Topic-Based Learning

When you start home educating it's easy to think you should imitate school, with a pre-set syllabus, timetabled lessons and all the rest!

A better idea is to build on your child's existing interests. Take pencil and paper and map out a wide-ranging project together. On the right you can see how a mother and daughter planned a  project based on their love of gardening.*
A garden can be an excellent resource for topic-based learning.

Enjoy each project and go where it leads. Your diagram gives you confidence before you start but success will have its own twists and turns! (You definitely won't stick to your 'map'!)


Two projects running side by side can be ideal. One may inspire you for several weeks while the other lasts years! 


I can guarantee that once you've tried the project method you won't be short of fresh ideas! The following four examples show the range of possibilities:

This chart shows how learning at home crosses subject boundaries.
education at home




1      My personal links with the South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha  

         have got children keen on geography, vulcanology, pen friendships, 

         poetry, music, conservation and penguins!



     My home educated grand-daughter and I focused on the Bayeux Tapestry,

        so we learned about weaponry, history, cartoon drawing, Latin and  

        embroidery.


        We wondered which figure was Harold - the falling one or the spear-

        throwing one. We could see no sign of that famous arrow in anyone's eye.


        Our critical look at the Tapestry led to a critical look at the modern press.
        ('Traffic Delayed' and 'London's Pride' showed very different attitudes to
        Trooping the Colour!)
home schooling
writing help
 
3    A child with an interest in physics and music might like to build a theremin - the
       instrument that plays without being touched! It's an ideal bridge between science
       and the arts, and an excellent way to develop practical skills and understanding side
       by side. +

And here's one to show that home-schooling families enjoy a laugh:

4   Q: How does a home schooling family change a light bulb?

         A: First, mum gets three library books on electricity and the kids make

       models of light bulbs. They study the life of inventor Thomas Eddison and

       invent a song and dance routine based on some of the major episodes.


       Next, they research the history of lighting and candle-making. A trip into

       town to investigate types and prices of modern bulbs leads to a question:

       How much change will they get if they buy two £1.99 bulbs and pay with

       a £20 note?


       On the way home they discuss the history of money and the role of Adam

       Smith, whose picture was on the £20 note. Finally, after building a ladder out

       of branches dragged from the woods, they change the bulb. 

 
 A cartoon showing a homeschooled boy having a 'lightbulb moment.'


Please feel free to get in touch

Tony D Triggs

education at home
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*I've added the red subject labels to prove a point!

+ For this and many other kits visit www.madlab.org