Project learning ~ Bedrooms and Dollhouses (& Pond building too)

During the craziness of last month I alluded to getting Celine started on a project. I also briefly mentioned the perhaps projects are our home education modus operandi.

I'm not sure I'm ready to hang my hat totally on that idea but my kiddos sure do learn an awful lot through projects. Up until now the projects they have sunk their teeth into have been of the crafty/artistic/gardening sort.

I truly hope to write one day of the pond Laurent dug this summer and the garden feature it has become in our backyard. Just one example of a learning project.

But last month when Celine seemed to be floundering a little (boredom popping up on a daily basis) Damien and I thought we should direct her to a learning project a bit beyond what she has attempted up until this point. We asked her to consider decorating the girl's room. We wanted a project that:

  • engages and stimulates the intellect
  • teaches practical skills
  • further develops unique talents and interests

A room decorating project fits the bill just perfectly for Celine. She needs something to challenge her planning and problem solving abilities. Learning how to patch plaster and paint are practical skills to add to her repertoire of sewing & stitching. And if you haven't noticed yet this girl loves design.

So she started... and then turned her attention to a project of a smaller scale - a Victorian dollhouse.

For now the bedroom project waits until Damien teaches her how to patch the plaster.

In the meantime we need to make another trip to Lowes for paint selections and to investigate switch plate & ceiling fan options. She has a budget and has picked up curtains at goodwill and chosen to use green paint we already own for her side of the bedroom (Brienne's side will be pink - of course). These choices helped her save money so she can add certain embellishments like a gauzy divider down the middle of the room.

I can't wait to post the pictures of what it will be when it's done. Celine has real talent with design, sewing and details.

While the bedroom project is at a stand still she's applying those skills to creating a replica Victorian dollhouse using cardboard, paste, fabrics and fancy papers. This has involved a lot of research about the Victorian era and when certain household luxuries - flush toilets and electricity for example - were invented. The Victorian dolls themselves were constructed from polymer clay and have movable limbs.

I have always trusted my kids would learn their elementary level history and science if I just let them explore, read and create. It's very gratifying when you see your theories actually working! 

Update:  Celine wasn't able to tackle the room as planned, we called in the big guns - her papa to help finish the job. She did a fabulous job with her doll house though and she gives readers a guided tour here.

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  • nicola

    nicola on Sept. 4, 2009, 7:52 p.m.

    renee, this is fantastic. i LOVE that you and damien are introducing celine to a project of that scale and complexity. all the pieces of work that make up a room re-do....terrific project. i also love that she's going to test some of it out on a doll house. sweet! you are teaching me so much! nicola ps. i read your comments on my blog yesterday. NO, your blog or writing NEVER makes me feel the way i was expressing! (honestly, i just need to stop reading those that do or toughen up!)

    nicola's last blog post... book love


  • Shawna

    Shawna on Sept. 6, 2009, 3:27 p.m.

    I love everything about this. What an amazing thing to be able to lead your daughter in an education that develops her own passions! She wouldn't get to do things like this until high school where I grew up, and even then it would be trivial since it would be an imaginary room, or a house made of masonite. if grand projects get to be your mode of education, then i cannot wait to hear more! It's what I hope for us some day. :O)


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