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Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) units immerse children in real-world, complex situations. While searching for a solution to the problem, students simultaneously develop a deep understanding of a variety of subjects and improve their skills in research, higher-order thinking, decision making, and more.

Each unit consists of a Teacher Manual of detailed instructions on how to implement the unit and a student Problem Log, in which the students find necessary materials for the unit and also where they record their work. In addition, many of the units have a Resource Book that contains primary resources and supplemental materials (such as photographs) that are also available online so that instructors can download them, print them out, and, if necessary, make copies of them to distribute to the students. The units that do not have Resource Books tend to deal with current issues and offer suggestions for websites where both instructors and students can find the supplemental information they need; these are listed in the Teacher Manual.

Each Teacher Manual also describes how to conduct the project, how to develop problem-solving skills and awareness, and how to lead students into considering all sides of a situation. These are enduring life skills that children will use well beyond the completion of the unit.

We have units that pertain to topics in both social studies and science. However, many of the social studies units can be used in cross-curricular or interdisciplinary studies with language arts instructors or units.


Social Studies PBL Units

Science PBL Units

Problem Studies for One

Problem-based learning is collaborative in nature, and students are required to work together to solve the problem that they face. In many instances, they must compromise in order to move forward—an essential life skill that is used by adults on medical teams, software-writing units, intelligence-gathering organizations, scientific research teams, and more. PBL is therefore only possible within a group context. However, there are other valuable skills that students develop while working through a PBL unit, so we have designed two of the units specifically for home educators who may have just one student but who still would like their child to have the immersive experience of solving a real-world problem in the role of one of its key stakeholders. These units are called Problem Studies for One. In this way, all students, whether in a classroom or homeschool co-op or in a situation in which they are individually homeschooled, can participate in the PBL experience.

We regard the essential and enduring life skills that PBL imparts as so important that every child should have the experience of actively participating in a PBL unit.

For Registered Homeschoolers: FREE SHIPPING on all prepaid orders! When you purchase a PBL set, you can add any other books at the same time and qualify for free shipping on the entire order (in the domestic U.S. only).

Dr. Shelagh Gallagher, the author of the majority of our PBL units, has written a book for instructors who want more in-depth information about how PBL originated, why it’s effective, and how best to implement PBL strategies effectively. The book is available in two versions: one for classroom teachers, and one for homeschooling parents.

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