Project-based homeschooling is rooted in the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, developed in Italy after World War 2. The Célestin Freinet method is a similar project-based approach to learning. The child takes all the responsibility for their project and their learning, with parents assisting them with research, planning, or obtaining resources for their projects.
Real-life learning cannot be divided neatly into separate subjects, but many projects will incorporate all the major learning areas. The parents keep a journal, recording such things as observations, steps taken, or questions asked so the parent and child can later reflect on and discuss the project.
A typical day using the project-based approach might include: a visit to the local library to conduct research; some planning on a white board; discussing aspects of the project over lunch; stretches of time where the student is absorbed in working on his project; reading related books; and, some time for studying any subjects that aren’t incorporated into the project.
- Student-led and student-centred;
- Easily integrates with many other homeschool methods;
- Valuable social skills are developed as students collaborate on projects;
- Inquiry-based learning fosters a love and motivation for learning;
- Project work can make research meaningful and develop strong research skills;
- Projects-based approaches to learning can nurture student passions and talents.
Points to consider
- Good choice if you value independent or self-directed learning;
- Structured learning paths can be difficult to plan;
- Guided learning will ensure that all core competencies are being developed in project work;
- Incorporating subjects into a project might not work well for certain areas of study that build on systematic, prerequisite knowledge (e.g. math).
- Freinet, C. (1993) Education Through Work: A Model for Child-Centered Learning translated by John Sivell
- Project-based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert
- Bringing Reggio Emilia Home: An Innovative Approach to Early Childhood Education – Louise Boyd Cadwell
- The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation – Edwards, Gandini and Forman
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