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Project Based Homeschooling and Unschooling - Page 3

post #41 of 56
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

What bothers me is repeating comments that you dislike an approach within the same thread. 


That's really not what I see happening in this thread. Here's my Cliff Notes version of how the discussion has gone:


"Here's a great book I found. Discussion?"

"Sounds awesome. Doubt it would work for my kids, though."

"I think it might work. Maybe you're misunderstanding the approach..."

"Oh, thanks for the clarification. Interesting. Still not sure it will work, but I definitely plan to draw on some of the ideas."
"Let us know how it works out."


ETA: My youngest was toying with the possibility of doing a 1-to-2 week trial of school this spring, to see if she'd like to attend next year. Ultimately she decided not to bother with the trial, because after she got out of her late-winter funk she was almost certain she'd want to continue unschooling next year. 



post #42 of 56
Like most Cliff notes, lots is left out. I saw something else. My Cliff notes would read differently.
post #43 of 56

No doubt -- though I still don't see where anyone said they "didn't like the approach" even once, let alone repeating that sentiment.


But in any case if you're not finding the thread helpful, feel free to ignore it. As far as I can tell no one is feeling attacked or unsupported, and it seems the discussion has proved interesting and useful to a few people. The "pointless debate" you speak of has encouraged me to reconsider my initial reaction and look at exactly where the PBH approach might serve me and my child. Not sure what the harm is in that.



post #44 of 56

I haven't posted but I have been reading and enjoying the conversation. PBH has been on my (way too long!) to-read list for a long time, and I've read great reviews of the book on a few blogs. I also follow Lori (the author) on Twitter and have enjoyed the links she has shared there. We are generally unschooling though I am more attached to doing what works for us than I am to any particular approach. 


Anything I say should be taken in the context of not having read the book yet-- but from what I have gathered, PBH sounds like an approach that I would have LOVED as a kid. My mom now says she wished that homeschooling had been an option back then, as she would have done it in a heartbeat. My best memories of school are of a three year period I spent in a gifted program where we were allowed and encouraged to do projects of our choosing- anything from researching a topic, to doing an experiment, to writing a novel- and given time and support to work on it. I remember learning, with great enthusiasm, about palmistry. I also remember very clearly the boy who decided to bring in a frozen tube of Aquafresh toothpaste and a hack saw, as part of his investigation of just how the heck the got the stripes in there ;)


Having said that, I'm not sure how well it'd work for my kid. I liked having a product-- I always wrote stories, made board games etc, though often didn't finish them-- but my son isn't so much inclined this way. He absorbs a ton of information and thinks analytically, but doesn't do much in the way of output. Miranda's comments about her eldest three kids always make me smile as they sound SO much like my son. I will read the book though and suspect that I will take much from it that is useful in terms of my thinking about supporting my son's learning. Mentoring interests me and I suspect that as my son gets older, finding mentors who share his interests (eg. computers) and can enrich his learning will be an important part of his process. 

post #45 of 56
Originally Posted by Cassidy68 View Post

I also remember very clearly the boy who decided to bring in a frozen tube of Aquafresh toothpaste and a hack saw, as part of his investigation of just how the heck the got the stripes in there ;)


Well? Do tell!



post #46 of 56

Ha! Well, Miranda, the tube wasn't as frozen as it should have been... and the principal-- who was rather more conservative than the teacher-- walked in during the experiment... and I think there was some concern about the hacksaw. But like you, my son wanted more info when I told him the story, and we found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPBxSWAXoJo

post #47 of 56
Originally Posted by Cassidy68 View Post

But like you, my son wanted more info when I told him the story, and we found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPBxSWAXoJo

Thanks for the link, my youngest two and I had a good laugh at this after a long afternoon/evening out of town. Enjoyable and informative: just what we needed!


post #48 of 56

Sweetsilver in particular, thank you so much for your very kind post. Although I must take issue with your over the "gnats experience" comment. Its funny but i see you as a very experienced unschooler, and I love the way you question everything, it often makes me question myself just as much flowersforyou.gif


And the other posts-several of them, which described how you could see this working for your family, or for yourselves. Sorry I can't namecheck people-my computer doesn't do fancy things like letting me scroll up!-but this is so interesting to me. 


I don't want to go round and round in circles, I think that the discussion of whether or not we should be having a discussion and who should be allowed to have a discussion is pretty much your definition of seriously OT actually, but more than that, I don't see how its necessarily. That, to me, is about trying to decide who, and what, can be posted, and I don't see why that's needed. 


I have to admit, not for the first time, I just don't understand what the problem is. The discussion I felt I was having with Moominmamma was over how to apply this approach in an unschooling context to my family, in particular the two of my kids who are pretty much your textbook highly intense, highly self directed, unschooled kid. These kids have their own challenges (and strengths) as everyone who has had one will know, and I also think that they are disproportionately represented in an unschooling context, for a number of reasons. In short I was trying to send out feelers for how this could work with my own family.  I dunno, I don't know how I feel about being told that my interest in how this works within my own family is irrelevant or pointless, its pretty important to me. 


So, I hope we can keep discussing and debating and keeping it civil. Because we have something amazing here.


Oh and ETA: re the idea that ideas were being repeated. Yes, thats what a debate can look like. I say something. You disagree and say why. I explain how that relates to my original point. You explain how it relates to yours. A debate is usually the process of two opposing opinions interacting. Looking back over the posts, both sides were really stating the same case really again and again, trying to explain in different ways why they felt as they did. That is interesting to me and is basically how a discussion works, IME. Its the process of trying to understand another person's pov, which normally takes work, questions, modifications. If you don't like that then thats fine but I don't think its reasonable to ask people not to debate. Both sides continued the debate til they wished to stop-why is it an issue for you how people use the forum?

Edited by Fillyjonk - 4/24/13 at 6:50am
post #49 of 56
So often threads start off addressing the OP but then evolve into a different sort of conversation. I enjoy that about this forum.

In years past, we'd have trouble with people who didn't support unschooling joining threads and getting down right nasty and judgmental. Which is why this sub forum was created. It kept happening but at least we could say "go away." This sub forum has always been an accepting place for anyone on the unschooling spectrum. Or just curious about it. Kids are so incredibly different that unschooling can look completely different. And we're all just trying to figure out what works best for our unique kids.

While reading this thread, the idea of project based learning didn't seem to fit with my son's style. But then I remembered how he'd work in the creek week after week at park days, building a dam with a habitat area and collecting creek critters. I'm pretty sure his Minecraft falls under a project. It is definitely ongoing!
post #50 of 56
I have some general advice.

Even though one person, or two, doesn't like an idea, that idea might work in your situation. Possibly with some tweaking, possibly as is.

Also, when listening to advice, look for something positive. A good advisor always gives some tidbit that is positive and helpful. A "here's what to look for to see if the idea is working for you" kind of thing. If there is only a bucket of water on your enthusiasm, shake it off, dry off, and stoke the fire of your enthusiasm again. If there is a pattern of dousing your enthusiasm, you might want to ignore that person altogether.
post #51 of 56

headscratch.gif The OP said she felt supported and found the discussion interesting...

post #52 of 56

Came across this article written by a couple of really interesting and adventurous environmental scientists.  

Looks like they've also used the book, as they mention here ... http://www.katmaimckittrick.net/blog/?p=274

post #53 of 56

yes! the family is currently hiking and rafting around the Cook Inlet in Alaska — you can read about their adventure here: http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/blog/


btw, we have a new tumblr blog sharing kid-directed projects — http://pbhkids.tumblr.com — some of you may enjoy!

post #54 of 56

I'm jumping in here without having read the whole thread, but I did recently discover PBH and bought and read the book. I was very inspired and I'll tell you why.


When I began with unschooling I had these visions of how fun it would be to learn alongside my kids, to share their passions and interests. I loved that they had passions and asked so many questions. But often these questions got asked at a time and place where we couldn't answer it, so I'd file it away in my brain for later. 


And of course, later never came. 


Neither did the "learning together" part. 


Oh it did sometimes but nowhere near often enough for me or my kids. And while they are pretty self-directed (especially DD) I know they could have gone much farther - wanted to go much farther - but it was hard to fit in that one-on-one time.


Basically, in a nutshell, PBH says that if you really want to do unschooling and you are not the disciplined sort than it can be super helpful to schedule this time with your kids where you give them your undivided attention and focus. For me, being so bad at routines etc., this really spoke to me. 


So it is not just about scheduling that time with your kids to make it happen but also, the author encourages you to keep a journal/whiteboard/digital notes whatever works for you, to keep track of your kids' ideas and questions so that they don't get forgotten or put aside or left behind because life just takes over. 


To me, PBH is unschooling all the way (they aren't really "projects" in the usual sense of the word). It's just a way for parents to set aside their minds and their housework, etc and be that mentor and assistant that kids need to progress in their learning. It is completely hands-off in terms of project content, direction, and implementation. 


Anyways, I plan on implementing it this year and both me and my kids are super excited about it b/c my kids complain that I don't spend enough time on such things as it is. ;-)

post #55 of 56

Finally got around to reading the whole thread. Wish I'd seen it earlier because the conversation initially got off-track due to assumptions about what the "project" in PBH meant. 


I confess, I think I may have stumbled across this concept a few years ago and dismissed it without looking into it further because I considered myself an Unschooler and "projects" didn't fit into that scheme. 


Fast forward, and while I still think we are mostly unschoolers I have introduced some things over the last year or so as I experiment with what works best for my kids and let go of the unschooling label as a way of freeing myself to other opportunities and ideas (it was my own need to adhere to the "religion" I had found that did this, not anybody else's pressure, I should add). 


When I finally re-discovered PBH and went back and delved into it, perusing the website thoroughly then buying the eBook, I did so from the perspective of someone who was looking to step away from unschooling a bit and do more structured learning with my kids. 


The irony is that it turned out to be an unschooling approach. There is nothing I see in PBH that is different from unschooling other than the parent sets aside time to be there with the child, assisting the child as the child needs, and acting as a mentor and helper. Now sure, some kids don't "need" that to be self-directed learners but I find it impossible to believe that a child cannot benefit from the input and ideas of someone with decades more experience in life. I mean that in an Assistant role, not with any agenda or involvement in directing the project itself.


In fact, in order to be an appropriate mentor for your child's PBH you really must understand unschooling at its roots, which I think the author does a great job of explaining in her book without sticking a big, fat Unschooling label on it and thus scaring away anybody who may not identify with that label. 


But after 10+ years of unschooling I think I'm "allowed" to opine that this IS unschooling, it is simply giving the parent a way to ensure that they set aside time to participate in their child's learning and be there when help is requested. Keeping track of the child's stated goals, questions, and ideas is just one way that the focussed presence of an adult can enhance self-directed learning. 


My kids will run screaming from any "show evidence of your knowledge" scheme, any suggestion that the parent might have an agenda, any suggestion that an activity is "educational", etc. But they love the idea of PBH because they love having me involved with their learning, watching what they are doing and taking a real interest in what they are doing, devoting myself to them wholly without distractions of housework, etc. And they have sufficient trust in me to know that this will truly be their project, whatever that looks like, and not anybody else's agenda. They understand that having my assistance means they can take their project as far as they want, not limited by their own inability to arrange field trips, or shop for supplies, or access resources, etc. And that I will keep track of their goals and questions so that they don't get forgotten or put aside, replaced by other distractions. 


I will definitely let you know how it goes. In fact it would be fun to start a PBH thread, though perhaps in the general homelearning forum since really PBH can be used by those who don't identify as unschoolers, too. 

post #56 of 56

I haven't read the book, but it sounds like what we are already doing.  It works really well for us - my kids feel really engaged, and honestly, it is fun for us too!   


My older son, btw, is using a book called "Blueprint for Geometry" where he is learning geometry by building a dog-house.   I see this as 'project-based' in a very literal kind of way, no?  And it is working.  Btw - we are talking serious geometry- and he's only in 5th grade. 


I think projects give a sense of relevance to the material, and help kids understand things in a more cohesive fashion.   


There's my two cents.  Don't know how far it goes in this ever-inflating economy ;)

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