For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Planning Series: Week 10 - Planning a Delight Directed Education

On our second to last week of the Summer Planning Series, Susan from Educating Today is delighted to share with you all how to plan a delight-directed education.

Oh, What a Delight  
5 Reasons Delight Directed Learning Helps Children to Focus

First, let’s start out by defining delight directed learning. (By the way, this is a great study skill to teach your kiddos.) Always know the definition of what you’re talking about, know what your terms mean, and make sure those you are talking to understand your meaning of the terms or ideas. Don’t take it for granted that they think the way you do.

Delight directed learning simply means, that as much as possible, your children’s education is built around their interests and delights rather than on generic textbooks, workbooks or a curriculum’s scope and sequence.

What delight directed learning is not:

  • Delight directed learning is not choosing a subject for your children and then letting them choose how they want to learn the subject by watching videos, doing workbooks, or assigning special readings for them to do.
  • It is not giving your child a choice of one or two courses from a certain curriculum you want them to use.

There are many reasons to center your children’s education around their interests and delights.

Today we’re going to talk about five of them.

1. Your children will focus on whatever they are interested in. Spend some time watching and observing what your children spend their free time doing. Do they have a special pet? Do they like to collect things? Do they like playing pretend adventures outdoors? What do they choose to read about?

Delight directed learning will also work great for junior high and high school students, too. Our family even did some delight directed studies together, but broke it up into different topics. We wanted to learn more about homesteading so one child chose to learn about our water supply by investigating water aquifers in the United States with a special concentration on Texas.

Our second child chose to study about animals on the homestead with a concentration on miniature cattle breeds.

My husband and I centered our study around gardening techniques, composting, double digging methods, and heirloom seed varieties.

About once a week we’d share our findings with each other which would spark other interests.
One son decided he’d like to learn about double digging gardening methods. Our other son said he wanted to learn more about animal shelters.

Other times, the children wanted to study a topic of their own. Some of their choices were learning about interesting and famous people (missionaries Jim Elliot and Nate Saint, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Goddard, Thomas Edison), model rocketry, rock collecting, knives, fishing equipment, survival skills, stamp collecting, etc. I bet you can tell by their topics of choice that we have sons. (Grin)

If your child can’t think of anything they would like to learn about, ask them to make a list of questions called “Things I Wonder About” or ask them to make a list of things they want to learn more about. If they’re not used to thinking about what they are really interested in learning about, it may take a little while for their curiosity to kick in.

2. Other subjects can be integrated into any delight directed study.
They will learn the vocabulary associated with their topic choice without you insisting that they have a vocabulary list.

They will learn the words, how to spell them, and what they mean just by reading, studying, building systems, designing display boards, and writing special reports to share with others. They will also learn the history, science, and geography related to their study, all because they need and want the information.

3. Delight directed learning will help them to focus on the details and at the same time, see the big scope of things.
Some children are great starters but they get stuck in the details so they have trouble following through. Other children can see the beginning and what they think the end will look like, but they have trouble breaking down the details.

By doing a delight directed learning project, they will be investigating something they really want to know about so they will want to know the details as well as following through as far as they want to go.

4. Your children can learn to use wonderful tools to document their learning which will also help to keep their attention.

There are so many tools available to help your children learn and organize their information. They can learn how to use PowerPoint to give presentations on what they’ve learned. They can write special reports, do audio reports, take pictures of their projects, plan their own notebooks, interview experts, or even write a Kindle book.

As they investigate their topic of interest, they will find other people who are also interested in the same topic. This is a great opportunity for learning how to interview experts by making an audio recording, a written report, or a blog post. For older students, they might start or join a local discussion group on their topic.

They also can develop a reading list of the title, author and date completed of books along with the documentaries/movies they want to see, a list of places they’d like to visit.

All of these tools help develop very useful learning objectives such as brainstorming, record keeping, list building, etc.

5. Delight directed learning will fuel your child’s passions and help them develop into life long learners.

That’s your goal, isn’t it. You want your children to be life long learners who love learning.

Some children will want to learn some information about a topic and then move on to another area of interest, and that’s okay. Some children will want to dig deeper and deeper into a topic and they won’t want to study anything else for a season, and that’s okay, too.

Your goal is NOT to teach them everything they will ever need to know by the time they graduate. Your goal is to teach them how to study, research, reason, and record what they’re learning and enjoy doing it. If they know how to study, then they can learn anything they want or need to and that’s a skill worth having.

So when you’re planning your lessons for the new school year, remember to include some curiosity time by letting your kiddos question and wonder about something they are really interested in.

Susan Mueller taught public and private school in her life before children and is a “veteran homeschool mom.” She and her husband homeschooled for more than 20 years from birth through graduation and have helped launch their children into adulthood and business.

Susan blogs at Educating Today where she offers encouragement and help to parents who want to instill in their children the Love of Learning for a lifetime. You can also find Susan on Facebook ( and Twitter ( .

In This Series:
Week 1: Who Plans Homeschool?
Week 2: Planning an Eclectic Homeschool School Year Type A Style
Week 3: Planned Unshooling . . . Why?
Week 4: Meal Planning Made Easy
Week 5: Managing Your Home When You Have an Irregular Schedule 
Week 6: Block Scheduling in Your Homeschool

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