, meaningful, self-chosen work.
From setting up a workspace that encourages independence to building a family culture that supports self-directed learning to concrete suggestions for a step-by-step approach to inquiry-based investigation, Project-Based Homeschooling shares techniques for mentoring independent, confident thinkers and learners.
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And that's what project-based homeschooling is. And really, the book should be called project-based learning or leading a project-based life because this is not just for kids and not just for homeschoolers. My son looked at me the other day and asked me what my project is. I had to think about my project, but I was finally able to tell him and now I work on my project while my kids work on theirs.
There is so much practical, useful information in this book. Any parent would benefit from reading it and learning from Pickert about the importance and significance of letting children (and adults) take ownership of their own learning. We can learn so much more when we're invested in the process and when we want to know what is being offered to us.
The most important take-away for me is that project-based learning can be *part* of an overall educational plan and not the whole plan. I was always under the impression that is was the whole enchilada or order Chinese instead. But you can do this and be a classical homeschooler or a Christian homeschooler or an eclectic homeschooler or even an unschooler. Project-based learning works for all kinds of kids and all kinds of homeschools. And not just homeschoolers. This would be great for public or private school kids whose parents want them to take some ownership of their learning. Pickert gives us the tools to be great mentors to our kids. Now we have to do it!
I am planning on using the classical education model (the Well Trained Mind is a fantastic read if interested) but really want to have intrinsically motivated kids that are passionate about what they're doing, and this book has helped me pull all of that together.
It gets a bit repetitive in the last quarter but I think it's because the author circles back and gets a little deeper into what's previously been stated, and answers questions you might have if you've started implementing the ideas before finishing the book. The book covers project based homeschooling from toddlerhood through the teen years, and is not slanted to one age or the other, as many books on learning are. I also appreciated her holistic approach to learning and her emphasis on creating a family culture that supports learning and creation- not just in name but in practice.
Some of the other reviewers complained that the book doesn't give you step by step "how to" instructions, but that is because there is no specific "how to". Anyone familiar with these ideas will recognize that the basis of project based learning is so completely individualized, there is no specific set of steps. What this book does, and does well, is break down the steps and guide parents through an evaluation of their learning environment and practices. It explains how listening, observing and reflecting can change the way you and your child learn. For those who want more help in getting started actualizing these ideas, Pickert also offers a master class.