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Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  483 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
Project-based homeschooling combines children’s interests with long-term, deep, complex learning. This is an essential experience for children: to spend time working on something that matters to them, with the support of a dedicated mentor. This book is an introduction and guide to creating the circumstances under which children can teach themselves. The author gives paren ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published June 27th 2012 by Camp Creek Press
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Jan 20, 2013 Angie rated it it was amazing
If I was made to form one critical opinion on Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners, it would be only this- the title doesn't capture the all-inclusive nature of this book. What the author accomplishes is a refreshing take on life that can be latched on to by literally anyone, not just home educators, as the title suggests. Lori paints a lovely picture of purposeful daily living. Her ideas on creating an atmosphere of creativity inspire me to look around my home with new ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Hafidha rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: homeschoolers, unschoolers, parents, teachers, young people
Really enjoyed this book. For me, as a grown homeschooler and unschooler with ADHD (inattentive type) who is now home/unschooling my own young child, this book provided me with that missing piece I needed. That piece was the process of planning projects and getting through multiple drafts, multiple iterations. Iterations is where it's at. It's how you develop your knowledge and improve your work. There is some good advice in here on how to set up workspace, and ways of supporting children in the ...more
Sep 03, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: unschooling
We are Unschoolers and I bought this book because I follow Lori Pickert on Facebook and Twitter and have a lot of respect for her and her thoughts on learning. And I am always looking for new things to do with my boys.
I thought the book was great, especially if you're a Maker type family. We are not, so much. Most of the things that we do, don't fall far outside of daily life.We built a chicken coop, because we got chickens. We love food, so lots of cooking and growing food etc...
Also, if an
Mar 08, 2013 Elisabeth rated it liked it
My oldest son is currently in school due to some life circumstances, and that's kindergarten, so we haven't officially homeschooled yet. When we do, we'll more than likely be unschooling. I find the central idea(s) of this book interesting and worth considering for anyone on the homeschooling spectrum. For that reason I'd probably recommend this book to others, but that's honestly for lack of a better book to recommend on the subject. Unfortunately, the book lacks a great deal in its presentatio ...more
Mar 04, 2013 Leah rated it really liked it
Rating: 4 of 5

When I decided to homeschool my daughter I didn't realize I would first have to unschool myself. Needless to say, it's been and still is an ongoing process, my unschooling. Spotting Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners on my library's shelf was serendipitous; I needed the specifics almost as much as the confidence boost.

The most helpful aspect of the book, for me, was the "things you might do" section. My notes:

"ideas > work > representation > shar
Jun 14, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing

Lori Pickert, the author of the inspiring Camp Creek Blog has FINALLY put her thoughts and instructions for Project- Based Homeschooling into book form. Anybody who has read her blog knows Lori has a gift for motivting, challenging and inspiring parents to give this way of learning and living a chance in their homes. For all the wisdom and call-to-action her blog imparts, the downside to the blog format is that posts are written with a very particular topic in mind with no room to expand (that's
Deirdre Keating
Jul 09, 2012 Deirdre Keating rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, gift-ideas
I've been following Lori Pickert's blog for years, and been wishing for a way to share her ideas in book form. Alleluia, it's here!
Some of the main things I've taken from Lori's writing:
1. Project-based learning is based on trust.
Traditional classrooms rely on the teacher knowing exactly where students will be (or at least hope to be) by the end of the quarter---the answers are already known. In trying to implement Lori's process into our school's honor program, I learned how essential trust was
Jan 03, 2013 amanda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: homeschool
I must admit I was excited about PBH but wondering if there would really be anything new within the pages. From the moment I cracked the cover, PBH drew me in.

Before PBH we did a lot of child led learning, much investigating and research, but I was never sure how to take all that information and research and do something with it. Since reading PBH, we've designated work areas for the kids and I've become better at stepping back and facilitating their research/projects rather than actively drivin
Jun 26, 2015 Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I think the ideas in this book are great for all parents, not just homeschoolers, but I didn't love the book. Maybe it's because I've been reading about this stuff for several years and it's not new information. It also seemed like the same concepts were restated over and over within the book. I would have liked to see more examples of actual projects she has done with kids rather than the general guidelines to keep the workspace attractive, materials available, keep a journal, etc.
Dec 27, 2012 Emily rated it liked it
I found it a bit repetitive, but I like the basic idea of letting your child have ownership over their learning. I just can't figure out how to make it work in our tiny home - I don't have space for tons of art projects to be going at all times with all the supplies out and at the ready. As with all things, I'll take what I can from this and dismiss the rest.
Angela Boord
Sep 17, 2014 Angela Boord rated it liked it
Shelves: homeschooling
A book that fills a definite gap in the homeschooling methodology world. I would have liked to have had some more practical advice included, especially about how to make time for project work, how to get kids started on projects, how to keep a journal/how to do documentation (examples and different ways to do it), and how to do project work when you don't have the "large" space she often mentions. For instance, our 8 kids homeschool in our eat-in kitchen. How to set up a space in that kind of en ...more
Sep 24, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
What struck me the most about Lori's book is how well it already fit the way my son learns. He naturally works in projects, as does my husband. It has helped me understand how they work a little better, and now my focus is on how I can support them and my other children. The last chapter "A Way To Live" was the most revealing, especially where Lori says that most people can easily gather information for a project, but struggle to create, let alone finish it. I see that my boys have a great stren ...more
Dec 31, 2014 Misa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschooling
Don't be fooled by the title! This book is not just a book on homeschooling, but a guide for those who want to help their children direct their own learning, whether those kids are homeschooled or not. The book will help you help your kids figure out how to plan and complete their own projects, enabling them to self-direct their learning. I also think a lot of these ideas could be useful in assisting you with your own projects. The book is full of good ideas, without the filler you see in a lot ...more
Apr 18, 2014 Mandabplus3 rated it liked it
I had a few problems with this book. It's repetitive, it lacks detail and it doesn't expand on concepts nearly enough. This book could be a blog. It could also be expanded into a FABULOUS resource for parents and teachers.
It needs more examples (photos, ideas, extension flow charts). It needs to not gloss over the potential problems (finding resource, finding space, multi age learners) and it needs to give more reasons why.
The summary of the book is that all children should have time to follow
Jul 09, 2012 Teri rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
This book is incredible. In addition to teaching how to do project-based homeschooling it's like a manual on how to live. It's going to make a huge difference to anyone reading it. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's like the author is taking the reader gently by the hand and calmly and encouragingly leading them through the approach. It's encouraging, it's inspiring, it's incredibly instructive. It was a joy to read.
Sep 11, 2012 Tammy rated it really liked it
Shelves: creativity, education
This book is overflowing with ideas for any parent who'd like to encourage more self-directed learning in their kids. While I don't homeschool, I do want to create an environment that fosters learning, creativity, etc. My best take-away from this book was to rework our kid workspaces, so that they can more easily leave their work visible while in process and even after completion.
Sep 12, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschooling

Whether you homeschool or not this book has something to teach you about how to raise thinkers and doers. It has changed the way I think about education and my expectations for both of my kids. Kids need open time to dig deeply into their own interests. Make that time and you will be amazed at what your kids want to know and can do.
Oct 25, 2013 Trace marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2012-booklist
I'm looking forward to reading this. I've been following Lori's blog for quite some time. Also, as part of Luke's curriculum this coming year, I'm introducing him to the concept of the Great Brain projects.... I'll look forward to learning how I can support him in this projects through the ideas in this book....
Jan 10, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
Great book! A whole new way of approaching projects with a little one. After reading this book I gave my son a box and asked what should we do with this? We built at camel, a transformer and a lion. It was interesting to take direction for him and allow him control over his project!
Dec 12, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
This book was great inspiration and good as a guide. It has a lot of guidance as to examining and living out your goals and committing to the learning experiences you value, and many excellent pointers for how that would actually play out. I'm still frustrated by the ways in which my limitations (physical space, free hands as the mom of a school age kiddo and a toddler, etc.) come up against this vision, and I wish it had offered a little more support for how to make those things work...but I am ...more
Angela Wade
Dec 19, 2012 Angela Wade rated it really liked it
Really solid logic that led me to a new place in homeschooling. Just wish it would have included a list of possible starter project ideas.
Oct 24, 2012 Priscilla rated it it was amazing

I loved the book. It gave me tons of inspiration and made us choose for project based homeschooling.
Sep 23, 2012 Jj rated it it was amazing
This book was so helpful in helping me see more clearly how to support my son in his learning. Highly recommend!
May 07, 2014 Hascoorats rated it it was amazing
I cannot tell you how much reading this book has changed our homeschooling experience. If I could sum it all up for you in one word, it would be JOURNALLING. I was kind of skeptical when Lori suggested plunking myself down and just observing and documenting what I witnessed the kids doing... It wasn't even 5 minutes before general themes started appearing... Evidence of deeper thinking was going on RIGHT under my NOSE! Currently doing Lori's "Master Class" and am still ooh'd and ah'd by her word ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Erin rated it it was ok
This rating has more to do with how effectively I could implement project-based homeschooling rather than the book itself, I think. Like many homeschooling ideas, the concepts in this book sound great. GREAT! And the material lists by general topic are good too. Unfortunately, if my kids and I could generate projects that would even vaguely make up an entire curriculum, I probably wouldn't need this book. I need ideas of how to get my kids to come up with ideas, I guess. In the end, I'm just not ...more
Apr 14, 2015 Jenny rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-education
Lori Pickert has beautifully articulated the necessity for children, and really people of all ages, to be personally invested in their own growth and accomplishments - this being the actual, and most important education.

She is a bit heavier on the child-led side than I , but my natural tendency to be pulled in by the strong current of fill-the-child-with-as-much-information-as-he-will-hold needs books like this to get me back in balance.

In Pickert's method, the focus is on the child. Not leavin
Aug 13, 2014 Krystal rated it liked it
There were a lot of things I really liked about this book, a lot of things I wish she would have given more examples of, or gone into greater depth about, and a few things that I thought were just plain impossible for someone who had more than two children.

I already do a lot of project-based learning in my homeschool. I like projects. I like hands on. I like having something to show for your time and effort when your through. I want everyone to be able to see and touch and do and make the things
Jan 06, 2016 Sara rated it liked it
(I'm reading this again. Now that we're homeschooling, I want to re-aquaint myself with these ideas and put more of them into practice.)

New Review:

I enjoyed this, again. Some great ideas for creating space for kids to build and do on their own. I was reminded of how much kids gain when they have the time and resources to figure things out on their own, without adults "helping" them along to a pre-determined result. I don't think I'll ever be a die-hard project-based homeschooler, but I'm certai
Sep 01, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschooling
I'm fairly torn on my review of this one. I've been reading Lori Pickert's blog for a couple of years, and I'm embarrassingly groupie-like in my admiration of what she has to say. But I've gotten more out of her blog and her discussion forums than I did out the book.

The idea of project based learning, as I understand it, is that you don’t go to your kids, and say, “This month we’re going to be learning about the human body!” Or even, “Hey, I see you’re really interested in dinosaurs right now. T
Dec 31, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing
One of the most inspiring books I've read all year. Lori Pickert is my new hero. Her ideas are based on her experience in a Reggio Emilia-inspired school she founded, and even though Reggio schools are preschools, she points out that the project-based curriculum she discusses here is applicable to any education style, any age (she even advocates the principles for adults), homeschool or not.

The book goes over how to create an environment that encourages meaningful work (that is, learning that i
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Lori Pickert is an American author living in the Midwest. She founded and ran a small Reggio-inspired school for several years and traveled the U.S. as an educational consultant, training teachers and presenting workshops on child-led education and authentic art. She began homeschooling her sons when they were 4 and 7.

She writes about project-based homeschooling and mentoring self-directed learner
More about Lori McWilliam Pickert...

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“Family culture is the manifestation of your priorities — not what you say, not what you wish were true, but what you actually do on a daily basis. You create your family culture with your choices.” 1 likes
“Some adults attempting project-based learning make the same mistake, moving forward relentlessly and forgetting the importance of doubling back. Interests are identified, research is completed, and then there is a big, impressive third act that brings everything to a close. Unfortunately, though appealing in its simplicity, this highly controlled approach cheats children out of the opportunity to lay down multiple layers of learning. The adult is satisfied. Is the child?” 0 likes
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