I take my kids to a psychiatrist because I don’t trust myself. I had a terrible childhood and it makes me question my own judgment. He was surprised when I told him that I am not really teaching my kids any specific subject matter, but once I explained my rationale, I could see his brain moving quickly to adjust. Then he said, “The kids need projects with goals. Do they have that? A sense of accomplishment is very important to development.”
I said yes. I brought up cello and violin. I brought up 4-H. My son did a great job in that. But right now the kids aren’t that interested in 4-H, and I am worrying that I am not as project-oriented as the kids need me to be.
Lori Pickert sent me her book, Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners. I thought the book would be a good way for me to get more focused on making the projects happen.
To be honest, I hated the book. But lots of you will love it. I am very achievement oriented, so I see no point in a project that does not come with a big achievement at the end. Pickert’s book is more small-scale and reasonable – like doing art projects – and the book will appeal to parents who don’t feel the need to force their own proclivities onto their kids.
Still, the book made me nervous and I started making lists. My seven-year-old is very focused. He is taking cello lessons and he just added piano and he does dance and he has a dance recital each year that he adores. He is fine in the project/acheivement realm.
My ten-year-old is goal-oriented like me, so he thinks of his own projects. He taught himself Minecraft and now he competes with other kids in a kill-or-be-killed world. He had to spend weeks learning the ins and outs of Minecraft strategies in order to start winning these tournaments. Other kids make projects for themselves on Minecraft building stuff and being arty. My son just wants to win.
And he didn’t like 4-H because there is no way to scale a 4-H business. He thinks he can make more money running a business where he breeds pigs that people buy for breeding their own herd. I don’t know if he can do this. But I know a ten-year-old making his own breeding stock is an achievement.
So look. I don’t think I’m a project-based homeschooler. I’m too high-stakes for that. I’m an achievement-based homeschooler. My kids can do what they want, but they have to be remarkable.
If you think that is messed up, you’ll love Lori Pickert’s book.