What Works

How December Was Saved

(This post includes affiliate links)

For anyone who’s looking to get started with some homeschool reading, I universally recommend:

  1. Anything John Holt (like this fantastic book)

2. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

3. Project-Based Homeschooling by Lori Pickert

They’re all mindset-altering reads that can help set your homeschool up for success, but today I want to talk about Project Based Homeschooling. I’m on board with Pickert’s every brilliant word. After I read her book, I was on fire to get going with our own projects. For whatever reason, though, I crashed and burned in my first attempt to launch project-based learning. It was stressing me out, and I didn’t feel like we were accomplishing much. I shelved the idea, with hopes of making it work one day.

Fast-forward to two years later when this November happened. Well, nothing really HAPPENED, but it was feeling harder and harder to get started each day, our days felt increasingly like a checklist to be completed, and, frankly, it felt like we were merely going through the motions.

After Thanksgiving, just when I was staring down December with more than a little dread, I saw this cartoon from Lunarbaboon.

Lunarbaboon

(Courtesy of lunarbaboon.com)

I realized that I’ve been feeling divorced from my ultimate mission of nurturing a spirit of curiosity and leading my child to the habits of lifelong learners.

I knew that December was the month to take project-based learning off the shelf and give it another go.

This time around, ya’ll… gangbusters.

We’re still doing daily math in the form of either low-key holiday-themed worksheets I downloaded from Teachers Pay Teachers tohelp us keep working toward fact fluency or math-centric board games.

We’re also working on reading on a daily basis, using this time to whittle down our too-thick stack of to-be-mastered All About Reading flashcards and buddy reading books that my children choose.

After our winter break, I think we’ll be ready to resume our normal load, but I hope that we’ll also figure out how to incorporate project-based learning into our days.

Winter is hard. It’s hard to get out of bed, it’s hard to get moving, it’s hard to get out from under a big cozy blanket. When the blahs get you down and you find that your homeschool has lost its way, give project-based learning a try.

It was JUST what we needed.

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