Delight Directed HomeschoolingLinda Rose
Delight directed learning is something that I have always wanted to incorporate in my homeschool. But it’s also something that, quite honestly, frightened me! I’m a teacher at heart with several years both public and private school experience under my belt. I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of allowing the child to study what he wants to study. I also love schedules; I like to have my plans made and followed each day of the week. Turning my kids loose to learn on their own meant that I would have to release control. Thus my transition to delight directed learning has been uncomfortable. But it has been rewarding!
What is Delight Directed Learning?
Delight directed learning is finding what your child is interested in and guiding him or her towards that topic. You serve as an assistant to help them to find relevant books and movies on the topic.
Children are naturally curious. You can even ask questions to make them wonder about some topic. Once their curiosity is piqued, they will want to find out more. What do you see your child gravitate towards? What books does he or she choose at the library? What do your children like to do? Where do they like to go? What do they talk about when they are with their friends?
Serving as a Role Model
In order for your child to be successful in their learning adventure, they need a good role model. That means you, mom or dad. What does your child see you doing? Are you a good role model for your child? When you want to know something, what do you do? You look it up, of course. You take a trip to the library and check out a book or two about that topic. When your child sees you continuing to learn, even as an adult, you are setting them up to be successful as well.
Giving Children Choices
So after many years of forcing knowledge down my kids’ throats, I finally had had enough! I stopped pushing. I stopped planning. I stopped nagging. I put away all of the formal school books. And, yes, that was very difficult for me to do. I asked my children what they wanted to learn. Instead of my telling them what they had to do, I simply listened.
Surprisingly, I found out that one of my children loves history. She wanted to continue studying what she had previously been studying —American history. Another child wanted to learn about money. One loves horses. We checked out some books about money, and I pulled all of the horse books off my bookshelves. My son wanted to read about Minecraft.
Guiding Delight Directed Learning
I eventually realized that I could guide their delight directed learning. In fact, for my son we set a timer. He could read about Minecraft for 15 minutes. After that he needed to choose one history book out of 3 or 4 that I had pre-selected for me to read aloud to him for 15 minutes. Then he could choose a science book to read for another 15 minutes. Finally, he chose a literature book to read, again from several that I had pre-selected. The reason I pre-selected the literature book is because there were some specific reading skills that I wanted him to work on, and I knew that these books wouldn’t discourage him in that task.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a time and a place for a scheduled curriculum. And some families are even motivated by such curriculum. I love my curriculum, and it is usually well-received by my children, but I needed to take a step back and re-evaluate. I’m not saying that we are never going back to a scheduled curriculum. But we definitely needed this time of delight directed learning in our homeschool. We still have many wonderful family times. We also play many games, and I have a read aloud list a mile long. Math is non-negotiable. It still has to be learned, but we set a timer for that so it doesn’t take up our entire day. And if I find a neat something that I think they would enjoy, we give it a try.
The Thinking Tree offers amazing books that have very easily made delight directed learning accessible to me and my kids. The journals and DIY books offer just enough guidance that I can be comfortable that all of the subjects are being covered. They complete about 10 pages per day in their journals, touching on every subject from Bible study to math, history, reading, and spelling. There are pages for being creative and even a page that guides them to watch an educational video and report about what they learned. The best thing about delight directed learning is that my children are loving learning once again.