Succeeding with Delight Directed Learning
Delight directed learning is one of the best ways to help your student learn about a subject, because
they are already motivated by their natural interest in the topic. Sometimes providing the opportunity
for them to explore their interests can lead to something that is scary, difficult, or expensive, which can
make delight-directed learning hard. For instance, if your child loves studying birds, you may need to
spend a lot of time tracking down an ornithology club, or you could wind up driving a hundred miles a
week so that you daughter can volunteer at a hospital as a candy striper, or your violin protege might
need the services of an expensive violin teacher.
When we homeschooled, our younger son’s delight centered on economics. We took him to hear
speakers, went to Hawaii so he could present a paper at a conference, and we went to a presentation so
he could hear a professor speak. As our son asked questions of the speaker at that presentation, the
president of the organization came up to my husband and said they wanted to offer our son a job as a
college level intern. That was scary, since our son was just fourteen years old, and we weren’t ready for
Be forewarned: with delight directed learning, a child may pursue their delight for hours and hours
every day, and there might not be any time left for other core courses! Sometimes they’ll need to put
their other school work first!
One way to overcome this possible distraction from core courses is to make sure your student studies
their weak areas first. Sometimes their weak area is a subject, such as math or science, and sometimes
it’s something else. Likewise, as a parent, you will probably have a weak area. When you identify your
weak area, that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach it, or that there’s something wrong with you.
Everybody has a weak area, and once you identify it, the best strategy is to put that area first. Put it first
in terms of money: it’s the first thing that you buy curriculum for, and it’s the one area where you are
willing to purchase a different curriculum if the first one doesn’t work. Put it first in terms of time: it’s
the first thing that you do all the time, and it’s the first thing that your child does in the morning. Make
this area the first priority in terms of everything else, so that your student will succeed in this area.
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