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Project-based Learning and Classical Education

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Fellow educators, I'm relatively new to Classical Education in the formal sense. I teach music (7-12, primarily instrumental). Project-based learning is of significance in many schools outside of the Classical realm. I can see its value in instructino. My questions are in regards to PBL in Classical Education. I haven't been able to find much information on it. I'd like to know if people are integrating it, if so, how, and how is it distinct from PBL in a non-Classical setting?

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PBL as described in Lori Pickert's book is pretty compatible with classical education if someone wants to combine them.  


I think a person with a classical education in mind would not stop explicit skill subjects- reading, writing, math, grammar, memory work, languages, etc.  Content subjects would probably also be explicitly taught, though maybe not every subject ever day, depending on what the child's project interests are.  


But homeschooling is often times extremely efficient, which leaves lots of time for a child's own serious work outside of school subjects.  


Charlotte Mason's equivalent of PBH was probably "masterly inactivity" plus an emphasis on handiwork skills.  


I don't think a person who goes entirely to PBH could still consider herself a classical educator.  They would resemble something more like John Holt's unschooling philosophy, which is really only barely related to what most people now call unschooling.  I wouldn't care to make a value judgement between SWB's neoclassical and John Holt's brand of unschooling, they are both totally viable ways of providing education.  



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I see people in the ed world talking about PBL a little differently than Lori Pickart's very unschooly approach or families that do something more akin to unit studies. It seems to be much more about problem solving, especially in groups, in schools and that's not the assumption I see in the homeschool world, where it has a broader meaning.


I don't know exactly how classical and PBL would go together, honestly, though I suppose it matters just as much what one means by "classical" as PBL. I mean, with WTM classical, the focus is so much on four year cycles and rich content. PBL's focus is so different no matter how you spin it - problem solving or unit studies or child-driven projects or whatever. I think you could do both absolutely, but beyond just "different approaches are good in concert" I'm not sure what the overarching philosophy would be.

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Why have a somewhat hybridized homeschool. Our core subjects are covered (math, reading/lit, spelling/writing, grammar, memorization, logic, Latin/foreign language) in a relatively classical manner. Science and history are not emphasized until middle school, though they are done. 8th-12th is for deep history and science.


My kids also have personal study time, which is a planned and mentor course of study of their interests. They decide what they want to learn/do/experience/try/solve/etc and we work to put structure and resources around it. This is often in the form of PBL, but not in the sense that we use purchased PBL scenarios or curricula, but that the unifying element is a problem or topic around which they learn in various ways. I guess our PBL is Project-based always, and Problem-based sometimes.

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