The new school year will officially be starting soon. As September approaches, I know many homeschoolers will be getting their lesson plans ready, but what about delight-directed homeschoolers? Is it even possible to plan in a delight-directed homeschool?
I think there is a lot of confusion between unschooling and delight-directed homeschooling, so I want to take a moment to share my thoughts about why these methods are different.
One of the things which I believe differentiates delight-directed homeschooling from unschooling is planning. Whereas unschooling desires to not look like a traditional school at all, delight-directed homeschooling can actually look very structured and use tools like in a traditional school, such as textbooks, worksheets, etc.
Unschooling looks to life and life experiences as schooling – learning through living life. Delight-directed homeschooling is schooling – but in a way that responds to the interests of our children.
In my state we have to create a home instruction plan at the beginning of the year and file quarterly reports, so it is necessary for me to have some type of plan in place for our school year. Honestly, I have never been great at sticking with a schedule and plan. This year I am going to be using a planner to help me focus on and reach our goals each quarter.
So how do you plan delight directed?
1. Use Materials Your Child Enjoys
Even the structured subjects like math and English can be taught in ways that engage our kids and increase their interest and delight in the subject. We’ve found a math program and reading curriculum that work for us which we will be using this year.
2. Select Topics Your Child Enjoys
Within the broad subjects of social studies and science, for example, there are bound to be several topics that your student naturally loves, finds interesting, and/or excels at. Start with these topics and use them to bridge to new material or material with which they may struggle. Sometimes connecting a new or difficult topic with one your child loves can create a natural curiosity or link that may help them to become engaged with the learning.
3. Schedule Time for Tangents
One of the downsides of a strict schedule is that it leaves little room to explore rabbit trails and go off on learning tangents that may naturally happen. Delight-directed learning begs for these new curiosities to be studied, so make sure to schedule time each day, week, or year to see where these trails lead. You might even consider year-round homeschooling which would allow you to take slightly longer breaks more often throughout the year and give you space to study these new items of interest!
4. Make It Work
Sometimes tangents and rabbit trails can lead to a topic you planned to cover at a different time in the year. If this happens, why wait? Take advantage of these opportunities through observation and record keeping to match the topics you want your child to learn with the ones they discover along the way!
Although planning and delight-directed homeschooling may sound incompatible at first, I think they can work very well together! Taking the time to plan and build delight into your school year can turn “schooling” into a lifelong love of learning.