According to Mirrium-Webster delight is a high degree of gratification, joy, extreme satisfaction, something that gives great pleasure. Delight Directed Learning is by definition, learning that is directed by those things that delight, bring satisfaction, joy and gratification. In short, those things that interest a child.
Led by the Child's InterestsLittle kids learn all the time, more important little kids want to learn all the time. Go to a park or a pre-school classroom. You will see children exploring things that delight them. A little boy playing with the blocks. What kind of tower can he build? Will this combination of blocks work to keep the tower standing or will it fall down? Can we put cars on the tower? Can we build a racetrack for the cars? And so it goes down one path of inquiry up another path of interest.
Curiosity is an integral part of who we are as human beings. Delight Directed Learning takes that innate curiosity and turns it into a motivation. It asks the child "what do you want to learn about today?" What a powerful question.
Facilitated by the ParentsWhere do parents fit into this idea? Parents do not just sit on the sidelines with Delight Directed Learning. Parents are just as much students as the children are, but instead of learning about history or math parents are learning about their own children. What a profound privilege. Parents need to figure out what genuinely interests their child, support them as they journey down the road of learning, and understand when the end of that particular trail has been reached.
First, parents provide curiosity cultivation: read books, go on an adventure, visit a museum, provide a bin of interesting stuff to wonder about, plant something, and the list goes on and on. Then a parent provides the curious child a bit of structure, ways to explore the topic at hand, books to research a project, a lapbook to complete, a dinner, or a field trip. Each topic is a different adventure. Last the parent needs to know when enough is enough, when interest in a topic is waning, this could be a hour, a day, a week or a month.
What would this look like in our homeschool?
I've been in this classroom a hundred times: Students sitting at desks or tables, slouched down, arms crossed, eyes roll back as I explain the day's plan. "Mrs. Oshesky, do we have to do this. School is so boring." Those student's curiosity has be squashed like bug under a semi-truck's tire. Zippy was heading in that direction and twice as hard because sitting and being in a room with a whole lot of distractions is difficult for her. School wasn't interesting, it was endured.
Delight Directed Learning could be a fun adventure. Zippy's curiosity has already been revived somewhat with our reviews for the Review Crew. Whenever I have the opportunity I almost always ask Zippy if this would be something she would be interested in. Those things she really liked, she wanted to work on more than the actual "school time". Like the time when we went out and she wanted to take along her Apologia book, because she just had to know all about dolphins.
When I decided to write this post I flat out asked Zippy "Would you like to try learning about something you are interested in or curious about." Her eyes twinkled when she said yes. But then she said, "Mom, what kind of things would that be?" It would be so fun to have her think independently, learn how to research, find things out that she wants to know. It would be refreshing to be around a student who is not enduring her education but exalting in satisfying her curiosity.