I’ve happened across Project Based Homeschooling (PBH) on and off for quite a while now. Things seem to pop up on Pinterest, Facebook, and it always sounds so appealing.

In spite of my thorough list that I recently posted, truth be told I have no idea what I’m doing, and I feel like that’s mostly okay. We don’t “do school” as much as that list would have anyone think, and I’m 95% okay with that seeing as she’s only 5 years old and in her “kindergarten” year of homeschooling, and 5% of me is all what-if-we-don’t-set-good-habits-now-how-will-she-ever-learn.

We keep busy a lot with activities, but this summer I’ve seemed to really see the value in being home with unstructured time. Then PBH popped up again and again and it sparked an interest.

Now, I’m not looking to subscribe strictly to a philosophy here, but I feel like there’s a lot Lily can gain from some of what PBH outlines. For starters: make materials available and accessible for projects. Duh. But really, every time I clean up our craft supplies and clear out her desk, suddenly she’s content to work for hours creatively. Surprise.

The next thing I need to get better at is letting her take the initiative with her work while simultaneously mentoring her…somehow. This is the bit that’s going to take the most effort on my part. I’m 3/4 of the way through the book and I’m hoping I’ll hit a moment of clarity here with how to discover her deep interests and how to guide her through exploring them deeply.

So far, in my most recent paying attention to her interests, she decided to make a pouch and target for her bow and arrow. Version one of the target was way too much of me and way too little of her. The pouch I really had to hand-over-hand with her because she insisted it be sewn on the machine.


Version two happened when I got a nice plain box as part of a USPS shipment and I left it for her with the suggestion that maybe she’d like to “do something with it.” She quickly set to turning it into a target of her own design, and I was only summoned to help with one cut through the thick cardboard.


This evening I tossed an empty egg carton her way, and she started to work with it (not sure with what goal in mind), and then swapped it out for a selection of cardboard boxes from the recycling bin, finally settling on the smallest one, which was appropriately to scale for some of her small dolls.


She set to work taping up the flaps, making a door (which she made me cut out), a garage door, two windows, and some eaves, all of which she taped on to her liking, and then played with her dolls for a bit inside the box before bed. She has some ideas for interior things too. Maybe tomorrow. Also, we’ve set up paper to jot down desired supplies (like double-sided tape) and places she’d like to go (like the local art gallery). Hopefully those ideas pan out too.

I’m working hard on stepping back, but it’s hard when she’s calling me in for help a lot. I try to ask things like “how do you think you might be able to ____?” instead of only offering suggestions straight away. Hopefully we’re making tiny baby steps toward more self sufficiency instead of frustration.

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  1. it looks like you’re already having some lovely small wins. 🙂

    “I’m 3/4 of the way through the book and I’m hoping I’ll hit a moment of clarity here with how to discover her deep interests and how to guide her through exploring them deeply.” — rather than discovering a *deep* interest, you look for authentic interests (things she’s already interested in, talking about, playing, drawing, etc.) and support them, offer materials, ask questions, remind her of her plans, etc. etc. — and that’s how you *get* a deep interest. 🙂

    when you put all of those elements into place, you’ve created the circumstances in which she can focus on her interests and make her ideas happen. and with your support and attention, she can stay with it a little longer, dig a little deeper.

    feel free to email me, check out the PBH forum, or join the facebook group if you want some support and/or community after you finish the book! 🙂

    • Lori, thank you so much for responding! Sorry it took me SO LONG to actually see your comment. I’ve sort of let life just keep rolling without nudging it in any direction, and with this new year I’ve decided to take some time to observe our daily rhythm and see what could maybe use some improvement (on my part, that is).


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