One of the most common questions I hear is, “What is delight-directed learning?” The simple answer to that question is “teaching your students according to their interests and passions.” But that answer always begs a few more questions. Over the next few weeks, I hope to answer many of those questions about the hows and whys of delight-directed learning. Today, we’ll begin with a bit of the why.
If you ask most homeschool moms what they hope to accomplish with their children, you’re sure to hear, “I want them to love learning,” somewhere near the top of the list. Where many get confused is in the how-to.
How to instill the love for learning.
How to fan the flames when you see a little spark.
How to keep them from getting bored.
How to get them excited about homeschooling.
I can tell you, from my personal homeschooling experience, how not to get them to fall in love with learning:
1. impersonal, boxed curriculum
2. strict schedules
3. uninteresting (read boring) subject matter
4. long, tedious lessons, sitting at a desk
5. not enough time to explore
I’ve shared before how Ben and I had struggled with homeschooling off and on the first few years of our homeschool journey. If we weren’t having fun, he was acting out. I blamed it on bad attitude, laziness, or hyperactivity on his part, or my own inability to find a curriculum that worked for his learning style.
But then one day, I had a revelation. It wasn’t about his attitude or activity level. It wasn’t even a character issue or my lack of meeting his learning style needs. It was boredom, plain and simple, boredom. It was like that philosophy class I had in college, that I had no interest in, but was required to take. Give me anatomy and I flourish. Give me philosophy and I fall asleep. Ben was falling asleep. He needed more anatomy!
From the very beginning of our homeschool journey, I was often swayed by beautiful catalogs, fancy websites, or passionate convention speakers, all touting the latest and greatest in homeschool curricula. I spent literally thousands of dollars on curriculum by the time Ben was in the 2nd grade. Even so, I often felt like if I didn’t try the latest and greatest new thing, I was somehow failing my child. In the end, it was because of my own insecurities that I was failing him, not because I didn’t purchase the right curriculum.
Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire. ~William Butler Yeats
I realized that by filling our bookshelves with expensive curriculum, I was attempting to fill Ben’s bucket. I should have been finding things that would light his fire.
Sometimes I did get a spark, but before it could really burn bright, I snuffed it out, time and time again. In the end, instead of helping him find delight, enjoyment, JOY in his learning, I was leading him down the road toward boredom, dread, and frustration, the exact opposite place we wanted to be.
I believe with all of my heart, that giving our children the tools to learn about those things in which they are most interested, passionate about, and bring them joy and delight, will also give them the tools to a lifelong love of learning. Over the past 5 or 6 years, I have seen it happen time and time again.
Are you wondering how to encourage a love for learning in your own children? Then you have come to the right place. For the next 30 days, I will be sharing ideas for how to do just that. Pulling from the experiences of several other homeschool families, as well as our own, you will find the encouragement and inspiration you need.
I hope you’ll join me on this amazing journey — 31 Days of Delight-directed Learning.