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We’ve all been there as homeschool moms — the shiny new curriculum that looked so great in the fall is suddenly lackluster after the holidays. One of our kids hates math, the other won’t sit still through the read-alouds. The kids are reluctant to “do school” and we just don’t have the energy to keep fighting it. We simply can’t find our homeschool groove. Sound familiar?
So what’s a homeschool mom to do when this happens and the days feel like an uphill battle?
Focus on delight.
I don’t mean just pie-in-the-sky let’s count our blessings kind of delight (which is good in its own way when necessary and appropriate), but delight-directed homeschooling. You might know it as interest-led learning, but I just love the sound of delight-directed so that’s what I call it.
Of course, I’m not the originator of delight-directed learning. I borrowed the concept from Charlotte Mason, who has influenced my educational philosophy in many ways.
Education is about more than just a collection of facts, it’s about becoming lifelong learners. It’s about finding the joy in learning new things, pursuing purpose, and igniting the imagination.Education is about more than just a collection of facts, it's about becoming lifelong learners. It's about finding the joy in learning new things, pursuing purpose, and igniting the imagination.Click To Tweet
You don’t have to throw your curriculum away, but maybe it’s time to try another approach — even if just for a short time of refreshment and renewal in your homeschool.
Two Easy Ways to Include Delight-Directed Learning in your Homeschool Starting Today
Try living books rather than textbooks, workbooks, or worksheets.
Living books are a way to not only educate, but to inspire new ideas and individual thoughts. They are typically written by someone who has firsthand experience with the subject or who is truly passionate about it. They provide more opportunities for curiosity. They bring not only the subject to life – but the people, issues, things, and times that the subject covers. Living books put you in the shoes of people. They encourage you to see, think, and feel as though you were in that world. In short, you LIVE the books that you read. ~ How to Homeschool with Living Books
Whether you use them as read-alouds for the whole family, individual reading selections, or even as audiobooks to listen to together, living books can spark a renewed eagerness to learn. Don’t be afraid to follow the rabbit trails they might lead to, either.
Choose a delight-directed unit study.
Sit down and talk with your kids about their interests. Just having the conversation can turn into a great discussion and teachable moment. There is bound to be something they’d like to learn about or that they have questions about. Use that as your jumping off point for a unit study.
For instance, we’ve done unit studies on horses, penguins, national landmarks, seashells, Amelia Earhart, Little House on the Prairie, Ireland, and many more. You can capitalize on the spark of interest to incorporate into all of the subjects you study.
We often include lapbooking and/or notebooking in our delight-directed unit studies. These are a great hands-on way for children to visually demonstrate what they’ve learned in a creative way. When kids are actively involved in their education, choosing topics of interest, they take greater responsibility for it as well. This is so important in creating independent thinkers who can develop the habit of reading and learning for themselves.
Delight-directed learning is a change of gears that can make all the difference over the long haul in your children’s education.
This is not a time to cut corners or give up too easily. The relationship you build with your children, the character you instill, and the purposeful way you guide them will last them a lifetime.
The idea of stepping away from pre-planned lessons with scope and sequence in favor of delight-directed learning might sound a little scary at first. It might even sound like more work in the beginning, but the effort is more than worthwhile. The difference in your child’s attitude toward learning will be a reward in itself.
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You can grab this free guide, Spark Joy and Ignite Imagination with Delight-Directed Learning, to help you gain the confidence and tools to try it today! It provides an overview of the what and why of delight-directed homeschooling and how it can work for you, along with some helpful resources to get started.
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Sara is a homeschooling mom of three daughters. She is an author, speaker, and blogger at Heart and Soul Homeschooling. You can connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and on her Amazon author page.