Monday, March 11, 2013

What is Delight Directed Learning?

The Delight Directed Learning approach is something I've heard a lot about lately  but I did not know exactly what it was.  I thought that I would do some research, unpack it a little bit and brainstorm how it might look in our homeschool.


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 Interests

Little 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 Parents

Where 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.

This post is a part of 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Blog Hop.  Check out other's posts on Delight Directed Teaching by clicking on Blog Hop Linky at the bottom of this post. You can click over to the TOS Review Crew Blog to find out more.  Don't forget to enter to win one of three great homeschool prize packages in the Teaching Creatively Giveaway


  1. "it would be refreshing to be around a student ... who is exalting in satisfying her curiousity".

    Now doesn't that just say it all? :)

    Annette @ A Net In Time

  2. I am glad both my girls were exposed to a developmental preschool and Kindergarten rather than one bogged down by academics, workbook pages, and the like.

    Because I've had two go through those two programs, I have seen how the teachers restructure the day based on the children (especially the Kindergarten teacher). This is not easy for the teachers, but it has made a huge difference in how my girls view school.

    I wish I could say this about other teachers at the school.

  3. Hi Holly, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris


I love comments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!