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#31 of 56 Old 04-20-2013, 11:34 AM
 
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First, Lori, I'm so sorry I didn't twig that you were the author! Too funny!

 

 

As I wrote above my youngest, who is 10, does seem to enjoy projects that involve creating and communicating, and I am intrigued enough by Lori's book to want to read it and put some of it into practice with her. Check back with me in a year. She won't be secondary age for a while but has a really teenagerish approach to planning and learning and life. She'll be starting 9th grade math by next fall and has a similar level of understanding and skill with her entirely non-curricular learning so like your ds she's pretty at a secondary level academically. Unlike your ds she likes her learning to have some external-to-her kind of context and commemoration.

 

Miranda 

 

 

no problem, believe me, i could not have edged into this conversation more tentatively. ;o)

 

i hope you find something worthwhile in the book! :)

 

definitely check out the forum if you are interested in pursuing it more; it’s a very kind and supportive community: http://project-based-homeschooling.com/forum

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#32 of 56 Old 04-20-2013, 01:23 PM
 
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"we’re into debating who is and who is not a “real” unschooler".

 

Lori-we're not. Please, if you feel worried about this happening I'm really sorry, because that's not fun, but I'd say please go back and re-read the thread. At no point has anyone looked to decide whether anyone else qualifies as an unschooler-that would actually be quite out of character for this forum. Look at the way, for instance that on this thread, although people have disagreed with me, no one has had a go at me for not being an unschooler, although I'm open about not using that label. I appreciate that.

 

The discussion has been how to make your ideas work for certain kinds of quite intense kids who have been largely unschooled from birth, and the reason that discussion was happening, at least from my point of view, was that the ideas in your book seemed to be potentially good and helpful ones but applying it to these kids did not seem straightforward. Kids like this do often have a very particular learning style and that's one of the things that's going to be highly relevant to any thread started in the unschooling part of the forum, I think. Please understand I am not saying that all unschooled kids are like this, simply that when I look around at other kids raised similar to mine I do see certain recurrant trends.


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#33 of 56 Old 04-20-2013, 03:11 PM
 
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What I was after was just someone ..... with those years of experience of seeing how unschooling works on kids who have largely always had a lot of autonomy. Basically I guess what I'm saying is that my kids already have projects really, for me to start, I dunno, making question lists or clearing time for them to work, when they already do this pretty  successfully and have since birth, would seem a little patronising and they would probably tell me to stop it.  .... [snip]

 

OTOH the other thing I am interested in: I've heard some people say that kids often go into a bit of a introvert fug around age 10-11 or so-I'm certainly seeing the start of this in my previously extroverted ds- and I'm wondering if these techniques might be a helpful way through it. Or maybe they need this fug. 

 

I agree about kids who have grown up living and learning guided primarily by their own interests and passions, particularly those who are intense and quite "internal" about their learning. Perhaps such kids are already making project based homeschooling work for them as independent learning machines on their own terms, and an attempt to guide them towards it would seem superfluous and contrived. However, like you I will be looking to the PBH for tools and ideas to support my youngest through that early adolescent phase you mentioned. I've found that the natural in-turning (pupating?) that my older unschooled kids have gone through at that age has at times not given them enough meaningful interaction with the real world to keep their motivation and confidence up. They've felt a desire for a little more ... I don't know, intentionality? ... to their lives and their learning, but for whatever reason they haven't naturally created it for themselves. Eventually around age 14 they seemed to come out the other end and start generating goals and sustained motivation again. But it would be nice to mitigate some of the aimlessness and loss of confidence that occurs around ages 11-13. I also think that my kids chose to attend school in part because they had reached an age where they wanted to test themselves a little against external standards and expectations, and I wonder if a gentle nudge in the direction of tangibility and sharing their project-oriented natural learning from ages 11-13 might have fulfilled that need. 

 

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#34 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 06:41 AM
 
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I find it interesting that the two who have been debating this the most are no longer homeschooling (am I correct, Miranda, that all of your children are now in school?), or does not consider herself to be an unschooler.

ATH, do what works for your family, as I've said before. Ignore pointless debates and worry less about what others think. I remember your thread last year about your evaluation experience. That worries me more than if your daughter completes her projects. She's likely to be enthusiastic, overwhelmed, re-interested, etc, throughout the year (and life). That's normal. Don't worry about it. Keep in touch when you have doubts, but I think it'll work out. Just get a better evaluator for next year. Anyone can pay lip service to unschooling, but few evaluators really support it!!! PM me for evaluator recommendations, or go to phen.org for info (if you are still in PA). And good luck!!
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#35 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 07:32 AM
 
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I have one full-time unschooler. She does a Spanish class at the local school one to three hours a week, but that's all, and it doesn't feel any different than gymnastics or violin class.

Not really comfortable with ad hominem arguments, or with the implication that my contributions here are "pointless," especially since the OP has said she's enjoyed the discussion.

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#36 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 07:46 AM
 
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"I find it interesting that the two who have been debating this the most are no longer homeschooling (am I correct, Miranda, that all of your children are now in school?), or does not consider herself to be an unschooler."

 

Ok, we've now had ONE comment/ judgement about people's validity to post. What a shame, because aside from this, its been an entirely supportive, inclusive discussion. Comments like this, which are about deciding who gets to participate in debate, are partly why I will not use the unschooling label. 

 

It also wipes out my whole argument really. Lori, my apologies, you are possibly right about it being better not to debate this stuff. I really didn't think we did this here.

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#37 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 07:56 AM
 
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I think anyone who has been on this board long enough--and ATH is included in these-- understands where each of us are in homeschooling our kids.  Fillyjonk, who doesn't count herself in the unschooling ranks, seems mighty unschoolish to me and has contributed thoughtfully for a long time, and I am pleased she has been posting more often.  And I can't even begin to list the contributions that Miranda has made to this board through her years of collective experience unschooling her kids who, yes, happened to be choosing school as they grow up (her youngest starting a class a bit earlier because of her natural tendency to be drawn to that kind of learning, a trait she has expressed her whole life.)  The 2 together have--what?-- 7 or 8 kids (and decades of cumulative experience) between them, and I think that amounts to some considerable experience, especially with what might work for some kids and not for others.  

 

And me?  I loudly and proudly declare myself an unschooler and have had the experience equivalent to the lifespan of a gnat.  I think if we eliminated the inexperienced, the closet unschoolers and the ones whose kids chose school at some point (all or in part), there would be about 2 people with long enough experience, one of whom isn't on here as frequently. 

 

I disagree that it is a pointless debate here.  It has not centered on the inherent merits of the book.  The only solid criticism I read into this is "Xds and Ydd wouldn't/didn't go for this".  There have been some points made about parental expectation, but I think it is appropriate in this case, in no small part because I think ATH is struggling somewhat with this (as evidenced to her frustration that her daughter has dropped one idea and wants to focus on another).  I think it's an important point to be made.  

 

I'm going to ramble a bit here:  I find myself framing my family's unschooling experience in very schoolish terms, and I've finally forgiven myself for this.  I think staring out the window, playing and watching the tube to be valuable, but now they are older, I continue to find them valuable because I see that they are also playing with numbers and letters, they are creating things and showing initiative.  They watch a lot of "meaningful" TV.  They satisfy the schoolish side of me, even though I like to think I am deschooled and embrace unschooling wholeheartedly.  Well, I will never be deschooled entirely, and sometimes it shows--not in giving my girls spelling tests or math homework, but in having certain expectations of outcome that I can't quite suppress.  Framing my girls' experiences in terms of "projects" and "learning" comes quite naturally to me, being irretrievably schoolish.  I don't think it's a very unschoolish frame of mind at all.  It works in my family because I don't push it, I'm accepting of it in myself now, and I don't think my girls pick up on it that much, and it certainly isn't their frame of reference.  


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#38 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 09:03 AM
 
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I find it interesting that the two who have been debating this the most are no longer homeschooling (am I correct, Miranda, that all of your children are now in school?), or does not consider herself to be an unschooler.

What is your point? Where are you going with this?
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#39 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 10:30 AM
 
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Hi I have really enjoyed this discussion as well.  Not pointless.   

No time to write any more details, shall try to come back.


no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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#40 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 10:50 AM
 
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I do not find the ongoing debate helpful, but apparently I'm in the minority. Endless repetition about what one family likes is not very helpful,in my opinion. And I do find it interesting that the two most vocal on this subject had the least constructive comments, in my opinion.

Sorry, Miranda, that I had it wrong about your daughter. I thought it was you who posted earlier in 2013 that your youngest was joining her siblings in public school. Apparently, I got that wrong.

I am not arguing about who has rights to post here, really. I could care less!

What bothers me is repeating comments that you dislike an approach within the same thread. Each of us states our piece, and differences are presented. All fine. But it underminds the purpose of forums like this to repeat, over and over, the same points. And when I read these posts, that's what I saw. And what's more, it seemed to be more of a private conversation, ignoring the OP (as this post is doing, too). Others reading here obviously see something different than I saw. Fine. I'll let it go.

Edited to add : I also have *years* of homeschooling and unschooling experience, even I've only started posting a year ago. My experiences are, quite naturally, different, as each family is unique.
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#41 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 11:13 AM
 
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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. 

 

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#42 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 11:22 AM
 
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Like most Cliff notes, lots is left out. I saw something else. My Cliff notes would read differently.
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#43 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 11:59 AM
 
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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.

 

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#44 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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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. 


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#45 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 12:48 PM
 
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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!

 

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#46 of 56 Old 04-21-2013, 08:43 PM
 
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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


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#47 of 56 Old 04-22-2013, 08:31 AM
 
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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!

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#48 of 56 Old 04-24-2013, 02:04 AM
 
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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?

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#49 of 56 Old 04-24-2013, 04:16 AM
 
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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!

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#50 of 56 Old 04-24-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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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.
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#51 of 56 Old 04-24-2013, 08:27 AM
 
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headscratch.gif The OP said she felt supported and found the discussion interesting...


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#52 of 56 Old 05-20-2013, 07:02 PM
 
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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


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#53 of 56 Old 05-21-2013, 06:54 PM
 
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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!

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#54 of 56 Old 07-17-2013, 12:18 PM
 
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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. ;-)

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#55 of 56 Old 07-17-2013, 04:54 PM
 
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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. 


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#56 of 56 Old 08-29-2013, 11:10 PM
 
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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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