Project Based, Authentic Learning This Term

I have put a lot of thought into what I wanted the children to cover and learn this term.  Gary and I had decided we needed to up the ante for every child from B4 to T14.  This year I will be using an eclectic mix of project based learning, studying for exams, interest led learning, sibling/group learning and our usual unit studies, all the while ensuring the children are learning in a very authentic and real way.

project based learning

Project Based Learning

I have been in collaboration with the children and we have come up with some ideas which have us all pretty excited.  Currently the younger girls and I are studying Mesopotamia using my own literature based unit.  The older ones have already studied Mesopotamia in-depth many years ago.  I thought this might be a good time to bring in projects based on the littles’ current learning and on the older ones’ previous learning.  So all of the children’s projects will be based around ancient Mesopotamia.  In fact, all of the children’s projects will be based on The Golden Bull, a book written about and set in ancient Mesopotamia.

Project Based Learning: Building a Model of Ur

The little ones, with some help from me, will be building the city of Ur from bits and pieces we have around the house.  This city will include the city walls, a ziggurat, houses, markets….

Through this project, the girls will have to do some research into what a city like Ur would have looked like and what it may have contained.

Project Based Learning: The Music of Mesopotamia

T14 is big into his music at the moment, and currently building his own bass guitar.  His project will be to research the music of ancient Mesopotamia, focusing in particular on the lyre.  He will write a research project on the lyre, and then set about designing and building his own hand-held one.  He will finish off his project by writing a song which would not have sounded out of place during this time in history and learning to play it on his home-made lyre.

Project Based Learning: Jewellery of Mesopotamia

L13 is nuts about jewellery making and spends all her free time fiddling with wire and beads.  Her project will be to research the different types of jewellery made in ancient Mesopotamia, create a design board of how she will go about replicating some of it, and then following through by making some of her very own based on the designs she has learnt about.  She is in jewellery maker’s heaven and has been going over and above my requirements in terms of time.

Project Based Learning: Gilgamesh and the Bible

C13 has been stretching herself recently with the literature she has been reading, what with Milton’s Paradise Lost and now Hugo’s Les Miserable, which even T14 found hard.  She is also fascinated by all things Bible so together we came up with a project I know she will find hard but will stretch her even further to apply what she is learning from the literature she reads.  To this end she will be writing a well researched piece comparing the Epic of Gilgamesh to the Bible.  She will be focusing on the Flood story which exists in each; the idea of immortality; as well as the after life.

C13’s project is much more intensive and less hands on, but I really want her to push herself past her comfort level with her writing.  I will be discussing every stage with her which will hopefully help her to feel well supported and not so overwhelmed.

As IGCSE’s are now a very real occurrence in this house, I want to make sure I am breaking up the intensity of serious study with some fun unit studies and a bit of project based learning.  I am not ready for my older children to leave their childhood just yet, and am trying to alternate the serious with the fun.

Project based learning 2

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16 comments

  1. I love how the children’s education is tailored to their interests but still overlaps the same time period. You are such an awesome homesschool mom.

  2. I loved seeing your older kids’ projects all those years ago, and I’m confident that this year’s will be just as great. I can’t wait to see them all!
    By the way, Don Quixote might be a hit with your daughter if she enjoyed Paradise Lost. It was one of my favourites at that age.

    1. Thanks Erin, I will make your suggestion to C, although she is ploughing her way through Gilgamesh at the moment, which isn’t seeming as interesting to her as Paradise Lost 🙂

    1. She is mid-Gilgamesh at the moment and not very fascinated with the whole thing! I think she will be very pleased to get the reading out of the way in order to reach the writing, which she adores 🙂

  3. It’s really good to read about how you’re able to involve all the children in a common topic for learning, and that the older children are able to take part in this in concurrence with their IGCSE studies. I can’t remember whether the older three are all preparing for IGCSE, or is it just T at the moment? 🙂

    1. T has just taken his Physics IGCSE, and we are all working slowly towards Biology and RS. T is also about 3/4 the way through his maths GCSE and hopes to have it completely finished by September, and will take his maths whenever he feels ready after that.
      It is all beginning to feel very serious now….

  4. Looks like everyone is in for a busy term. Your plans look great. So many people have trouble incorporating littles in with the older children, but you always manage to do a fantastic job of it, Claire.

    1. I just want my children to at least have some time working together and building relationships. It is less and less each year, but I really do feel it is important 🙂

  5. These are great examples and ideas of PBL combined with the interests of each child to really engage them, and yet they are all linked to a common topic. The projects are in depth and multi faceted so I am sure a lot of learning will take place and make it such an authentic experience for them all. Fantastic inspiration!

  6. Sounds like you have an amazing term ahead of you 🙂 I really like your aim of breaking up the more serious IGCSE study with some fun learning- I might need to borrow that idea for our son! Thank you for sharing all your lovely plans.

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