The delight-directed learning method has been the joy of our homeschooling for several years now. Are you familiar with the term? We happened upon it purely by accident when my son was in third grade, and we kept falling off our well-organized lesson plan.
Has that ever happened to you?
It might look something like this:
The next lesson in your geography curriculum takes you on a tour of Canada. After spending a wonderful day of learning all about the climate, the lesson plan leads you on a trip down a stream in British Colombia, where you discover the architect of the animal world, the beaver. Suddenly your child is obsessed with beavers. He wants to find books at the library, watch videos, draw and paint beavers, and spends much of the day building beaver dams and lodges out of Lincoln logs. At lunchtime, you find him gnawing a raw carrot the way a beaver would gnaw a tree trunk.
The next day, when you are ready to move on to the next country, your curious and creative child just wants more time learning about beavers.
What’s a devoted homeschooling mom to do?
You could just tell him how sorry you are that there is no more time for learning about beavers because South America is next on the lesson plan. Or, you could put the lesson plan away for a few days and enjoy the delight your child has found in this interesting creature.
The above is a true account from our own homeschool. In this case, we moved on to the next thing on the lesson plan, but when it happened again a few weeks later (this time with Mexico and butterflies), I took notice. In fact, after we finished our intense study of the Monarch butterfly, we went back to Canada and the beaver.
Our homeschool has never been the same.
Perhaps you can relate. You might be the homeschool mom who just moved on. Or maybe you are the one who stopped and relished in your child’s curiosity for a day or two (or ten). There is not a thing wrong with either option, but today, and for the next few months, I want to take some time to help you see the possibilities of adding delight-directed learning to any homeschool. To YOUR homeschool.
This 5-part series will give you some simple tools and methods of observation you can use to just let loose and allow the interests and passions of your children to dictate what they learn, for that is the basic definition of delight-directed learning. It may be something you will completely fall in love with and want to do all the time (that is exactly what happened to us), or perhaps you will be able to find one day a week (or month) to devote to delight-directed learning. I believe you will enjoy it, and I know your kids will.
This first method I want to share this month is simple — just talk to your kids.
Or maybe just pay attention to what they talk about most. What piques their curiosity? If your children speak endlessly about whales or Ben Franklin or knights or princesses, begin there. There really are very few topics that cannot be developed into an educational experience. We often take these topics and create unit studies.
A unit study can last for a week, a month, or even a year. You are in control of how long you spend on a topic. This is a great way to homeschool all the time, but if you’re not comfortable doing that, use this method for a nice break now and then when you are following the lead of your student, or for a summer study.
That should get you started. No fear, mommas! Don’t be afraid to put away the lesson plan and follow the lead of your students. Even if for just one day. You may surprise yourself and forget to bring it out again!
What do you think? Will you give it a try? Have you already?
Join me again next month when I’ll share another easy to way to integrate delight-directed learning into ANY homeschool.