Monday 11 March 2013

Day 1 - Delight Directed Instruction

I have spent a delightful few weeks exploring the wide scope and vision of delight directed education.  I do confess that in times past I have shied away from the idea as I had connected delight directed learning with doing absolutely nothing and allowing the child to explore and teach themselves.  I have since come to realize that this is a far cry from the reality of allowing your student to explore the world around them with you facilitating and enriching the experience.

I have been homeschooling for over 15 years and to be honest I have been experiencing a deep dissatisfaction with our journey over the last few months which in turn has found me in an almost paralyzed state as a home school mom wondering what on earth to do.  I have come to realize that I have fallen prey to  the slavery of checking every box on my home school instructors guide in order to have a tangible indication that Sir N has learned something.   Even Sir N has been bitterly complaining that he hates school.  Each time I say it's time to do school he pitches a tantrum. . . Enough! It's time for change and I think that we will be incorporating more Delight Directed studying around here.

What is it ?
  • Delight - a high degree of gratification, joy, extreme satisfaction, something that gives pleasure. Delight is a more permanent pleasure than joy, and not dependent on sudden excitement.
  • Directed - means Aimed; pointed; guided; regulated; governed; ordered; instructed
  • Education - Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations 

Delight Directed teaching / study is not about a home school method or formula it's about feeding the heart and mind of your student. It's about lighting a spark and flaming it in the mind and heart of your student towards what ever it is that you are learning about together.

I am inspired by what Greg Harris has written on delight directed education:  "A delight-directed study is like a wonderful fire in the mind of a student. It starts small, but as it grows, it begins to consume vast amounts of information until it bursts into a roaring blaze of insight, understanding and creativity. It takes on a life of its own." - Greg Harris

We need to remember that as parents we are the ones with life experience and still need to direct (point/guide) our students learning and this in turn means opening up new avenues for students to explore and enjoy.

How does this work ?
I have learned that it's about listening to your child's heart, it's all about connecting and expanding upon the platform that you are currently laying in what ever field you are exploring.  It's about answering the burning question upon your child's heart.

Greg Harris
 "Delight-directed study is child-responsive, but still parent-supervised. Delight-directed study strategies are more responsive to the interest of the student, without being indulgent. Rather than allow the student to study whatever he sees fit, however he sees fit, delight-directed study urges parents to guide their child’s studies and establish clear accountability for his work." Greg Harris

For me it's about finding a balance between needing to have some structure but also feeding his current interest. It means taking the time to answer his questions and following the rabbit trail and learning via the scenic route. At the same time it's about not getting so far off the beaten track that we can never return. It's about making use of our environment and creating the science of relations that help my student to connect the dots and see that the whole world moves in concert and that there is not a single thing that happens in isolation.

At times we are able to go straight away and answer the question at hand due to it's relevance at time of asking and at other times we might need to write it down in order to explore the topic at a more relevant time. For this we have created a book to jot down questions and have found that this relieves Sir N's pressing need to know now before we forget. If we do not have the book my smart phone serves as a note keeper.

Delight Directed learning. . .
  • Means structuring learning around your child's interest and delight.
  • Flourishes in a flexible routine and is happy to take the scenic route in learning.
  • Means getting to know your child and what makes them come alive.
  • Starts with knowing what your child's particular learning style is and using this to encourage learning.
  • Starts with and fosters delight.
  • Is parent supervised and supported
  • Using a web approach to cover subjects rather than seeing individual subjects its taking one topic and covering a multiple of disciplines
  • Takes into account the interests and curiosities your child holds.
  • Is compatible with all home school methods and approaches.
  • Means using all your senses when learning. It entails cooking new foods, reading living books, exploring the library looking for books to find out more, building something, writing / sharing about your discovery.
  • Uses the environment (library, zoo, museum, field trips) to enhance and encourage learning via building relationships with the subject matter at hand.
  • Is not tied to an instructor guide to the exclusion of all other learning.

Elsewhere on the web
There are many who have shared their wisdom on the www here are a few articles to enrich your understanding of Delight Directed Learning.
I have learned that as a home school mom I need to take note that "We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

How do you apply Delight Directed learning in your home school ?


This post is part of a week of blog hopping hosted by The Schoolhouse Review Crew: 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Day One

5 Days of Teaching Creatively

Day 2
  1. Delight Directed Instruction
  2. Schooling in the Kitchen
  3. Toy's, Games & Puzzles
  4. Homeschooling in a Crisis
  5. Hands on Projects
Don't forget to enter the Teaching Creatively Giveaway.  Pop on over to Ben and Me to enter in order to win one of three prize packs. (1st prize $525 value, 2nd prize $225 value and 3rd prize $190 value)

**Images from Free Digital Photo's:Magnifying glass Image  Courtesy of Stuart Miles Black Board Image courtesy of Nuttakit

Here are some more posts by home school moms with ideas about Delight Directed Teaching


  1. Excellent post, Chareern! Great list of resources! We heard Greg Harris speak about 18 years ago- I remember parts of what he said even now.

    1. Thank you :) I watch a VHS video seminaar when I first started homeschooling by him and was really encouraged

  2. You sound enthusiastic, Chareen - it's very inspiring to read your thoughts and ideas.

    I don't know much about Delight Directed Learning but it seems quite a lot like our homeschool. Thank you for all the links - I'm going to enjoy browsing them all!

    God bless, Chareen:-)

    1. I didn't know much either Vicky until I started researching for this post. Blessings

  3. Gregg Harris was the first home school author I read....way back when! I tried to use this approach in pre and early years. As the children got older I guess I got more reliant on structure and curriculum. Now in my 21st year of home schooling I love to read of other's enthusiasm as I have days when I am ALMOST over it :-) Loved your post and information.

    1. Hello Ruby. It's been a while since we chatted. Hope you are well. Yes I have days when I'm over it too then I go to bed early and recharge or take a week off :)

  4. good post to read, helps people to really understand delight directed learning. :)

    Annette @ A Net In Time

  5. Great write up, Chareen. :)
    I agree that there has to be a jolly good dose of Delight Directed Learning (I love that label!) Children won't really want to learn unless they're really engaged, just like my piano students won't really want to learn their piece if they don't like it. Give them something that they like the sound of, and they don't mind the hard work quite so much. :)

  6. Wonderful job explaining delight directed learning. Thank you for sharing all of the links.

    Warm Blessings,

  7. What a great post! Thanks for all of the great resources.

  8. I'm in the same boat as you! Something needs to change around here and after doing some research on Delight-Directed learning for my post, I'm ready to incorporate this teaching/learning method into our homeschool more. It just makes sense!!

    1. I agree Sarah and it is slowly changing :)

  9. thank you so much for the mention! :) i hope you find your way back to loving learning again!

    1. You are welcome :) It's slowly taking a turn and improving

  10. Great information Chareen! I pray your family is blessed through this new approach! (PS: I'm now following you on pinterest!) <3

    1. Thank you :) and welcome to my boards :)

  11. Great post. I like all the informational links. Let us know how your foray into the delightful land goes. I try to incorporate it into each subject we learn but mostly with the arts.

  12. Great post! I like your informational links. I hope your foray into delightful land works for you. We try to incorporate some delight into most subjects but especially science, life skills and math.

  13. So many great resources here. I am a huge proponent of Delight Directed Learning - I never realized that is what we did until I saw an article about it somewhere :-)

    I am thankful for you.

    1. Thank you Mary :) it's new to me although if truth be told I knew it needed to be that way all along but somehow fear always froze me from trying it out . . .


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