homeschool: the project season

When you look at our homeschool family from May to September, you’ll see unschooling, also known as the project season.

We’ve flipped the May switch. There are fewer languages to study and more projects on the table. There is less sitting in one place for formal academic days, but still lots of learning.

At the end of April, the kids and I sit down to discuss interests we would like to pursue. Then each morning after breakfast I ask, “After math review, piano and dance practice, what project do you want to work on today?”

They break out the science kits: like the forensic science kit or the physics kit.

They learn why ooblek acts like quicksand and find many other reasons to mix non-edible stuff in the kitchen.

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The get busy in the kitchen.

They discover the many ways to prepare chicken.

They make pizza dough for tonight’s dinner.

They bake doughnuts.

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They play games.

They do logic games like Mindbenders books.

They play the survivor game and see who can go underwater at the river It’s cold at the beginning of May with the mountain run off. But, carpe dunkem. (Here’s an activity I don’t want an invitation to).

They learn new opening moves for chess.

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They write their stories.

There’s nothing like listening to a seven year old share his mall shooting story.

They read their books.

Horrible Histories First World War is a favourite amongst the youngest right now. And amongst the older kids, The Mother Daughter Book Club, Life of Pi, and War & Peace (yes, you read that right, and no, it wasn’t my suggestion).

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They take care of animals.

By far, our favourite project is learning to take care for our new kitty.

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Since we are new to our home, we’re also working on our new backyard together, as it is presently a forest with a handful of blasted rocks thrown in, plus a gorgeous view of the lake/river (depends on the time of day and when the neighbouring dam is in action). We are cleaning up raw land. There are many sticks to burn and spaces to clear and fresh air to consume.

Moving to a new neighbourhood, there are new families to meet, teas to drink, and new babysitting jobs to pursue.

With extra time, the oldest girls consider what part-time jobs they’d like to pursue. The full time library position for three summer months? Join the chorus for Joseph and the Technicolour Dream Coat theatre presentation? Should she take me up on an offer to paint the greenhouse? Or should she finish the on-line English course?

There’s more freedom in the project season, but in some ways there’s a little more work on my part.

I need to pay a bit more attention, find ways they can pursue their interests, and gather resources.

In the project season, I’m listening more to them than they’re listening to me.

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Teresa Wiedrick
Teresa Wiedrick

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