Project-Based Learning

We've dabbled in a lot of different styles and methods since our first days of homeschooling.  By far, the most natural method and the easiest to combine with other methods is project-based learning.  It's also something we feel we can carry with us throughout our lives, long after our homeschooling days are done.  Project-based learning is not just something we do for homeschooling, but a way of life for us.

In an oversimplified nutshell, you take a deep interest and do something with it - you create something to share with others, and you gather new information and develop new skills in the process.  It's how anyone learns how to do anything on their own.  Taught yourself how to sew or knit?  Project-based learning.  Did your kid set up a lemonade stand?  Project-based learning.  But keep in mind that these aren't parent-planned activities or units . . . project-based learning is inherently interest-led and student-planned.  You shift from the role of instructor to the role of mentor for your children, and you learn how to seek out other mentors for your children and for yourself as you complete your own projects.

My two absolute favorite and most recommended resources are the book Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners and Lori's Camp Creek Blog.  Her Quick-Start Guide for project-based homeschooling is also amazing.

After I received some questions in the comments, I wrote up a three-part series about how we started implementing project-based learning in our house.  Below that series, I've also linked to some of my earlier posts to show how we slowly transitioned to more projects (listed from most recent to oldest).  Then, at the bottom of the page, I've linked to some of our past projects.  I'll add more links here as I write about new projects.

I mention this frequently on the site, and it needs to be stated here:  I don't write about the "correct" way to do project-based learning.  I write about how we execute it - what works for us, how I fail (horrifically, at times), and suggestions for things you might want to try if you're interested.  Everyone needs to find their own unique road to Oz.  I'm simply sharing mine.

Project-Based Homeschooling Q & A Series

  • Getting Started - How we got started with PBH, how we discover interests for projects, and how I encourage project work.
  • Supplies & Environment - What kind of supplies we keep around, where we set up our project space, and the importance of doing instead of waiting for that perfect setup.
  • Documenting & Forward Motion - How I document what they're doing, and how I encourage them to dig deeper by shifting from instructor to mentor.

Project-Based Homeschooling: Finishing - A discussion about how really great projects don't have clear boundaries, and how some interests never really end (SPOILER: That's a good thing.).

Planning Less, Doing More - Starting a project journal and shifting how I document their learning.

Preparing for More Project Work - How I repurposed a bookshelf and rearranged things to set up a little project space.

Paving the Way for Projects - A discussion of what we do in between projects and how we still have project time during lulls in major interests.

Letting Go - Realizing I didn't like the direction our days were taking, this is an honest post about how I had to learn to let go and step back as we began our shift to more project-based learning.

Panic Party - I began this post panicking about our decision to pull my oldest out of French immersion, then I found her setting up her first homeschooling project in the hallway.

(offsite) Scheduling Project Days - A post I wrote for The Homeschool Classroom about how easy it is to jump into project-based learning just by setting aside a little time each week to let your kids explore their interests.

Favorite Past Projects: