When I first started planning out this homeschool year, I thought themes would be a great way to give the kids a direction for monthly projects. Monthly projects are something that I have wanted to do with the kids for a while now, but we have never been able to give it the attention that I wanted. I always want to give freedom to the kids in what they are learning and working on, and helping littles narrow down a topic for a project isn’t quite as easy as one might imagine.
This year I decided to use monthly themes to help the kids along with their projects.
After the disaster of last months’ project theme (see yesterday’s post Project Fail!), I realized that I needed to have more structure to help the kids. Letting them decide what they want to do for a project is a great idea in theory, but considering the age of my kids, and the fact that they haven’t worked on a project that is that large before, they need a little help.
As much as I love the unschooling model, I feel like I don’t quite understand how to make it work. Perhaps I need to give more than just tools…that is a topic to explore another day!
When I was thinking up topics for the monthly themes, the first one that I came up with was apples for September. I don’t know why I thought apples would be such a great monthly theme, but I wrote it right in my Erin Condren Teacher Planner and was on my way.
Apples are definitely easier, in my traditional school mind, to use for a monthly project theme. There are tons of resources available online.
It helps that we go apple picking every year for apples to preserve.
We will have the normal apple projects for our family:
Then I also plan to offer some other options with our projects.
I think that utilizing all of these different projects within our own larger project will be great for the kids. I think the kids will love anything that has to do with paint or baking, and then to have the ability to write in their blank books what they have learned, or draw the observations they are making, will give them a really nice project at the end of the month.
The monthly theme project is not the center of our schooling for the month, but instead it will be something extra that the kids can work towards with some help from me. My goal with the monthly themes is to have something fun for the kids to do, but also to give them some ownership of a project over the month. I hope that as they get older, and we delve further into their schooling, these small monthly projects will give them the knowledge they need to take future, larger projects under their direction. I honestly believe that projects give kids an amazing way to fully explore a topic from many different angles.
Do your kids enjoy long range projects focused on one theme? What would you add to my list of apple projects?