View Full Version : Project based homeschooling - the book

05-08-2013, 07:56 PM
Has anyone read it? Have you implements the authors advice? How did your children respond?

Im readi it now, and it's really making me rethink our schooling style.

05-08-2013, 10:19 PM
I just started reading it, too. Next year will be my first year of real homeschooling and I am very attracted to this style.

05-08-2013, 11:31 PM
I liked some things about it and not others. First of all, I liked that the book was short and well-written. But I didn't like that it was so, so repetitive. By the end, I felt like I was reading a rehash of the same things in every chapter with only marginal new information.

As for the ideas... I loved her sense of aesthetics as being important - setting up spaces and making attractive project spaces and so forth. Lots of ideas for art materials and so forth. And I loved the way she talked about the organic rise and fall of projects and everything she said about not controlling the project yet supporting it - those are good things for me to hear because I sometimes struggle with either taking over too much or backing off too much.

I wished that she would have covered science more. Actually, I wish she had covered all subjects other than art more, but science was the one that clearly stood out for me. Clearly she loved, loved art and all things artsy, which is great. Except, her concept could so easily be turned to other areas and she even suggests it but then doesn't explore it on anywhere nearly the same level as she does with art. I mean, what about a whole chapter talking about attractive organization of science investigation supplies? Or of electronics supplies. I think at one point she even talks about a kid doing a project on robots making robot sculptures. Nothing at all wrong with that. But surely some kids, if given the support and motivation and beautiful space for making, would do real electronics as part of a robot project.

I also, personally, had trouble feeling like I could go whole hog this way. Though I have to say that it appealed to me in some ways. I'm actually feeling like we may go more toward projects in middle school now. Reading it inspired me to honor the projects that come up more - and there have been more projects at our house since then. But I couldn't abandon my own structure. However, looking ahead, I'm feeling like when we get to the second pass, so to speak, I may ditch our content goals and let projects rule instead. I am generally feeling happy with the content we're covering in elementary school. We're halfway through now (eek!) and maybe we'll let go of those goals more and be more interest/project led down the road a little more, which will presumably coincide with the kids' moving away from being quite so satisfied with everything we study.

05-09-2013, 11:56 AM
I read her book last fall when it first came out. I agree with what Farrar said. I just wanted to add that the book seems to be targeted to parents of pre-K and early elementary kids. If you are just starting out homeschooling she offers great ideas to set up projects areas and get started. The best part about the book is the way she walks the parent through the process. This aspect applies to everyone regardless of your children's ages. However, I was looking for at least a chapter dedicated to older children. But that's probably a mute point for you since yours are younger. :)

I had the same frustration reading it that Farrar did- her project advice centered around art. My kids aren't particularly into making art. I would have appreciated advice on project based from a STEM point of view. I know she has another book in the works. I'm really hoping she addresses some of these issues there.

All of that being said, this is one of my favorite books about homeschooling. I highly recommend it to all homeschoolers. Everyone will take something away from it. Lori also has a blog with an active forum. It's a great place to share ideas and see how others are implementing her ideas. I'd love to hear your thoughts after reading it.

05-09-2013, 01:26 PM
That's nice to hear that she's working on another book. I agree that it's one of my favorite homeschool books - definitely in my top ten. I'm not sure if that says more about the book or my low opinion of many homeschool books, but I do recommend it to people often. I think it's especially good for younger kids, as you say, Windsong. It would be cool if her new book covered more STEM topics and more about older kids. Her blog is also really good, obviously.

05-09-2013, 03:39 PM
She has a forum on the blog for teens doing PHB, and a tumblr site called PBHKids, too, for those of you looking for more teenage stuff or examples. I love the concept, like the book and love the aesthetics. Now if I could just get my house not to look like an episode of Hoarders....

05-11-2013, 08:23 AM
I read it and liked it. It's how I got to total unschooling, actually :) The forums on the website are helpful for concrete ideas on where to begin. I also REALLY loved Free Range Homeschooling.

05-11-2013, 09:19 AM
Here's a question... Do you feel it is a form of unschooling? When I read it, I felt it was very close, but I've seen some unschooler s really reject it.

05-11-2013, 12:44 PM
Here's a question... Do you feel it is a form of unschooling? When I read it, I felt it was very close, but I've seen some unschooler s really reject it.

Honestly, I think it's close, too, and I definitely see where it could be tweaked to be a form of unschooling...but for that to happen (from what I remember reading the book), you would have to take the structure out of it, i.e. making it the child's choice instead of something you plan or require as part of a homeschool day.

We use the IDEA of project-based learning as unschoolers - ds finds mating ladybugs on a tree outside, and that leads to several days of related questions/videos/books/research. But none of it's required by me. It's just something we do, because that happens to be how he likes to spend his time.

Does this make sense?

The way it got us to unschooling is written out here in a short post (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/938-day-life-secular-homeschooler-rueyn/). Seeing the way we learned naturally spelled out in the project-based learning book finally gave me the okay to let go a little more.