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Those of you who have read Lori Pickert’s Project-Based Homeschooling—I am reading it at the moment and trying to put parts of it into practice, but wondering how to do so with younger children (my older DD is four, but the author says the ideas can be put into practice with children as young as two).  I am working on reorganising DD’s art/craft/work space with her, making it more functional and beautiful, but I am also trying to keep my eyes and ears open—this is not a new thing for me, I’ve always been watching and listening—for the kind of deep interest that LP describes, not because I would then take charge and try to turn it into something “educational,” but only so that I can provide support, materials, etc.  But I don’t know, I leave DD to her own devices, mostly—she does not lack large blocks of unscheduled time!—and she is nearly always doing something, but quite scattered.  A typical day might look like this:

—two walks outside with lots of collecting of pebbles, pinecones, flowers, etc., some of which she brings home, but she doesn’t necessarily want to do anything with them (we’ve done pressed flowers and a few other crafts);
—lots and lots and LOTS of reading (she’s learning to read, but mostly wants to be read to, which DH and I love doing, so no problems there);
—quite a lot of writing, and asking to write letters/cards/make cards for relatives;
—some drawing, usually with just pen or pencil;
—*if* I suggest it and initiate it, she will do painting or other types of art, or play with her playdough, but it doesn’t seem to happen very often (I’m working on making the materials more accessible, but I don’t know if that’s the only factor)
—some playing with dolls and soft toys, mostly dressing them up in various outfits and talking about what they are doing
—occasionally a little bit of dressing up/hairstyling of her own—like turning various things into belts, crowns, etc., sometimes combined with face painting

I am not saying that I am anxious to put the book into practice 100%, but I don’t really see how a day like this can translate into larger “projects.”  I suppose I’m a bit confused by the author’s advice not to distract the child with too many “random” craft projects or field trips, but rather to let them concentrate on their “project”—frankly, on the days on which I don’t suggest and initiate a craft project (which DD loves and is always excited about!), I don’t see a larger/deeper interest emerging yet.  Am I just being obtuse?  Is there something I’m not seeing?  Do children of this age have “interests” than can translate into longer-term projects they would want to stick with?

Grace (4.5) has had a grand total of 2 main interests since she was about 2 year old - monkeys and (currently) pirates. I’m not convinced that *every* child will always have a deep interest in something in particular - I certainly don’t as an adult!

Angie

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Thanks, Angie—though I don’t think the book suggests that every child will have one deep, abiding interest—I think the definition of “project” is quite broad, and the child decides how long a “project” lasts, but I still don’t see how any of Ru’s current interests would translate into a project, and I don’t want to foist projects upon her!  There is a part of me that feels I’d almost be spoiling her sense of discovery by barging in and suggesting she do this or that (though again, the book doesn’t advocate doing this)—I even felt that way when I suggested she could press some of her flowers to keep them/make cards with.  I suppose it’s a fine balance between exposing them to new ideas/possibilities and directing them too much, and I’m not sure I’ve found that balance yet.

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