Project Planning & The Organic Organisation of Home Education

The theme music plays, evoking memories of time spent in childhood reveries about mystery, exploration and other worlds. The Mysterious Cities of Gold, an adventure revolving around an orphaned boy and the search for Inca gold, was a favourite TV series of mine as a child, and famous cultures of old that built magnificent temples and tombs always held a fascination for me; a fascination which remains to this day.

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And now it seems that, through his mutual love of a TV programme, FreeToBeP is becoming as captivated as I was about the journey to ancient civilisations in search of secret places and secret knowledge.

As a home educator who takes a semi-structured yet child-led approach to our family learning, I’ve jumped on this as an opportunity to begin our first proper ‘project’ as an HE family: The Incas.

We’re currently forming a plan of what we can do, things that will satisfy FreeToBeP’s visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning style. Even just doing preliminary online research for possible activities, we’re both taking in new concepts and learning new facts – we test the sound of new words on our tongues as we learn what quipus are and what chicha is; FreeToBeP giggles nervously as he ponders the fate that would befall our friends’ pet guinea pigs in Peru (guinea pigs being ‘cuy’, a favourite meat dish of the Inca empire); and I grin in anticipation of knowing I will soon be purchasing some purple flour.

The ruined Inca city Machu Picchu (Creative Commons image. Copyright: Peter van der Sluijs)
The ruined Inca city Machu Picchu (Creative Commons image. Copyright: Peter van der Sluijs)

The further we tread on our path of home education, the more I realise how compartmentalised conventional schooling is. Once upon a time I viewed my Year 5 project on the ancient Egyptians as ‘just’ history. In forming a plan for our own ‘history’ project, it quickly becomes apparent how holistic such projects actually are.

During our first day of brainstorming activities and points for discussion, our list of project components covers history, geography, cultural studies, geology, religion, cuisine, politics, archaeology, art, engineering, human biology, mythology, mathematics and literacy.

In successive posts I hope to share some of our activities with you, which will hopefully culminate not only in a child (and mother!) who can wax lyrical about the Inca empire but also in a whole project plan for others who wish to pursue the same subject.

FreeToBeP has already started constructing his Minecraft Inca city, complete with booby-trapped temple. For me, some background reading: free books available on Kindle – History of the Incas and (a novel) The Treasure of the Incas.

history of the incastreasure of the incas

 

How do you plan any family projects? Do you ditch a ‘plan’ and just let it flow? Any other fans of The Mysterious Cities of Gold out there? Let me know below 🙂

 

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