Project-based learning (PBL) has been around for at least several centuries. Many trace its beginnings to John Dewey, an American educator and philosopher, and his 1897 book “My Pedagogical Creed.” In it, he proposed the concept of ‘learning by doing’ and making students active, rather than passive learners. Others trace the origins of PBL even further back to the likes of Confucius, Aristotle and Socrates.

So, What is Project-Based Learning?

In a nutshell, project-based learning is a child-led teaching method that gives students the opportunity to answer a question or solve a problem by having them take part in an engaging, hands-on, sometimes, long-term project. Children use their current skill set and knowledge to do the research. As parents, we mentor them along as needed, and provide them with the tools they need. Once your child is done with their project, they’ll then use their communication skills (listening, writing, and speaking) to share their findings.

Why is Project-Based Learning Important?

Project-based learning goes beyond what students learn about in books or online. As they work on their project, students are able to incorporate important academic concepts, as well as develop their problem-solving, critical thinking and communication skills, all while they gain deep knowledge of a particular topic. As a result, children can actually embrace the learning process, make real world connections, and, basically, teach themselves how to learn. And PBL is so versatile, that it’s great for different learning styles, ages, and even students with special needs.

Project-Based Learning Benefits

Project-based learning benefits students academically and in life in general. Some of the advantages include:

  • Opportunity to make connections with what they’re learning and reading about to the world around them
  • Improved confidence, sense of empowerment and independence as they take the lead and manage their project
  • Opportunity to gain valuable experience in solving real-world problems, and learning to deal with and overcome obstacles
  • Become active learners as they seek out information and, in the process, better retain what they learn
  • A great way to measure student knowledge on a number of concepts and skills for those who don’t test well
  • Tons of opportunities to practice important concepts in math, language arts, science and social studies, and so much more depending on the project type
  • Understanding the importance of team work and development of collaboration skills
  • Improved problem-solving abilities as well as thinking outside the box
  • Opportunity to gain deep knowledge and thorough understanding of complex topics
  • Development of project management skills
  • Opportunity to sneak in learning throughout the summer months and during breaks
  • Projects can be tailored based on your child’s interests, age, and unique needs
  • Creative, fun way to beat or prevent homeschool burnout
  • Students can quench their thirst for knowledge, ask questions, and learn about the things they really care about
  • Enhances students’ digital literacy and research skills
  • Building positive relationships through collaboration, providing input, listening and resolving conflicts
  • In-depth knowledge gained during research process that goes beyond memorization

How to Implement Project-Based Learning With Time4Learning

If you’re looking for information on how to implement project-based learning, Time4Learning’s award-winning curriculum can help. As a comprehensive curriculum that teaches math, language arts, science, and social studies, homeschoolers have a wide range of information to help them get started with project-based learning.

Step 1 – Start with a question or problem.

  • Time4Learning’s interactive, engaging lessons and activities provide a helpful starting off point for parents looking for project-based learning ideas. With access to detailed lesson plans, you’ll be able to find tons of topics to get you started in math, language arts, science and social studies.

Step 2 – Plan your project. Now that you’ve got your question/problem and topic, students should begin the planning process. What is their project going to look like? How are they going to accomplish the task at hand? In this step, parents can also set a timeline with goals along the way as well as a due date.

  • To get ideas, students can use the many resources that Time4Learning offers, including printable worksheets and reading lists for grades K-8, and science lesson supply lists for grades 3-5. In addition, parents have access to activity planners to help them create schedules.

Step 3 – Start your research. There are so many sources of information out there: the internet, books, documentaries, and so much more. This will probably be the most time-consuming portion of your child’s project. Help them locate resources by pointing them in the right direction.

  • Time4Learning’s lesson plans can help your child know exactly where to go to find information on a specific topic in order to learn more. They can also redo lessons and activities in order to fully comprehend concepts.

Step 4 – Present the project. Once all aspects of the project are complete, students can now present their findings to a small group, whether it’s your immediate family or other students from your local co-op or homeschool group.

  • One of the great things about project-based learning is how adaptable it is. You can create a project on any subject or topic, for any concept, and modify it based on your child’s age and unique needs and abilities. Like project-based learning, Time4Learning’s flexible curriculum also provides families with the ability to tailor the program based on what their individual child needs.

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