Sunday, June 22, 2014

What Worked for My Asynchronous First Grader: Project-Based Homeschooling

Type A as I am, I love my to-do lists and schedules. I initially thought Project-Based Homeschooling would drive me nuts. But, it didn't. I thought my creative son would just play all day. But, he didn't. In fact, what I thought would be the downfall of this homeschool method (my type A personality) actually benefitted my son because I made sure he had the tools and the time everyday to "DO" his projects, whatever they were.

PROJECT-BASED HOMESCHOOLING allowed my son to explore his passions this year. Child-led projects meant hours and hours of self-imposed focus and concentration. He learned to just "be", while I learned to trust his "work". Type A me also learned how EASY it is to count his different projects as "school".

ORIGAMI (Arts and Crafts)

Our son has a chest full of Origami Star Wars characters and vehicles.

Origami Star Wars
He also created other Origami characters too.

Cardboarding is a lot of fun (especially a boy with box cutters)!

Cardboard Wall E
His Own Typewriter

DRUMS (Entrepreneurship/Music/Performing Arts)

Our son loves the drums. He practices everyday and dreams of being in a real band some day. He has a Goals Journal, wherein he writes his short- and long-term goals. He even decided to put some of his Drum Jams on YouTube and started his own Musician/Band Facebook Page and Twitter Account. There's no stopping The Independent Kid! And, yes, this is a big part of his "schooling"!


"Mama, how can you make homemade firecrackers?"

Someone told me I was crazy to allow my son to do this experiment, but I thought it was a GREAT question. My son enjoyed EVERY MINUTE of his research (he used the Chemistry Textbook from Real Science 4 Kids and YouTube). The experiment was a hit too! Take a look: 

FILM (Arts and Crafts/Computer Science/Film/Performing Arts/Technology)

We found a homeschool friend who also wanted to learn how to film. This Horror Comedy Short was created in a couple of months. We gave them a $10 budget and a 5 minute time frame. They created the story, planned it out with a storyboard, wrote the script, acted in it, and edited it.


Of course, they had to edit the bloopers too:

INDEPENDENT READING (Language Arts/Performing Arts)

Although we do literature units together, my son chooses and reads whatever he likes from Comic Books to Chapter Books too (within reason). I don't keep track of the Comic Books, but I do know he has read over 150 Chapter Books this past year. He also started creating Video Book Reviews under the name of Super Book Boy.



He begged for a microscope and his love for it has not waned. He uses it weekly. His Science notebook has been filled with the names of the slides, drawings of the slides, and thoughts on what each slide looks like.


My Independent Kid has done FIVE of these research and presentations in the past few years. It's a hit with the kids who join in the fun too. More information here: Notables at Noon.

This year, my son chose Roy Rogers and Dana Carvey.

THEATRE (Performing Arts)

This year, our son was the Pirate Ghost and Charlie in the Headless Horseman and Noah in Oliver. This Summer, he auditioned and got the part of Michael Darling in Peter Pan. He'll get to FLY on stage! Guess who's excited?

WRITING (Language Arts)

Finally, our son decided to start blogging. He also wrote three humorous workbooks.

Can you tell my son LOVES his projects?!?

How about Maths, Spelling, Grammar, Vocabulary and Copywork did you say? Don't worry, we have that covered. We love our (secular) Charlotte Mason homeschool style too! But it is because of Project-Based Homeschooling that my son's education isn't just about doing "school". Project-Based Homeschooling has made my first grader's lifework REAL.

1 comment:

  1. so fantastic — i love seeing all his awesome work! :)

    looking forward to sharing this!