Next class planned for April/May 2017
sign up HERE to get on the early-bird list
“This class can help move you from reading, thinking, and talking about PBH to actively doing it.”
“The class was so much more and better than what I had even hoped for and wished to gain.”
In this six-week class, we drill down deeper into the core ideas of mentoring and self-directed learning and help you put those ideas into immediate practice.
Each week you’ll receive new material I’ve written specifically for this course along with simple assignments. Class discussions are held in a private forum on this site — the private forum also includes extra resources. You can read and participate in the discussions whenever it is convenient for you.
We’ll be experimenting with making small but impactful changes. We’ll focus not only on learning how to mentor our children, but on how to apply the same principles to our own lives — to build a family culture of learning, doing, making, and sharing.
I will be giving reading assignments, so please purchase a copy of the book before class begins or borrow a copy from your library or a friend. We will not be reading the book straight through, so if possible, please do that before class begins.
This class is not just for homeschoolers — it is for any parent or teacher who wants to support children’s deep interests and help them become active thinkers, learners, makers, and doers.
If you do homeschool, it doesn’t matter what approach you use — PBH works with every type of homeschooling including unschooling. Everyone is welcome!
This is a community-based class. You’ll have the opportunity to make some like-minded friends who have the same goals and values for learning and supporting children. In the private class forum, we will discuss each week’s focus and share questions, ideas, and issues. That forum will stay available after the class ends so you can keep in touch with your cohort and continue learning together and supporting one another in the future. In addition, you will gain access to the Master Class Alumni Forum — so you will have plenty of support as you move forward.
The six focus areas of this class will be:
• Documenting & journaling
• Uncovering interests & choosing topics
• Maximizing your environment
• Building the making habit
• Defining your family culture
• Leveling up: How to maximize every learning experience
There is no session schedule you must adhere to for this class. The materials will be e-mailed to you regularly across the six weeks, but you can read them and access the forum whenever it works best for you. If you are traveling during this time, you can resume when you return and work your way through the materials at your own pace. The forum and extra resources will stay available after the last class date so you can continue to review the information and get online feedback, support, and encouragement.
After rereading the last two emails, I have to tell you how remarkable this class is. My growth is measured in leaps and bounds already. I am in the midst of completely evolving our home education. Life learning has ever been my goal. Thank you for the tools. — Stephanie
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I feel so much more confident and hopeful and like I am making progress and moving forward after taking the PBH Master Class. This is the ultimate “How To” with an amazing mentor by your side. — Alice
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This class is outstanding. It takes the PBH principles and ideas from Lori’s book and blog and helps you make them real. Real, authentic learning and co-learning, journaling, reflecting, deep thinking, self-directing, culture-building, environment-tweaking, mentoring, creating, making, and doing. The class really drove home for me how flexible and forgiving, yet sturdy and hearty, PBH is. It has helped me commit to my own meaningful work and to begin creating habits, a family culture, and an environment that will help my kids do the same. — Tana
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The class was so much more and better than what I had even hoped for and wished to gain. — Audra
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We have been using the methods and techniques of Project-Based Homeschooling for five years. I have read countless posts on Lori’s blog, pored over her book with highlighter in hand, and exchanged many lengthy emails sharing and ironing out the details of our journey. Still, when she announced the Project-Based Homeschooling Master Class I jumped at the chance to learn even more. And I have! The class has provided me with not only access to Lori and her thoughts on a whole new level, but also a great cohort of classmates with which to share, bounce ideas off, and garner support from. It has been the push I needed to take our Project-Based Homeschooling to a whole new level. Whether just starting out or a veteran of project-based work, there is so much to be gained in taking this course. — Dawn Suzette
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I cannot recommend Lori Pickert’s PBH master class highly enough. The emails, exercises and community discussion have done so much to illuminate what we’re doing right and what we can do better as a family of learners. Lori, through her common sense and insightful support, has helped guide us on our homeschooling path for several years now. Her master class has solidified the work we have done over the years to build our family culture and homeschooling approach. She and the other people in the class are there to help you through frustration, offer suggestions when needed, and celebrate successes. Whether you’re beginning a project-based homeschooling adventure or just need to flex your muscles a bit, this class builds you up and helps you be more mindful in that work. I’m sad it’s ending soon (and plan to just crash the next class and not leave ever). — Sarah
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To think I was nervous before starting this class! It has been wonderful to be part of such a supportive group of people, to be able to talk about what is hard and what isn't working and not feel judged. To share what is working. I think so many people in the home-school community right now (just before the new school year starts) are feeling full of doubts and questions about which direction they should go in (I know I question myself at least 100 times a week about whether I am doing the right thing), and it is great to have this class under my belt to remind myself that I am headed the way I want to go. — Nicky
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This class has been life-changing for me. While there is still a long way to go in terms of living by my values and establishing those tiny habits to reach big goals, I feel like there is a tangible system in place now, one that is sensible and doable. And if I get off track, I can return to journaling and reflection, tweak our environment, participate in the forum, re-read your book (which by now is coffee-stained, dog-eared, and extensively notated!), or rethink my big rocks. There are so many directions a homeschooler can go these days, but PBH is the only one that feels like it can truly grow with the child and last a lifetime (IMHO). Thank you, thank you for offering this class. It has been such a rich experience. — Jane A
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Lori Pickert’s PBH Master Class is potentially life-changing. Potentially, because PBH looks different for every individual and family. Potentially, because you have to do the hard work and thinking for yourself. Fortunately, through class content and a supportive private class forum, Lori shows participants how to take all of that potential and turn it into a way of life for everyone in your family.
Lori’s wealth of experience and knack for positive problem-solving, combined with the supportive atmosphere of the class forum alone, are worth the price of the class. If getting started with project-based learning on your own seems intimidating, you will learn how even small shifts in your daily routine, perspective, or way of thinking can begin to move your household towards self-motivated in-depth learning that feels right and makes sense. I will continue to turn to the class resources and ideology again and again in the years to come. As I finish up the class, I feel like I’m just taking the first few steps on a wonderful adventure, but instead of feeling overwhelmed, I know I have the basic tools I need to keep me on the right path. Thanks to the Project-Based Homeschooling Master Class, I’m seeing the potential of project-based learning become reality, not just for my children and family, but for myself as well. — Wendy
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I have a 20yo who’s in college and a 14yo who has been in school for a year now, so I don’t seem to be the target population for a course called Project-Based Homeschooling. And yet: if one truly believes in lifelong learning and in translatable skills, taking any class with Lori makes all kinds of sense. I love the regular reminders to focus on what’s important, to document, review and share. The encouragement in the forum from Lori and other class members has kept lessons alive and relevant. I’m gaining useful habits not only for my family, but also for community groups I’m involved in and my own productivity. I’d take it again in a heartbeat and would encourage anyone even considering the class to just leap in — it’s absolutely worth doing. — Suzie
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The PBH class offered do-able actions, information, and support for going deeper into the concepts and practice of project-based learning. More importantly, I found myself experiencing a shift in the way I see and participate in the world. This course has given me renewed inspiration for my work as a learning mentor and I feel ready and excited to embrace our second year of homeschooling. One of the greatest gifts of this course was a new way of thinking about my own making — a welcome surprise from a homeschooling course! — zisforzen
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The impact of the Project-Based Homeschooling Master Class is already clearly visible in my home, in my family’s routines, and how I’m thinking about learning and our family values around it. Not only have I been inspired by the ideas presented, but I have been supported by Lori and the community she skillfully builds to make concrete plans and put them into action. She has a true gift for taking what seems abstract and making it concrete and doable for every participant. The class has helped me to create habits that work for us, rather than against us. Not only am I excited about the ways she has opened our family up to learning, my children are, too! — Jen
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I came into this thinking it would change my style of teaching, but it did more than that, it changed my approach to life. — Lisa
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When I first read Project-Based Homeschooling a year ago, it felt like it contained the missing piece to a puzzle I’ve been trying to assemble most of my life. What had been absent from my homeschooling experience as a child was exactly this: the treatment of my work (play) as a sequence of projects that develop through iterations, mentoring, and collaboration.
I was excited to apply PBH concepts to my child’s life. Some of the book’s suggestions I began right away, such as setting up a project space. Other ideas, like narrowing down, were implemented gradually. There were weeks — even months — in which it seemed my steps toward a project-based orientation were so very tiny; however, with Lori’s assurances, I knew that at some point I’d be able to look back and see I’d covered real distance.
I enrolled in the Master Class to delve deeper and receive more mentoring. I had worked on a little bit of this and a little bit of that, now it was time to revisit and strengthen practices I’d been inspired to start. PBH is an ongoing process, not something you read a book about once and then are done with. The class can help move you from reading, thinking, and talking about PBH to actively doing it. Or if you’re more like me, it can help you get *more* out of what you’re already doing. Lori selected a handful of areas for us to work on all together; this helped me get from a surface-level practice of PBH to a more substatiative, rooted practice of PBH. In keeping with PBH principles, Lori breaks “homework” down into such small steps that by just following along, we’ve made significant and desirable strides in our project work here. And whether you are stymied or having success, Lori is right there, checking in and replying to all participants with compassion and resources.
I learned from athletics that whatever I think I can do on my own, I can do even better with a good coach. Add in some supportive teammates and that makes for a really good time. That’s what this class is like! — Hsofia
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I can finally say I am doing PBH. And I couldn’t before this class. Lori’s responsiveness to our individual questions and concerns is amazing — I really appreciated how she personalized the class for me and everyone else. So much more to learn, but I feel a real sense of progress. I’ve identified/fed a deep interest for the first time, created workspaces that work (for now), routinely make with my kids, and journal and reflect more consistently than ever before. I also know where I need to work more — creating more time for my work, and finding ways to involve our community in what we’re doing. I am out of the haze. — Aarti
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My life really has been transformed. Each of my boys have cried at different times when they realize we don’t have project time that morning and they are creating! They come to me and ask me to write things in my ever-present project journal and then they run and get a highlighter and make sure it is marked bold and clear. During project time I am present. I always felt so busy before getting this done, that done, and feeling frustrated that I wasn’t more available to my boys — and now I am. We still have ups and downs daily, of course, but I feel more grounded, more confident, and more satisfied that I am on a path that feels good to me. Helping to create a space for my boys to be making has started a little spark for me personally as well. I have long held the belief that I am not creative but I wanted to believe I could be and now I know I am. We are a family of makers!
Lori gave me just the right amount of support, encouragement, and nudging for me to do the real work to ground myself in this wild journey of parenting. I can see now how much I was just sort of floating aimlessly and now I am excited and realizing the life I want to live and living it! I am now living in a house with shelves of art, bulletin boards, and desks in the living room. There is art all over and a family that realizes how creative we all are. This is a big step for me coming from a long-held belief that I am not creative! I am listening and available and present with my boys and they notice. I am so grateful for such an amazing class. — A.M.
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I’m feeling very grateful for your class. I read your book before the class and still wasn’t able to really make it happen. The class really aligned so much of what was/is happening around here into such a fabulous rhythm and direction. Direction, with focus. That’s what I’m feeling so energized about — the focus! — C.
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I would suggest the PBH master class to anyone interested in purposeful learning and living.
The class made me look carefully, though not critically, at the patterns and work that we were doing in our daily life and question, “Is that leading toward the goals we want?” The class helped my husband and I discuss what our family goals were and ask, “Why?” Why were we focusing on the dinner dishes when we could be drawing and reading with our boys? What little household changes would encourage discovery? What small efforts by our boys were we missing because we were trying to push them a different way?
I am a mom who cares about the learning environment in her home and as a classroom teacher. Lori was insightful, helpful, and encouraging on both fronts. As a teacher, it helped me think about the environment and its role in learning. It helped me edit MY interests and goals as a teacher and focus in on my students’ natural interests and pace. The class was a reminder of why I get together with students — to help them learn and process, not to force them through hoops.
This is a class for examining your learning and your living. It helps you see the interconnection of your habits and your daily joys. It is fast-paced, but the information is available continuously and I am still able to be in touch with my cohort. I can’t say thank you to Lori or my cohort classmates enough! — Lora
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I read the book, but the PBH Master Class made me live the book. The class offers so much more than an approach to learning. It really is about resetting your approach to life, with beautiful, like-minded individuals who share their struggles and triumphs in the raw and in real time. Lori’s support and that of others is so encouraging. The outcome of the deep thinking and deep doing has recharged me and created subtle shifts in our family culture. What’s most exciting is, the outcomes are real and tangible.
In doing the course I’ve learnt about honesty — being honest with myself, my values, and what we want for our family. In doing so, I’ve started to embody a truth, and act and live it daily. It’s our family truth and it breathes life into a culture of laughter, fun, and above all creativity and knowledge-building.
I had to break down my ideas of how learning should take place (linear — master something and move on) and realize that the times I’ve been most creative, most excited is when I can revisit, remaster, and add onto things I’ve worked on. These are also the times I’m most content because it’s satisfying to work without boundaries, discover new skills, and work out how things go.
This is how my children are learning. In journaling I’ve identified what may have once been considered arbitrary bits/mess that are actually different versions of a themed ‘project’ (houses, habitats, animal houses) and in the last week the physical output in ‘craft materials’ has been astounding by both children.
I’ve reconnected to my inner self, which makes me content. I’m working on my own projects and sharing things with the children… who in turn do the same. It’s magical. It’s energizing. It’s rewarding!
So thank you Lori for opening my heart, mind, and senses to my children. — Miko
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I loved the ideas in the PBH book but I think I was not sure how to start, how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. What I have gained from this class is a real understanding of what I need to do to truly expand our learning in this direction. I may not be fully on the path yet, but I at least know where it its! I love the way the class has used the baby-steps structure as it has given me something concrete to DO each week that is actually manageable. I have loved having this place to come to at the end of the day to read and think and participate! — Miranda
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Lori’s book articulates the concept of project-based homeschooling, but for those of us who don’t know where to start, the PBH master class is a necessity! By breaking down the process into six weeks of reflection and small steps that are completely doable (even for a mom of three boys!), there is no way you won’t be able to actualize a project-based approach at home. At the very least, it will change the way you approach learning forever! — Nicole
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My son, who was “stuck,” “on strike,” and had “no interests” is suddenly initiating his own science experiments — multiple ones, designing really cool LEGO structures, and following his interests over multiple days! He is also talking to me about his interests and showing me his output. You could knock me over with a feather. — Ksenia
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Lori you don’t miss a BEAT! Always so present and supportive. Your passion for this work is so evident.
I have made small but significant steps in all categories and am noticing the benefits. For the first time in the three years of homeschooling, I feel anchored. I still have loads of questions, but I have confidence in knowing that the answers will naturally surface over time. PBH is such authentic, loving work. I’m definitely up for the challenge! — Louise
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I love how the Master Class has made a difference in my life!!! Amazed at how Lori was able to respond to so many of us… always a prompt and clear response to our frustrating and problematic questions! It was so worth it… so glad I went ahead and signed myself for this class. I am referring back to your emails time to time. What a treasure!!!! — Tiffany
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When I first read the book Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners, it felt like coming home. This was the way I had always strived to learn and the way I wanted my children to learn. I read the book on the train, on my way to work, using the time I had. Every chapter was packed with information, direction, and strategies — but also with grief, realization, and sadness about what could be and was not, because of our circumstances, choices, and life rhythm.
After reading the book, I put a few things in place, started a list of questions from my 4-year-old, bought a few art supplies without daring to make them accessible (fear of mess!), and took a morning a week for projects that usually ended up in a family-wide tantrum. Not very pretty. I did not know the way to tackle this mountain, and I needed a good mountain guide. (I grew up in the Alps.)
We took the summer off, enjoying the benefits of a good old-fashioned summer. When i saw the master class was available again, I signed up without hesitation. I was on temporary leave from work and my kids were at an interesting age to enjoy PBH (4 and 2).
When we started, we were not in a very good place. Our routines were irregular and every transition was painful (bedtime, meals, getting out the door). We were plagued by anxiety and stress, worn out from the classic early years of a young family: having babies, buying a house, getting married, financial worries. I had neglected my own meaningful work and my basement was full of unfinished projects. We barely had time to connect as a couple.
We still had a lot going for us, but our path was somehow foggy and unclear.
The master class is a combination of regular emails, material and resources, assignments, and of course a wonderful forum to connect deeply with other class members. From day one, the momentum was there. I started journaling (a wonderful habit), paying attention, and most of all trusting and relaxing into the work. There were some tears, lots of grief and healing, because like most people, I did not do PBH as a kid, a teen, or even as an adult. Yet our attention was shifted toward the good stuff — and we started (slowly) getting more of it.
Lori was super available and so were the other participants. Every week, we had a direction or big idea to focus on and dig deeper. The intensity of the work can vary from a few minutes a day checking the forum on your phone to a complete redesign of your living room/basement, followed by time spent documenting and getting supplies. The method might be virtual (forum/emails) but the learning, the exploration, and the support are very real. I have found myself to be a natural e-learner, enjoying the self-pacing and the directly-in-your-home feeling, not to mention the opportunity to connect with like-minded people around the globe.
Projects started to be completed, pictures were taken and shared, laughter and tickles were commonplace, followed by deep (and relaxed) discussions as a couple over a cup of tea. A routine appeared on our fridge, art was beautifully displayed, and a working table was built for the kids. Art materials and playdough are now on the lower shelf and clean-up is part of the plan, along with generous limits/rules.
What is great about PBH is that it is inclusive of all families. While homeschooling is a great setting for this work, because it allows for plenty of time for open exploration, parents with other life circumstances are welcome as well. I enjoyed looking up to mothers of teens and reading about a young mother carefully observing her baby’s play and movements.
The class is a combination of super practical steps and detailed actions to carve out project time, tweak our environment, and refine our mentoring skills. Yet we were also allowed to dream big and weave our small daily acts into the huge tapestry of our family culture in the making.
We have noticed many shifts in our household. I have been finishing quite a few open tasks. We are in general much more relaxed, which was a big goal for me when I started. My journaling habit has been steady, with occasional absences, but because falling off the horse is part of the plan, so is remounting. There is a LOT of dramatic play around the house since I changed the environment. Also, routines are smoother — maybe because the days are more fulfilling.
Our communication as a couple has been more clear and easy, without unnecessary fuss. My husband (an agile project manager) was at ease with PBH right away because he saw the good stuff happening and also because there is no permanent label — everything is just an experiment. It is getting more of the good — and the bad (or less desirable) slowly vanishes in the background. He felt less threatened than when I was trying (very much against his will) to embark him on so-called “alternative” ways of life and culture. I slowly feel our family culture forming and maturing. (We are a toddler of a family.)
For myself, I have felt more assertive, making tiny better choices and panicking less over minor annoyances. I realized I had been the victim of subtle yet very real bullying within my extended family. Putting my finger on it has been eye-opening and empowering, allowing me to rewrite my story from burned-out mother to thriving mentor and creator. Thanks to Lori’s guidance, I am now standing up for myself and my family.
We are white-water canoeists and when you are on the river, to be able to have some maneuverability you have to be at a different speed than the current (either faster or slower). It uses less energy to have your own speed and direction. The bonus is that you avoid the rocks and “surf the wave.” So with that metaphor in mind, I have begun. — Mentine