Welcome to day one of the Teaching Creatively blog hop with the Schoolhouse Review Crew! Homeschooling allows us freedom to teach our children in ways different from a brick and mortar school and customize for their learning styles. Today’s focus is on delight directed learning, something that I am not always good at fully implementing.
What is Delight Directed Learning?
For me, this style of education looks at what the student has for interests and then you tailor the learning to it. Some might say it leans towards a method of homeschooling known as unschooling. And, I’ll admit that I’m a unschooler wanna be some days who still feels like I need more structure than unschooling might provide.
The advantage for this approach is to have the child take more ownership of their studies. If they helped select it and plan the approach, they are more likely to spend time learning. I see this in reading all the time. My boys are voracious readers. However, when I pick a book that doesn’t excite them and call it school, it could take them weeks to finish reading it. (We had this happen with Johnny Tremain this fall. I ended up renting the Disney movie for them to watch and put the book back on the shelf.)
How do you implement Delight Directed Learning?
I’d say the sky is the limit when trying to incorporate this approach to your homeschool. Of course, the starting place is to evaluate what your child (or children) have as interests and talents. Then you can evaluate what resources you already have on hand and what your budget is for acquiring materials, lessons, or field trips that fit with the chosen pursuit.
To some degree, delight-directed learning could start looking a bit like a unit study. Say my sons want to delve deep into the Middle Ages (which is quite possible as they love that time period.) We might find some historical novels that bring the time period to life as well as some non-fiction books on life in the middle ages. Often times, I will find books in the cooking section of the kids area in the library that allow for sampling the foods prevalent at the time.
Knights are a HUGE love from that time period. Constructing swords and shields would build on that particular topic while providing some hands on science (with regard to designs) and art (for how they decorate the shield) and even physical education as they engage in sword play.
When we lived in Ohio, one local homeschooler spent an entire school year digging deep into the Middle Ages. The boys were so awed by his homemade battle swords that they made their own with their father’s help (PVC pipe and insulation covering.) When we studied that time period in a co-operative setting, the older kids built miniature catapults / trebuchets that gave engineering experience with hours of enjoyment later on at home.
My boys go through spurts where they want to get outside and explore the world around us. Hiking up the mountain or biking a trail at a nearby state park provide physical education. If dad’s along for the adventure, we often incorporate a fair bit of biology as he points out signs of animal life or different flora we encounter. If the boys carried a sketch book with them, the excursions could allow for art and writing to be part of the experience. Instead of a sketch book, we do often bring at least one camera to capture images we find along the way.
Do you ever incorporate delight-directed learning in your homeschool?
What types of things do your children do to dig deep and learn on those topics that interest them?