I’ve been homeschooling for quite a while and just recently graduated my oldest son. Back when he was in kindergarten I came up with the idea of planning an interest lead study for summer time adventure and exploration. During the year I would make note of his particular areas of interest and then at the start of the summer present a themed box on that interest. As my younger children began to join in on the unit study fun during the school year they would also be presented with a box at the start of summer. For a few years I had four separate boxes going at the same time. I coined the phrase “Summer Adventure Box” and mentioned the concept on a homeschooling forum. Since then some other members of the homeschool community have created special boxes of summer fun for their children.
However, I no longer put together summer adventure boxes for my children. Instead of opening a box they go outside and step into their personalized year round learning box.
As my children’s skills have increased and their abilities have improved my husband and I have determined to provide a studio for each child appropriate to his/her specific interest and style of learning. So far three of our children have a special studio with plans in the works for the fourth and final studio.
So let’s step inside the box.
Here is a picture of Ajax’s biking and fishing shed. He has always had a passion for fishing which has spread out from catching fish to hand tying flies and carving lures. Notice his studio (he calls it his fishing shack) has a cleaning station out front with lighting for those late night catches.
He also keeps his ever expanding collection of antique fishing gear and memorabilia on the walls inside. His special place also hold his bikes and in particular THE bike that has been modified with an original design rod rack on the back.
Bear has been a builder and craftsman from the beginning. He has always had an affinity for cardboard and duct tape. With age and experience he now handles tools (including some power ones) with skill. He creates wooden barns, woodland homes, as well as toy airplanes, ships, and automobiles. His current interest is creating weapons for reenactments.
His studio has electricity, shelving, tools of the trade, and work benches indoors and out.
This spring we began another building project. It was time for the girl to get a fully set up studio for her sewing and paper crafting. Much to the boys’ shock Thimble’s sewing palace has air conditioning!
She also has custom built shelves and work tables for her sewing machines in the works. She spends so much time creating that her bedroom just –well to put it nicely- her bedroom can’t handle the crafting and sewing she produces. So this summer the Stucco Seamstress goes into business.
I find it so inspiring to see how little interests that began due to unit studies progressed into summer adventure boxes and then from summer adventure boxes into individual studios.
Another point I would like to mention is that special places like these don’t have to be expensive. A lot of our materials were salvaged and building the studios were a special project on their own. My husband and father planned and carried out most of the work with my three sons assisting and helping as needed. Lots of practical math is involved in building projects of every size.
Another idea is to consider converting an unused or seldom used part of your home into a studio. Think about the type of work that will be done and plan accordingly. Thimble really did need special work tables and tons of electric outlets for sewing machines, irons, and laminating machines. Woodworking seems best with some indoor space for delicate projects and outdoor work areas for larger sturdier pieces. A fishing shack needs outdoor lighting, water, and a cleaning table. Think about your child’s needs for workspace, storage, lighting, and display. With some creativity and thinking out of the box you can fuel the passions of delight directed project based learning.
Special thanks to guest blogger, Ging, an eclectic, creative homeschool mom of four, who can be found blogging at Tortillas for Breakfast.