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we have PS kids come to our home often (some good friends of our kids) and every once in a while I will see them bringing home a "project"....a diarama, or a clay model of something or some other type of project. Now, I don't want to compare our school to the public school, but I sometimes wonder if I should be doing more "projects' with the kids.

 

We do SOTW activities, we do science experiements as they come up in our curriculum, and we have done the occasional lapbook (but my kids are outgrowing that phase).

 

So, do you have your kids make models of the solar system, or do a science fair type project, or a poetry notebook...or the like??

 

My kids are 12, 11 and 8.

 

thanks.

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DD11 is super-crafty. I am SOOO not. I am capable, but definitely don't enjoy it.

 

We compromise by choosing history materials that have lots of crafty projects and she chooses which projects she wants to do. I just provide an extra pair of hands when needed. Latest was a paper castle - I bought the book and materials, she put it together. Worked great!

 

When DS17 was homeschooling, we never did crafts because he hated that sort of thing.

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We do a number of projects each year, but my boys love them. The projects are the things they remember the best. I think one of the most loved projects by them was done 3 years ago. We read One Small Square Arctic Tundra. After working through this book for a month or so and doing many of the experiments, each of my boys were able to make their own Small Square. One did the North Pole and the other the South Pole. They still ask when we are going to make another small square. Last winter, we were studying the rain forest and painted a 10 foot banner with the layers of the rain forest and then created animals to populate it over the following weeks.

 

We do projects as a way of reinforcing what we are learning and having fun. My boys love to do these projects.

 

Are projects essential to learning? No. Do some kids really benefit and enjoy them? Yes.

 

As my boys get older, I see us using projects so they are able to learn to plan their time and complete an assignment based on a rubric. I feel like projects will give us a fun way to learn to meet others expectations, learn to manage time and have fun reinforcing our learning.

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I do not plan projects for my children. I feed their minds. Then, if they feel so inspired, they are welcome to plan and carry out projects.

 

My experience (as both a student and a public school teacher) is that most school projects are busywork. They look pretty impressive, but they don't represent a great deal of learning for the amount of time put into them (if the student actually did the project at all). I remember a huge group project I did on the Sioux tribe when I was in the 5th grade. My best friend's mom, Mrs.M, sewed us all traditional Sioux dresses and she built us the most amazing diaorama of a Sioux village complete with tiny buffalo hides stretched out to tan on tiny wooden frames. Our teacher was sure impressed when we showed up to school in our costumes with that diorama. What can I say? Mrs.M did a fantastic job on that Sioux project. All I remember doing is drinking soda pop and singing along to show tunes in the living room with my friends, while Mrs.M worked hard in the kitchen.

 

Don't compare yourself to public school.

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I love doing projects, and my boys do too. I let them play (or display) their projects for as long as they want. Our amazon river project (made two years ago), has been the home of many Lego-people civilizations. Their "Moses" shirts that they made two years ago are still worn to bed each night, and they still discuss that lesson from SOTW. For us, the project solidifies what we have just learned about.

 

Plus...I just REALLY like going to Michaels! ;)

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Are projects essential to learning? No. Do some kids really benefit and enjoy them? Yes.

 

I do not plan projects for my children. I feed their minds. Then, if they feel so inspired, they are welcome to plan and carry out projects.

 

I agree with both of these, and my kids frequently do projects on their own. DD is especially crafty.

 

I have always been more interested in encouraging my kids to take up time honored handicrafts (sewing, woodworking, etc.) and life skills that cross into hobbies (cooking, gardening, etc.) than typical cut & paste crafts. I do purposefully time the introduction of certain handicrafts to school, because it is fun (learning to knit socks along with Martha Washington, making a quilts while traveling the Oregon Trail, etc.). They get exposure and sometimes get hooked. But dioramas and the like? Nope. I will provide supplies and ooh and aah when they finish, but I won't assign anything like that.

 

The good news, OP? Your kids are all old enough to craft on their own! :D

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I love the idea of using the school subjects to spin off life long skills from. So when you did the quilting...did your sons do that too...or just your daughter?? My daughter is SUPER crafty, and she crafts all of the time...usually NOTHING to do with school...just becasue she felt like it. My sons...not so much...but certainy I can see them whittling wood like the pinoneers would do...or something similar...hmm....now I have to think some more. If you have any other ideas that you have done, I would LOVE to hear them.

 

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We do a lot of projects, but I have a visual learner, and projects drive home things that words and writing cannot get through his little brain. My dd is crafty, but she does not like to do projects, and my youngest could take projects or leave them. It depends on the kids and their love of projects I suppose.

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We all love projects here, and I wish I had more time for them. I often think of projects while we are working on our studies...and often my DC come up with ideas as well. It seems to take us awhile to actually get to them though! It may be a few weeks until I can schedule it in...usually on a non-busy afternoon or weekend. We've recently done a salt dough map, salt dough ocean animals (for Apologia 2's ocean box), and Chinese brush painting. That's about all we've done together since January. We also do some sewing projects from time to time, but haven't since last fall. I really need to make this a bigger priority than it has been!

 

They are welcome to make projects on their own time as well...just as long as they clean up and ask permission before getting into materials that I may have a use for...like fabric. They often watch youtube videos for instructions and ideas before beginning. My oldest loves sculpting with clay and spends her afternoons and evenings creating. My 8yo is really into origami and paper airplanes at the moment. They younger two like to paint and color. They are less independent than the older two, so they do fewer independent projects. If you are not crafty and your DC are, this is a great way to fit projects in. I just have to keep our supplies stocked and remind them to pick up!

 

If none of us enjoyed projects, we probably wouldn't do any. I don't think a mom is failing her DC for not doing them...each family is different and should school their own way.

 

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I remember (individual- not "group") projects fondly in school and we've done a few at home. Here's the honest truth, though. I'm too much of a perfectionist to assign projects for my kids. When I make an assignment, I already envision this awesome display, report and *whatever,* and there's no way they could produce what is in my mind. It's totally my hang up. I bet my kids would love projects. We have done plenty of crafts and this and that, but no research projects that they really had to invent and produce themselves.

 

I'd like to work a few in, but not done in the traditional school way - make a poster about this or build a model of this. Something that truly stretches their learning.

 

Thinking back to my classroom teacher days, I assigned a "project" for my students that all enjoyed, but because it took more than 15 minutes to do, majority of them did not take it seriously. I graded according to a rubric and many of them didn't pass. They were assigned or drew the name of an influential American from Revolutionary times. They researched, wrote a report and then were to dress like that person (in this low income area, I settled for non-modern clothes and brought many pieces they could borrow). They were to memorize the thesis and 2 major facts from their report. The parents and other classes came to our Living Museum and the students stood, in costume, like statues. A visitor would tap their hand and the statue would come to life, spout the memorized facts and then turn to "stone" again. It would be a great find a feasible way to make this happen at home.

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Nooooooooooooooooooooo!! In fact, we bailed from 4th grade just before they started the infamous Missions project! Whew.

 

I am not crafty. I hated doing those projects as a kid, and I would hate it now.

 

My dd is incredibly crafty. My role in her projects is to take her to the goodwill store & buy her supplies. Or take her to the library for books. Or whatever she needs - my role is purely a support role!

 

I will often show her things - lapbooks, activities, and ask her if they are something she'd like to do. She always says no. She'd rather read, discuss, and write for school, and do her projects on her own, without requirements, deadlines, judgments, etc. I think that's way cool.

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I do not plan projects for my children. I feed their minds. Then, if they feel so inspired, they are welcome to plan and carry out projects.

 

My experience (as both a student and a public school teacher) is that most school projects are busywork. They look pretty impressive, but they don't represent a great deal of learning for the amount of time put into them (if the student actually did the project at all). I remember a huge group project I did on the Sioux tribe when I was in the 5th grade. My best friend's mom, Mrs.M, sewed us all traditional Sioux dresses and she built us the most amazing diaorama of a Sioux village complete with tiny buffalo hides stretched out to tan on tiny wooden frames. Our teacher was sure impressed when we showed up to school in our costumes with that diorama. What can I say? Mrs.M did a fantastic job on that Sioux project. All I remember doing is drinking soda pop and singing along to show tunes in the living room with my friends, while Mrs.M worked hard in the kitchen.

 

Don't compare yourself to public school.

 

I think the reason you didn't get much out of it was that Mrs. M did the whole thing, you and your friends didn't.

 

I used to be down on projects as "busy work", but then I realized that many of the things I remember best from school are things I built a diorama of or made a poster for. In order to build a diorama of an Indian tribe (if it's a good diorama), you have to learn about their homes and how they were constructed, their pottery, what they ate, how they cooked their food, the terrain of their environment, etc. Building all of those things yourself, spending time on the little details, studying them in depth so you can get them "just right"....I don't know. I think there is educational value in that. Not to mention the fact that it often makes the subject more interesting/fun, AND it almost always requires general problem solving skills (because things go wrong and you have to figure out a new plan). Making an informational poster should involve (if you disallow a simple google search) sifting through lots of information to pull out the main ideas. That's a fantastic skill.

 

I do think the projects have to be well-designed in order to be worth their time. Most cut and paste things have less value, in my opinion, than something constructed by a student from scratch. But every time I have ever done a project on something (or, when I was older, wrote an in-depth paper about something), I came away feeling like a bit of an expert on it--my tribe, my country, my planet, my body system. I like that.

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My kids hate projects of all kinds. Whenever I suggested something, they moaned "why can't we just read about it in a book?"

So, we are saving time and nerves, don't create clutter that has to be stored, and just learn.

I have yet to be convinced that the educational value of most projects justifies the amount of time spent.

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This year, I did a NME study group where, for each session, the kids had the responsibility of taking a topic (a specific God/Goddess/story/character/monster etc) and present it, somehow, to teach the group. We had drama presentations complete with costumes (my DD insisted on being a hydra for Halloween mostly so she could use the costume for mythology group-I also got a kick out of the "gorgon"-with a wig of gummi worms!), power points, fakebook pages, posters, Lego creations, crafts, and a couple of out and out lectures that could easily have taken an hour. Some of the kids were more crafty than the others, but they all found ways to present. For the ELE, we did a lot of "demonstrate the vocabulary" projects, which included Lego creations, posters, stuffed animals with signs taped to their body parts, paper dolls, people made of pumpkins, doll houses, and conversations between Barbie dolls.

 

I think the kids really enjoyed finding different ways to present, and it worked out well for different strengths. I think my DD also enjoyed comparing notes about her projects with the kids in her dance classes, because so many of the schools here seem to spend half their time presenting work done by parents at home (I hear the moms talk at dance-the kids aren't doing much of the work!).

 

We'll see how the scores come out.

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I am bad about projects myself...but I need to work harder on it-my kids really like them.

 

My ds10 was working on his CA Mission project, (traditional CA standards in action) when we pulled him from the homeschool charter school. I asked him (with fingers crossed 😜) if he still wanted to build his model. He thought for a minute then asked if he could build all 21 of them!!!! 😳ðŸ˜ðŸ˜

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My kids love projects but I usually don't want to do. This year we have done some from SOTW and they have enjoyed it and earns from it. The girls still wear their Joseph coat of many colors as their pj and they have a lot of their drawing and panting projects. I believe in the Charlotte mason idea of doing worthwhile projects and not just busy work but some kids do learn so much better by doing than by reading.

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I love the idea of using the school subjects to spin off life long skills from. So when you did the quilting...did your sons do that too...or just your daughter?? My daughter is SUPER crafty, and she crafts all of the time...usually NOTHING to do with school...just becasue she felt like it. My sons...not so much...but certainy I can see them whittling wood like the pinoneers would do...or something similar...hmm....now I have to think some more. If you have any other ideas that you have done, I would LOVE to hear them.

 

Yes, my boys love quilting, probably because is my pet handicraft and I spread the love. The quilts I've made are everywhere. They also enjoy embroidery. It's cheap, easy, portable, and flexible. It is really easy to transfer kids' artwork to embroidery fabric. The kids and I are working on a lap quilt right now that includes embroidered squares with their own artwork. It will be a gift for my mom's birthday.

 

Keep in mind that we don't necessarily dig deep into all this stuff. The primary goal is simply to introduce different handicrafts that might turn into lifelong hobbies. Some things take and some things don't. No biggie. Some things last a couple of weeks, and some are still going strong today.

 

That said, here are some things I've introduced...

 

ancients (including Native Americans): bead/shellwork, weaving (this was the big hit that has lasted as a hobby, especially with oldest DS), pottery making, plant-based dying of fabric (play silks and some batiks for quilts), mosaics (this was loved but will be more successful when they are older), making paper (then they used the paper for art), calligraphy (for China), kite making, origami

 

Middle Ages (where we are now so we've done less to date): stained glass (we are fudging here and the kids are using tissue paper because of age; would love to try this again in their teens!), lantern making (did this myself as a child and loved it)

 

Colonial Times through Pioneers: whittling, woodworking (another big, lasting hit with DS; next time through, I think he might like to make some old-fashioned toys), leatherwork, embroidery (continued huge hit, especially with DD), stenciling, quilling (started with a Klutz book, of all things; DD still loves this), a bit of tatting (fail! LOL), knitting (meh, hit it too young but I feel strongly that it will take the 2nd time; we're about to hit it again), hooked rugs

 

Victorian Times: crazy quilts, cut paper Valentine's, crochet (another fail...we're not great at stringy stuff, so far :lol:), flower pressing

 

Depression/40's: feedsack quilts, redwork embroidery, gardening (we already had square foot gardens but we took them more seriously when studying the depression LOL)

 

For American history, the book Traditional American Crafts has tons of ideas. Don't buy it, but it is worth seeing if your library has it so you can get an overview. Then you can check out individual beginner books on specific types of crafts. http://www.amazon.com/Better-Gardens-Traditional-American-Crafts/dp/0696015307/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361764533&sr=8-1&keywords=traditional+american+crafts My favorite thing to date was making little doll quilts when we studied American history. This book was great for that: http://www.amazon.com/American-Doll-Quilts-Kathleen-Tracy/dp/1564775895/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361766093&sr=1-1&keywords=american+doll+quilts. We also cook for every era.

 

Since the kids all like embroidery so much I think I might have them each design a sampler next year when we hit colonial times again. How fun it will be to see what modern things they put on it. I can see Darth Vader and Harry Potter in needlework now... :lol:

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Yes, my boys love quilting, probably because is my pet handicraft and I spread the love. The quilts I've made are everywhere. They also enjoy embroidery. It's cheap, easy, portable, and flexible. It is really easy to transfer kids' artwork to embroidery fabric. The kids and I are working on a lap quilt right now that includes embroidered squares with their own artwork. It will be a gift for my mom's birthday.

 

Keep in mind that we don't necessarily dig deep into all this stuff. The primary goal is simply to introduce different handicrafts that might turn into lifelong hobbies. Some things take and some things don't. No biggie. Some things last a couple of weeks, and some are still going strong today.

 

That said, here are some things I've introduced...

 

ancients (including Native Americans): bead/shellwork, weaving (this was the big hit that has lasted as a hobby, especially with oldest DS), pottery making, plant-based dying of fabric (play silks and some batiks for quilts), mosaics (this was loved but will be more successful when they are older), making paper (then they used the paper for art), calligraphy (for China), kite making, origami

 

Middle Ages (where we are now so we've done less to date): stained glass (we are fudging here and the kids are using tissue paper because of age; would love to try this again in their teens!), lantern making (did this myself as a child and loved it)

 

Colonial Times through Pioneers: whittling, woodworking (another big, lasting hit with DS; next time through, I think he might like to make some old-fashioned toys), leatherwork, embroidery (continued huge hit, especially with DD), stenciling, quilling (started with a Klutz book, of all things; DD still loves this), a bit of tatting (fail! LOL), knitting (meh, hit it too young but I feel strongly that it will take the 2nd time; we're about to hit it again), hooked rugs

 

Victorian Times: crazy quilts, cut paper Valentine's, crochet (another fail...we're not great at stringy stuff, so far :lol:), flower pressing

 

Depression/40's: feedsack quilts, redwork embroidery, gardening (we already had square foot gardens but we took them more seriously when studying the depression LOL)

 

For American history, the book Traditional American Crafts has tons of ideas. Don't buy it, but it is worth seeing if your library has it so you can get an overview. Then you can check out individual beginner books on specific types of crafts. http://www.amazon.co...american crafts My favorite thing to date was making little doll quilts when we studied American history. This book was great for that: http://www.amazon.co...an doll quilts. We also cook for every era.

 

Since the kids all like embroidery so much I think I might have them each design a sampler next year when we hit colonial times again. How fun it will be to see what modern things they put on it. I can see Darth Vader and Harry Potter in needlework now... :lol:

 

 

I LOVE all of this!

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I like projects. We do them. Not regularly or consistently. And I don't stress out if we don't get to something. But I do plan for them. They are usually fun and my kids like hands-on stuff. But if it's just a busywork project I skip it. Some projects seem fun on paper and then are just a nuisance when you really try to do it.

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I think the reason you didn't get much out of it was that Mrs. M did the whole thing, you and your friends didn't.

 

We were 5th graders in a self-enclosed gifted classroom. We didn't need to spend hours building a diorama in order to understand the concept, "The Sioux tribe used every part of the buffalo." We could read and understand that concept in just a few minutes. My point was that the hours you (or your mom) put into the project do not justify the teeny-tiny amount of learning that takes place.

 

If, on the other hand, your child has a passionate interest in the daily life of Sioux tribes and your child chooses to research and create projects related to that passion . . . then that is incredibly valuable. The value is more in learning to research and explore an academic interest in depth than it is about understanding the Sioux. In the context of public school projects where the topic is assigned by a teacher, rather than reflecting the interests and passions of the child, there is little to no value. It is just busywork. This is especially true since the emphasis of public school projects is often on the final result rather than the learning process, which encourages parents to take over the project.

 

Homeschool projects where the child initiates and carries out projects on his own are a whole different thing. I think there is an important distinction between "doing projects" with your kids (mom plans and supervises) versus allowing your child to choose and initiate projects. I stick by my original statement that I feed my childrens' minds. I don't plan projects.

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we have PS kids come to our home often (some good friends of our kids) and every once in a while I will see them bringing home a "project"....a diarama, or a clay model of something or some other type of project. Now, I don't want to compare our school to the public school, but I sometimes wonder if I should be doing more "projects' with the kids.

 

We do SOTW activities, we do science experiements as they come up in our curriculum, and we have done the occasional lapbook (but my kids are outgrowing that phase).

 

So, do you have your kids make models of the solar system, or do a science fair type project, or a poetry notebook...or the like??

 

My kids are 12, 11 and 8.

 

thanks.

 

 

I wish I could do projects with my kids that they actually enjoyed and learned from and didn't require hours of my planning and cleaning up after and they spend about 5 minutes doing it and get nothing from it.

If my kids were ht etype that would get enthusiastic about things and excited and ghave fun and recall something somewhat sorta educational, I would happily do them.

But, they aren't and they don't. Projects (even so-called science experiments) are just pointless here. I think it depends on you and your kids.

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I haven't read the others yet, I will though. For us, yes, over the years we have been very project-y people. But not this year so much, at least at home with me as the main director of them. Both of my kids are taking science at co-op so they do dissections and experiments there this year. At home we do reading and notebooking to go along. dd10 took a 6 week Robotics course earlier this year. She built robots. Good project, but I didn't teach her LOL

 

This year we are back in SOTW vol.1, and we have done VERY few projects to go along. We did them all the first time through. But I have another kiddo this year, and am teaching more classes out of the house. So in the house seems to be bookwork, field trips, movies, and art stuff.

 

One dd is taking art at co-op, so I am still doing some at home for the sake of the others, though both took a 6 wk afterschool course and will have 1 more before the end of the year. But we like art. So I get some in when we can. We entered a bunch in the state fair art contests at the beginning of the year, and we do it every year.

 

We entered a science fair for 2 yrs in a row. We took a year off this year as we have so much else going on. But the plan is to do it again next year. They missed it.

 

My girls are in girl scouts, so they do "projects" there. Right now dd10 is building a bunch of bird houses that they are donating to a nature park. They do crafts there. We are doing a play in a club at co-op. They have plenty going on. We don't have time to make dioramas LOL but if SOTW calls for designing a greek vase on paper, and we have art books with examples, we take the time to do that. We do learn from the ones that we do, and it sticks with them.

 

So the projects we do are meaningful but mostly out of the house this year.

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No. At least not the crafty kind. We occasionally do dissections or something of the nature, but not crafty projects.

 

When it fits into our schedule we enjoy citizen science projects, but once again there is no yarn or glitter involved. ;)

 

Just observing, recording, and submitting data. . .

 

the fun stuff!!! :party:

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Projects aren't for everyone. In our family I have found that projects have more value than the concepts learned. Sure you can learn a concept from a book easily and that may be what works best for many kids and families. But making something isn't just about learning a concept. You exercise creativity and problem solving when you do projects. For many kids it is a lot of fun and leads to positive feelings about school. I think mom-led projects in the early years can lead to child-led projects later on.

 

I wish I had more time for projects. For my oldest, projects are fun but more like busy-work so I don't have him do much for school time. For my second child projects are crucial to how he learns and he does lots of child-led projects now. I do mom-led projects with my youngest. For us projects have done a great job cementing concepts, but most of all they have led to many happy school memories together and that is an important factor in our decision to homeschool. That isn't to say we haven't had projects that have bombed ;) We have, of course.

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We were 5th graders in a self-enclosed gifted classroom. We didn't need to spend hours building a diorama in order to understand the concept, "The Sioux tribe used every part of the buffalo." We could read and understand that concept in just a few minutes. My point was that the hours you (or your mom) put into the project do not justify the teeny-tiny amount of learning that takes place.

 

 

Making things requires skills in planning, problem solving, creativity, working together, and more. It isn't just about the concept learned. You may have been a student that learned best through reading, but many children (gifted included) learn best through other means. However, many skills that projects require are ones that you can't learn well through reading.

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We do house re-build projects like this this, this and this .

Projects for school- not too much. I used to. My craft and project ability has been poured in to the house.

 

This looks like the type of after school/weekend projects we do sometimes. So in that respect we do projects outside of school. It depends on what is meant by projects. ;)

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or do a science fair type project??

 

 

Yes! Once a year we do a 2 month scientific investigation. We love it. I have written extensively about it here: http://forums.welltr...ntific-inquiry/

 

We do not do any other little projects -- no models, no crafts, no lapbooks. I focus all my efforts on just one big project.

 

Ruth in NZ

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As an art therapy major, I love the kinesthetic quality that projects bring to the table. Although it does get harder as the children get older and the subjects get more intense, there is just something so wonderful about getting your hands into a project.

My sister though sees no need what so ever and considers projects to be clutter. We're all so different!

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My kids love making dioramas, but I avoid doing them too often because they get attached and won't let me throw them out. I can only store so many shoe boxes, lol.

 

We do things like making field guides (right now they're making shark field guides, but we've done birds, planets, flowers, mythological creatures), making posters, collages, cooking recipes, etc. I'm not very crafty, but my kids love art projects and cooking so I try to incorporate that into our schooling. I'm a big fan of quick and easy projects and science experiments, as they're the only ones that we actually get done.

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I liked projects as a kid, but I think that's because it was a break from the monotony of a public school that was mostly boring.

 

I think most projects are busy work. I do think presentations are valuable. This weekend we visited a museum where they had a whole exhibit about chocolate - biology, history, etc. I asked DS to pay attention because we were going to tell Nana about it. Today I asked him to draw a diagram about what he remembered and he presented it to Nana over Skype. Though an elaborate chocolate making project would have been yummy, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't give him a deeper understanding than he got from simply drawing and retelling.

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I hated projects when I was a kid, and I still hate them. I consider them to be busywork. But my dd loves them. Overe the past couple of years, I have really tried to do them with her, and she really looked forward to them. But now that she is old enough to do so much on her own, she seems to make up her own projects. Her latest was making Egyptian-style chess pieces. I just don't see the point in trying to plan projects with a kid like this who is always doing her own projects.

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My girls love projects, crafts, experiments, you name it. I found this out after trying Sonlight for Rebecca's 2nd grade year. She retained nothing with no activities, yet she still remembers things from SOTW 1 with AG before that. I try to do as many as I can handle. Outside of school, Rebecca likes various crafts, Sylvia makes up elaborate play things and makes videos with them, and the other night they set up an American Ninja Warrior course in their room for the Beanie Boos.

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