Monday, April 29, 2013

Delight Directed Learning: Guide Your Homeschooler Toward Passionate Learning

I go back and forth on reading homeschool development books.  There are a lot of great ideas out there that have worked for different people, but I've learned that I need to spend time just focused on my own two girls and what is best for them.  Sometimes all this information clouds my view and makes me think we should be doing or being something we are not.

That said, I've been observing my girls and how they spend their un-structured time.  Piper likes to make and edit videos and write scripts and stories.  Allie spends hours reading about animals and is an excellent caretaker of her small pets and is about to embark on breeding gerbils.  A year ago, Piper was making American Girl furniture and Allie was sewing handbags.  It's important that they have this time to explore their interests.  I have realized that this exploration leads to knowledge that they retain, are passionate about and enjoy discussing.  I want to encourage more of that.  I firmly believe that through this exploration and discovery, my girls will realize their life calling.
Photo credit

So, when Mary mentioned Delight-Directed Learning: Guide Your Homeschooler Toward Passionate Learning by Lee Binz, I decided to check it out.

Lee is very helpful in creating high school transcripts for college admissions.  In Delight-Directed Learning, Lee outlines how to add delight-directed pursuits to a transcript.  In some ways, this made me feel even more strongly that we want to spend this next year (before high school) pursuing more interest-led, delight-directed learning.

Some other ideas I liked:

  • Grade the experience--Even if it is not something "assigned", how do you feel your child did?  Did they meet your expectations?  How can you talk to them if they did not meet your expectations without taking the delight out of the experience?  This is something I struggle with.  I want to support my girls' interests, but sometimes I feel they don't put their all into something or they could make something better.  I need to work on dialogue for this.
  • Don't praise for mediocre performance or for "just trying", if everyone is special, then no one is and hard work no longer matters - this is another area I struggle with.  I love my girls and I always want to make them feel good, but I may be doing them a dis-service by not making them try harder.
  • The authors warn about "testing" delight-directed learning, anything that takes some delight out of it slows the student down.
  • The authors have tips for keeping your sanity when driving your kids to all their activities and forking over the big bucks to support their interests--such as, don't teach things your kids are already learning through delight directed learning.  If they are reading science books, don't worry about science.  If they are always writing, you don't have to worry about spending time teaching creative writing.