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Today I have the next post in my Summer Homeschool Methods guest post series. This post is on delight-directed homeschooling from Sarah at Heart and Soul Homeschooling. You’re going to love what she has to say! I have been having so much fun reading these guest posts and am learning so much myself! I hope you are finding what you need as well.
When I first heard the term delight-directed homeschooling, I was intrigued. The idea of learning being a delightful lifelong experience rather than a set list of boxes to check off a list, reflected what I wanted for my children. I had to know more about this delight-directed homeschooling method.
The more I delved into the topic, the more I realized that the lines were often blurred between unschooling, eclectic, relaxed, child-led, interest-led, and delight-directed. People often used the terms interchangeably. That’s understandable since they do have similarities in style and philosophy. I sometimes joke that if the Charlotte Mason method and unschooling had a baby, it would be delight-directed homeschooling.
The gist of delight-directed learning is to follow a child’s interests and natural talents and include those things in the educational process. Using tools like lapbooking, notebooking, living books, and unit studies, we include as many specific interests (or delights) as we can. It requires flexibility as interests and abilities can change frequently. It allows for following rabbit trails. It’s cross-curricular. It makes learning an adventure to be enjoyed rather than busywork to be dreaded.
After all of my research on homeschooling methods, I realized that I needed to define delight-directed learning in our own terms, according to our vision of individualized education for our children.
These are the tenets that have worked for us in ten years of homeschooling:
Delight-directed homeschooling is purposeful.
Our educational choices are guided by the natural talents and interests of our children. They have an input into that process, especially as they get older. My children know that they are learning for a reason, it’s not just something they have to do to get by. This also means the course of study through the years is tailored purposefully by what the child wants to do in life. It is focused on their areas of interest so they can be prepared for life — whether that means college, some type of certification, becoming an entrepreneur, stay-at-home mom, or any combination of those things. They are encouraged to become the person God created them to be and to recognize their individual calling without being forced to conform to arbitrary expectations.
Delight-directed homeschooling is whole child education.
We’re concerned with the development of the whole child, not just grades. While academics are important, we also believe that integrity, empathy, compassion, and other positive character traits are essential. Delight-directed learning allows for spiritual and emotional development as well as book knowledge.
Delight-directed homeschooling is creative and hands-on.
We want to learn in practice, not just theory. My daughters love hands-on projects and have plenty of free time to be creative and explore creative expression through writing, art, music, dance, science experiments, field trips, and other project-based learning.
Delight-directed homeschooling encourages questions and conversations.
Our delight-directed homeschool is literature-rich. Reading good books encourages critical thinking skills and imagination. This leads to great conversations in the family. Questions are welcomed as a chance to think through life issues on a deeper level together. We’re not just learning about the what and how of things, but the why behind them.
Delight-directed homeschooling is often guided independent study.
This becomes especially true in the older years of middle school and high school. My oldest daughter will be graduating this year and does most of her learning through reading good books and taking online courses in her special area of interest (web development and coding). We discuss her studies together, but she takes responsibility for getting the work done. It’s my job to provide the resources she needs and her job to use them wisely. It’s been a great privilege to watch her grow as a young adult who is very mature and knows what she wants to do with her future. This all began when she was six years old with encouraging her interests and talents.
Delight-directed Homeschooling Resources
There aren’t many resources that are specifically about delight-directed homeschooling. Most reference unschooling as the closest match to what we do. I always especially recommend the book Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson as a good starting point for the general philosophy behind delight-directed learning. I have compiled a list of my favorite resources here.
You can read more about what a day in the life looks like for us in this post.
I wrote an ebook, Quick Start Guide to Homeschooling Methods, about ten of the most popular homeschooling methods and included a chapter on delight-directed homeschooling. I also offer free printables to help you get started with delight-directed learning in your homeschool.
Delight-directed homeschooling can be used as your sole approach to learning or it can be used in combination with other methods. I’ve talked with other homeschool moms who like to use it for interest-led unit studies from time to time or a more relaxed pace during the summer months.
Whatever method you choose, I hope you find what works best for your family!
Sara is a homeschooling mom to three daughters from elementary to high school age. She has been blogging about their learning adventures since 2008 at Heart and Soul Homeschooling. Sara loves to encourage other homeschool moms through her ebooks, journals, workshops, and homeschool consulting services. You can also find her on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.