Due to its many benefits, many parents are choosing homeschooling for their children. Homeschooling allows for a more flexible educational experience, and the curriculum can be easily tailored to your child’s individual needs. As the costs of private schools continue to rise, homeschooling becomes a viable economic decision as well.
When you decide to homeschool your children, you need to become knowledgeable on a broad range of subjects so you can prepare an adequate educational plan. Once you have established a plan, which should include targets for different subject areas, you should consider the idea of unit projects.
You’re probably familiar with projects, as you likely did one or two if you came through the public school system. Projects are a great way to implement and test knowledge acquired through an educational unit. A good plan is to have a multi-week unit set up for a given subject, and at the end of the unit assign a week-long project that will make use of what your child has learned.
For example, if you and your child study a biology unit, a great week-long project is to create an ecosystem. This can be done with an old aquarium, and your child’s goal will be to create an environment that can be self-sufficient in the sealed aquarium. In learning about the water table and the different cycles of nature, encourage your child to think of the best way to make his or her ecosystem. After your child has come up with a plan, take him to a store to buy the requisite materials with which to begin his project. Once it is started have him track the ecosystem’s progress every day.
The reasons that projects like this can be very effective is that they serve multiple educational purposes: your child will not only be learning as he goes, but he will be learning in an engaging way, and most likely with a higher level of retention. A project can also engage other members of the family. The ecosystem, for example, could be placed in a prominent location, and other family members will no doubt take an interest. It’s a great educational experience when your child can not only excitedly report on a project’s progress to his parents but actually show the work at hand. Every parent has witnessed a child from the public system describing a project they’re doing at the dinner table, but as a homeschooling parent you have the benefit of having “home” and “school” being one: your child can not only tell but show.
When you homeschool, you’re not limited by the practicalities necessary in a public or private school system. Project ideas are only limited by you and your child’s imagination. For each and every unit, encourage your child to come up with long term project ideas and use their learning practically. Not only will the project allow your child to learn more about the subject, it will carry over into the home as a whole: other family members will take an interest, and the whole process of buying the materials and planning the project will become part of your child’s educational experience.