Using the Delights of My Children to Teach Creatively

This week, instead of a one day blog cruise, the Schoolhouse Review Crew begins a 5 Day Blog Hop: 5 Days of Teaching Creatively.  Each day the Crew Bloggers will explore a different aspect of Teaching Creatively. Today’s topic is Delight Directed Teaching.

“Delight Directed Learning.” is a term that I’ve seen around in home education circles. I don’t know what the official meaning of that phrase is nor do I know what others mean when they use it but I want to share what it means to me and how I use the “delights” of my children to choose curriculum or to teach concepts that I want them to learn.

A term that I’ve heard in the past that more accurately describes our homeschool might be “parent-directed; student led” learning.  My husband and I have certain requirements for our homeschool.  One them is literature study.  I want each of my daughters to know how to read literature critically and be able to respond to literature.  How does that look when you apply delight-directed or student-led principles?  It means finding books that my daughters want to read.  Books that they are excited about reading and finding a way to use them to teach literary analysis.

It hasn’t been difficult to do this with BooBear.  She loves writing papers about books.   Turtlegirl loves to read and has willingly used studies from Excellence in Literature.  But Tailorbear?  Oh my.  She doesn’t mind reading as long as she chooses the book.  Yes, she will read the books I require.  (Sonlight has such wonderful book titles that though she protests, she usually ends up liking the book!) but getting her to do a literature study?  I have to get creative.  If I don’t, she won’t learn the skills I want her to have (that’s the parent directed bit!).

I am so excited because we’re going to do a literature study of The Hobbit.  I don’t have to be creative and come up with the study (thanks to Progeny Press and the Schoolhouse Review Crew) but this is a book she loves.  It’s a book she has already read.  She’s even seen the movie.  This is a book a she can get excited about. 

But what about the general principles of literature analysis?  I require more than just one book study.   There are a few book series that my daughter has read over and over again.  She loves them.  She talks about them.  I’ve decided (there it is again the parent-directed part!) to use a particular series of books and we’re going to spend time working through the concepts presented in Teaching The Classics and applying those to each book.  I’m excited about this.  I’ve read the whole series of books and I am looking forward to teaching my daughter that literature discussions that happen to analyze plot and theme and characters can be fun and stimulating!

Centering literary study on a particular book series is only one way to use a child’s interests or delights to teach creatively.  This can be used to teach other skills and subjects as well.  BooBear absolutely loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  We learned so much about American History by using Laura’s books as a stepping stone. 

Though this is less about ‘teaching creatively” and more about using the interests of the child, I have tailored each daughters' course of study to their individual talents, interests and needs. Boobear loves music.  She intends to pursue a music degree at the university near us.  She needed to work on composition skills.  She needed another elective on her transcript and we both felt something music related would be to her advantage.  She did a music history/appreciation course where she studied individual composers within certain movements and wrote papers about the music, the instrument, and especially about the composers. 

Using the student’s “delights” does not mean that the student determines which skills are necessary, it means that a home school mom gets creative to encourage her student to meet the parent set requirements.


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