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Delight Directed Homeschooling

Updated on June 30, 2015

Letting the Child Set the Pace

After you decide to homeschool your child, your next big decision is the style of education that you want your homeschool to take. Delight directed is a gentle style of home education that allows the child's natural interests to guide the learning rather than a purchased or prescribed curriculum dictating the pace and activities.

Delight directed not only starts with delight, it also fosters delight because the learning is based on a child's natural curiosity.

intro photo credit

Delight means

a high degree of gratification


extreme satisfaction

something that gives great pleasure

Do these phrases describe your children's opinion of homeschool?

The Face of Delight

The Face of Delight
The Face of Delight

Characteristics of a Delight Directed Education

Delight directed learning is not as popular as some of the more well-known homeschool styles such as textbook approach, Charlotte Mason, or classical. But this relaxed and natural approach to learning is gaining momentum as the unschooling pendulum swings back to slightly more structure and parental involvement.

Although hard to define, a delight directed home education has these basic qualities:

  1. Child initiated, directed, and led

  2. Parent supervised and supported

  3. Encourages "rabbit trails" and tangents of exploration

  4. Led by interests rather than a schedule. When interest wanes, move on.

  5. Academic disciplines are naturally integrated rather than segmented

  6. Encourages hobbies, passions, and personal pursuits

  7. Spontaneous and unplanned

How to Get Started with Delight Directed Education

1. Get feedback from your child.

Ask, "What do you want to learn about?" or "What are you curious about?"

Note your child's interests, and then offer him the resources he needs to learn -- books (take him to the library), unit studies, websites, camps, classes, activity kits, field trips, experts. Let him dig for the information rather than hand it over to him. Teach him how to learn, how to research, how to find answers to his questions, but don't give him the answers to his questions directly. Serve as a facilitator rather than a teacher.

Children Delighted by a Book
Children Delighted by a Book

2. Encourage and model an environment of learning.

Your home should reflect a lifestyle of delight in learning. You should be surrounded with books, periodicals, music, art.

Take frequent trips to historical, scientific, and artistic events.

Have very select or no television and video games.

Invest in creative toys that allow for expression (rather than electronic toys).

3. Document your child's learning explorations.

This is an optional step, but can be useful not only for state requirements but also for your own encouragement. When others criticize your homeschool methods, you will have clear records about what your child is learning.

The Danger of No Delight

In education, the opposite of delight is not hate but boredom.

The Unschooling Approach

Some people claim that delight directed schooling is a type of unschooling. Others claim that the two styles are totally different. I do find similarities between the styles. Unschooling is more extreme in some areas.


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