Sunday, March 10, 2013

Delight Directed Learning- 5 Days of Teaching Creatively

I cut my educational teeth on the likes of John Holt, who led me on a fascinating bunny trail via Summerhill, Grace Llewellyn and all of the back issues of Growing Without Schooling. Oh yeah, and irl friends, Carolyn and Martin Forte. Carolyn is a former school teacher who turned traditional education on its head in order to teach her dd with severe LD's. And then there were the Moore's- Raymond and Dorothy, whom I met and listened to at a church in Southern California, thanks to a call from Carolyn, devouring every word they spoke and wrote.
At this point, I don't consider myself an unschooler, or our homeschool "delight directed" (unless you count heavy doses of academics delight directed, which actually, Flower might...I have years of experience, and thousands of pages of reading under my belt to support why we aren't, but that's  a whole different discussion), but some things just become ingrained as a way of life. Giving my kids privacy and free time (which is loosely defined as not sitting slack-jawed and slug like in front of electronic equipment) is a hallmark of my children's childhood and teen years. And that leads me to Delight Directed Learning in our home. Which often takes place after the academics and daily chores.

It's looked different during each season of our 20+years of home educating and has included horseback riding, piano and voice lessons, ASL, visits to museums, national parks and historical re-enactments as we unearthed information about cetaceans, horses, pioneers and people, traveling across the country and even out of it, acquiring animals, growing things, reading tons, campaigning, participating in clubs and groups, checking out astronomical wonders, traveling to see the Dead Sea Scrolls or to take a writing workshop with a famous author, internships, jobs and so much more.
 Because, truthfully, Dr. Dh and I have used homeschooling as an excuse to follow our own delight directed bunny trails and that, plus 5 kids has equaled a lot of curiosity. We are down to 3 kids at home (more's the pity), ages 18, 13 and 10, with incredibly different temperaments, abilities and interests. Delight to one means torture to another. That being said, here's what delight has directed them to do this year:

Feeche, age 18,  took a couple of trips to Georgia (which he worked p.t. in order to pay for)  to participate in the Timothy Group Challenge program- first as a participant, then as a staff member. The program is an intense apologetics, leadership and physical fitness program. Booyah, baby. (That's him above, Doing the Aussie, during training).
The Modern Scholar: Wars That Made the Western World: The Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War

He is also listening to The Peloponnesian Wars on CD. He's a history lover to the core of his being and will pause his own studies to come and listen to me read The Famous Men of... to the youngers. Interrupting me, I might add, to add in information about people, places and geography. Which I love.
He spends hours a week writing fiction. Hours. And it's good.
And studying the map. This son carried around the Risk board as a pre-schooler and a globe until it was lost in the fire. Literally- for easy reference.  He still spends time almost daily checking out the world map and frequently consults it as he reads and studies. I'm always asking him, "Now, where is Timbuktu again?"
And this summer he'll participate, once again, in Shakespeare Camp. Delight all the way, baby; 6 days, 6 hours a day. Total love.

Cub, age 13,  spends hours honing his figure drawing technique. Mainly to draw cartoons or bionicles, which is not my personal first love. But then, I'm not a 13 year old male. Thank the good Lord.
But, he can draw a human figure with increasing accuracy and arteest that I am, this makes me happy. Check out that perspective on the front left foot! He has a couple of mannequins and moi to help and encourage him.  He also reads science and history for fun. Lots and lots of it.
He's a thespian as well and will get to participate in both drama camp and Shakespeare Camp this year. First year for Shakespeare Camp..he's hit the big league- but he's an old pro at Drama Camp and he loves every minute of it.

Flower, age 10,  also spends hours drawing and creating on her own. She carries around the Draw Right Now books and usually has 1-4 drawings going on at a time (sadly, my phone photos don't do justice to her artwork- above and below). She also creates dioramas, and "houses" for her many toy-ishs that permeate her room. And she makes it to open studio at Ms. Z's clay studio every week!  She's a reader too, and hauls tons of books home from the library a couple times a week, often picked by author or for it's artwork.
Theology is an odd subject to add to our list but Biblical studies, theology and living a life of faith often come up in our home as we listen to the news, talk politics and interact with each other. The kids can often be found in the evening sitting on our bed, reading the Bible and discussing it with Dad. It's nothing planned, other than that's what Dr. Dh does every single night - just a sort of comfortable get together to read and study and pray. And honestly, those sweet moments make my heart sing.
And literature. 'Cause you gotta breathe and read, right? But you already knew that ; ).

I've spent hours on this post when I really had planned to do something else. and here's why. Cause I started remembering and reminiscing with my husband and the trip we took and the time we went and do you remember and weren't the kids cute and ohmygosh how crazy is it that the ocean was a litmus test for each of the kids personalities and thank God for A.Barbara's at Thanksgiving and remember the writing workshop in El Paso and Feeche is so artistic like cuz Brian and the ocopii baby at Leo Carillo and how small the Mayflower was in real life (o.k. replicated life) and the lava beds in NM and those memories are sweeter than Georgian Tea, which is a whole lotta sweet. The past 3 years have knocked my socks off with how hard, difficult and punishing they've been. (Come back Thursday for "Homeschooling in a Crisis" if you want to know more). I've second guessed myself, belittled our choices, grieved the loss of the income I shouldda/couldda/wouldda been earning. But here's the deal. I've spent the majority of my adult life parenting and educating our kids. Some of that has been hard, some difficult and some frustrating. I'm not a perfect parent, a perfect educator, patient or long suffering about much of anything. But I am curious about the world, invested in my kids and believe that God provides in unique and often bizarre ways. And as I've reflected on how we've lived, the depth and variety and richness of experience we've afforded our kids, I stand amazed. Because we've been a 1-income, large family in a 2 income small family world. And that's pinched. Some days it's pinched real hard. We haven't always had a lot of extras- extra money, extra vacations, extra time, extra support. But we've had a whole lotta living- and we have given our children- our family- a legacy of unique, diverse, personalized, often delight directed learning and living. And that's worth a whole lotta whatever we haven't had

How do you apply Delight Directed learning in your home school ?

This post is part of a week of blog hopping hosted by The Schoolhouse Review Crew: 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Day One. Hop around and get more great delight directed inspiration!



annette @ A Net In Time said...

that was a good read, thanks for posting it. :)

I feel inspired all the more. :)

Tamara said...

By letting our 2 kids(Tyler 16 and Ali 15) explore their intrests and apply it to what they study. Tyler loves math, loves it. Loves computer science. He is currently a junior completeing Math-U-See Pre-Calculus, Notgrass Economics(which with other resources he made a full year), Khan Acdamy's Computer Science course and Apoligia's Exploring Creation With Physics CD course. By taking what he loves and applying it to classes he does not(like history and english)it makes everything more exciting. We take a different approch with Ali. She is extremely creative. She does World History part 2 with a co-op, High School Year 2 of Applied Grammer,Apoligia Chemeistry with co-op and Math-U-See Algebra 2 all while art journaling

K Quinn said...

LOL! I too rewrote my post several times as I started reminiscing. But I am only the mom of one and she is yet so young. Right now as I type this she is in a delight directed art class with her grandma (an art teacher).

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

What a lovely post, especially the end. Thanks for sharing, Lisa. said...

Annette- I love your comment! My kids are so much more linguistic than symbolic and it sounds like yours are the opposite : )

thanks for reading and commenting Hope, K Quinn, and Annette- its' so fun to read about how others are living out this homeschooled life!

Amy Maze said...

Your daughter's artwork is beautiful! Your son's is too...I guess =) I'm more into butterflies, though. I love all the great examples you gave of pursuing individual interests. I think the benefit of any method of homeschooling is that you have freedom to do just that. Thank you for sharing!

L said...

Just wanted to say: I love this post!
I am at a different place: only two children, at the beginning of our homeschool years, and not Christian; but reading about your journey was incredibly inspiring! I hope that I do as well as you in encouraging my kids to follow their interests and giving them the time and freedom to do so. Thanks for the inspiration.