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Project-Based Learning in Homeschool

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If your child learns best through hands-on activities, project-based learning may be right for your family.

Project-Based Learning in Homeschool

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning has its roots in the progressive education movement of the early 20th century.

It is an educational approach that focuses on real-world learning and problem-solving.

Unlike traditional learning methods that involve listening to lectures and reading textbooks, project-based learning offers a more engaging and interactive approach.

Students investigate, research, design, and present their projects.

This not only deepens their understanding but also fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Project-based learning has several distinct features.

Project-Based Learning in Homeschool

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Real-World Application

Typically, projects involve real-world issues or problems. 

This makes learning less abstract and motivates students to do the work.


Project-based learning emphasizes investigation and critical thinking.

The student begins by asking questions and then researches to answer those questions.


Students have the freedom to be creative in project-based learning.

They decide how to present their findings.


If you have multiple children (or friends), you can work on a project as a group.

Homeschoolers get the benefit of learning to work as a team.

Authentic Assessment

Rather than using traditional forms of assessment (tests and quizzes), projects require authentic assessment

Authentic assessment considers that there is more than one way to learn about a topic. It’s not just about memorization.

Project-Based Learning in Homeschool

Examples of Homeschool Projects

Although you will need a reading, spelling, handwriting, and math curriculum, everything else can be learned through a project.

Here are some examples.

Science Project

Everyone knows about the science fair project, but why limit yourself to one science project a year?

Students can investigate an exciting topic, design an experiment, collect data, and present their findings.

Do you need a list of science project ideas? We’ve got fifty!

Historical Reenactment

Students can choose a historical figure, event, or time period and reenact a famous speech, scene, or tradition from that time.

They can research the history, choose a costume, write a script, and perform the reenactment for an audience.

Community Service

Social studies leaps from the page to the community when you participate in community service.

Students can identify a need within their community and brainstorm a way to help meet it.

From conservation to illiteracy, students can learn the joy of volunteering, foster empathy, and create action plans.

Literary Adaptation

Students can choose a favorite book and adapt it as a graphic novel, play, short film, or podcast.

Cooking Around the World

Learn about the cultures of different places around the world by researching traditional foods from that place.

Students can practice life skills and learn about other cultures by preparing a meal from that region.

Entrepreneurship Project

Students can practice creativity and problem-solving and learn financial literacy through an entrepreneurship project. 

They can start a small business, create a product to sell, or organize a fundraiser for a nonprofit group.

Engineering Project

Engineers have their own design process (much like the scientific method) that involves building prototypes.

Students can complete a design project, such as building a model bridge, making a solar oven, or designing a water filtration system.

Artistic Showcase

Explore a new genre (e.g., realism, impressionism, or abstract) or medium (e.g., painting, sculpture, or photography) and assemble a portfolio.

After producing many pieces in the genre or medium, display the art and give a presentation.

Project-Based Learning in Homeschool

How to Do Project-Based Learning in Homeschool

Follow these tips and tricks to make project-based learning successful for your family.

Identify Learning Goals

Every student benefits from having clearly defined homeschooling goals for the year.

Once you have identified what you want your student to learn, you can pick projects that will help him achieve those goals.

You can integrate projects with certain subjects or assign cross-curricula projects that combine more than one subject.

Choose Projects Collaboratively

While project-based learning allows the student room to be creative, you, as the teacher, must be a part of choosing the project.

This lets you identify whether the project will help your child reach his goals.

You will also want to get input from your child since the best projects have buy-in from the student.

Feel free to personalize the project to reflect the interests of the student.

For example, if your student loves Legos, you could assign a Lego movie historical reenactment of the Boston Tea Party.

Help as Necessary with Research

All projects begin by asking questions. These questions direct your research. 

Here are some examples of questions you might ask for a history project:

  • Who was Abraham Lincoln?
  • Why is Lincoln one of the best-remembered presidents?
  • What are some famous speeches/writings by Lincoln?
  • How has Lincoln been memorialized?

Your student may need help coming up with some of these questions.

Then the research stage begins. Your child may need help finding resources to supply the answers to those questions.

Authentic Assessment

After completing a project, ask a student to reflect on her work.

What did she do well?

What is one thing she would like to improve for her next project?

Older children might even write a reflection essay in which they answer these questions in paragraph form.

As the parent-teacher, you can assess the work by checking a rubric, evaluating a portfolio, or holding a discussion to assess knowledge.

Project-Based Learning in Homeschool

Choosing Project-Based Learning 

Project-based learning works well in a homeschool setting because you, as the teacher, do not require quick and easy grading.

You don’t need to rely on quick-scoring bubble tests; you have time to assess your student more holistically.

Project-based learning is creative, hands-on, and has real-world applications. What’s not to love? 

Give it a try and see the benefits for yourself. 

Remember, learning is a journey, and project-based learning can make it a fun and rewarding one for your child.

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