Home Schooling: Project-related training
Keeping children employed and doing homework outdoors is not an easy task, you’re not alone. We recently conducted a survey among families and found that in addition to the introduction of routine, child care is the main concern of parents. Just as it is often difficult for school-age children to do their homework during a normal school year, the problems at home are even more acute now. If you are a parent who is currently suffering from this pain, you can help here: Project training.
Like adults, children are often more authentically involved in project work with which they feel personally connected. Finding these connections without the personal presence of the teacher to create the context makes it a little (or a lot!) more difficult for many of us as we try to let our young scientists learn.
How do your children spend their time?
Depending on your student’s performance level and the number of weeks you study at home, you may encounter different levels of work assigned by teachers and different levels of work done by your children. Back-to-school dates can be non-negotiable for many students, especially for high school students who receive credits and in some cases prepare for high scoring tests, such as the AP exams, which will be taken at home this year.
If your personal situation at home is one of those optional school tasks or assignments that are quickly completed and leave your student bored or on autopilot, here is a self-managing project that can benefit almost every child of your age: An hour of genius. The beginning is relatively simple, and the best thing is that in the end there is no certification!
Education based on projects motivating children.
Engineering time (sometimes called 20% hours) is a concept that is applied in some innovative companies such as Google, where employees spend 20% of their working time on projects that interest them. In recent years, many tutors have adopted this practice to increase student participation by giving students time to explore their chosen project, while combining elements of the project with learning skills in research, critical thinking, reading, writing and presentation. Teachers set certain requirements to maintain high expectations and then provide resources and guidance along the way.
How does Genie Hour work?
Here’s a brief overview of how Genie Hour works, with a few details and useful links to help you get started with your child:
- Select a topic that interests you.
- Ask a leading question to guide your research.
- Decide how you show what you’ve learned.
- Find resources and start learning.
- Imagine your project.
Select a topic and create a main question.
An important part of the technique lesson is to formulate a question to focus and guide the learner’s learning process. To achieve maximum participation and concentration, children need to choose the subject they really want to learn. Topics are very open and do not require a direct link to current school activities, so your child’s topic can be related to current interests or a new curiosity.
Engineering time for babies
For young children, a topic such as the weather or pets can be biased with the help of, for example, parents: How do ponds affect the weather or which animals are good pets? Young children are more likely to have a connection with the subjects they learn at school, such as the weather, rocks and minerals, or farm animals.
Engineering Hour for Students
Older pupils should be able to imagine many areas of interest that can be stimulated by what they learn at school or by subjects they have chosen themselves. For example, a young music student may be interested in a certain music genre, such as hip-hop or jazz. She can then formulate an important question to accompany her research into the impact of music on the top of contemporary hip-hop artists. For example, a student who is interested in sports or a student who missed an internship may ask: What is the best home training to keep my sport in shape?
Determine how to show what you know.
At the end of the project the pupils make something – a computer slide show, a drawing, a diagram, a series of photos, a song, a poem, a video, a podcast or a poster – to show their learning process. The creation of an artifact enables students to synthesise their learning process in a creative way. And this artifact can be as large and diverse as the materials to which a student has access. It all works. High-tech or on paper. The environment is not really important, because learning takes place naturally as part of the process.
Resource start-up and training
Armed with an interesting topic and an important question, your child can start exploring resources at home. Searching the internet is an obvious first step, but let’s look at other means. You can also indicate films or documentaries that relate to both the subject and the main question. And who knows, you may have some useful books or magazines. In addition to online research, it is also possible to conduct interviews by telephone or videoconference. Help them think beyond the screen, at least in the beginning.
As far as Internet resources are concerned, many museums now offer virtual tours of their collections. We can’t go in person, but the Smithsonian National History Museum offers several virtual tours online, and the National Park Foundation invites you to take a virtual tour of the national park of your choice.
Did your young athlete miss the sport? Local gyms and community centres can offer online training and coaching programs for children interested in fitness related topics. Also, most professional associations have now added content to their websites, such as the official Major League Baseball website, where you can find the history, videos of previous games and even stories of original talismans.
If your child wants to explore the world, National Geographic Kids has a lot of online resources. Older children can explore the websites of magazines and newspapers, and many now have free access to them. In addition, video education on YouTube can be an excellent resource, depending on age, access and parental guidance.
Child safety on the Internet
As with any work your children do online, it’s time to remind them how to be particularly safe when exploring online resources. As always, they will want to look for fake applications, risky links and summary downloads – especially now that hackers have taken the trouble to increase the number of lessons at home and want to take advantage of them. A comprehensive security solution will help them ensure their security and privacy.
Share what you have learned.
After the child has spent time reading, watching, listening and learning, it is time to create an artifact that shows what it has learned. See the possibilities above, because the last phase of the Genius Hour project is learning together.
Use of videoconferencing
At home everyone can be in the audience, and a single audience works just as well. If you want, you can invite other friends and family members for a short video conference so that they too can participate. This gives children an excellent opportunity to communicate with extended family members, such as grandparents or even friends from school. (Imagine multiple parents coming together and all their children presenting their projects and then meeting each other in an online chat…).
During the presentation the students report on their subject, why they chose it, their guiding question, their artifact and what they have learned. Then the teacher asks the pupils in the class to reflect from the beginning to the end of the process. You can do something similar by following up questions from the public, either in person or online. It’s a great way to end your journey and let everyone benefit from the process.
Duration of the recovery period
Genius Hour is very flexible and can last days or weeks. Depending on the means and preferences, it can be advanced or rudimentary technology. For children who have free time and for parents who want a more focused learning experience and participation, this project might be the right thing to do. Read this article to learn more about Engineering Time in class.
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