Monday, March 11, 2013

Discovering Delightful Learning

Today my post is part of a blog hop hosted by the Schoolhouse Review Crew: 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Day 1.

Delight directed learning is allowing your child to follow their natural interests to guide the learning.  As someone who finds follows many methods of Charlotte Mason I find this very similar to what she termed "masterly inactivity". Miss Mason did apply this term to more thing than just learning, but when applied to learning it looks a lot like delight directed learning.
In our home we use Ambleside Online with three kids schooling I have to right out a schedule. I will admit that I tend to be too rigid when it comes to following the schedule, but we do have times where we just take little rabbit trail and focus on another topic. Many times we don't have to  because one of the best things advocated by Charlotte Mason is using short lessons. Many times we can do our schedule work and still have time to pursue the topics that interest us.
So here are some things that have encouraged delightful leaning in our house.
Books!!! - You can't read this blog and not know the books are a big part of our house. We use our library very extensively. I also shop at Goodwill a lot for used books (which is Goodwill's redeeming value) and at Friend's of the Library bookstores. Plus, since I work for a Friends of Library organization and always have my eyes peeled for books on subjects that I know interest my kids.

Several years ago Caleb went through what I term his first World War II phase. I searched through online book lists trying to find fiction books that were set during this time period. He read books such as The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson, and so many more. On his second phase World War II phase he read more non-fiction books such as Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (Landmark) by Ted Lawson, books such as DK Eyewitness Books: World War II, and other information books. His next phase was all about airplanes and at one point I bought a book about airplanes for real cheap since the cover was coming off and I knew I could glue it back on. That was probably one of the best investments I ever made.

Birds is also another subject that is heavily pursued around here so I'm always keeping my eyes open for bird books and guides. Also, magazines can fall into this category and can be wonderful resources.

DVDs - As much as I love books, sometimes I can't convince my children otherwise. DVDs have come in handy for encouraging their delight in learning. DVDs are my sneaky way of whetting the appetite for learning.

When Caleb was learning about World War II we supplemented with so many different DVDs on this subject. Documentaries and major motion films. WWII: D-Day and the Providence of God  by Vision Forum and other films such as Tora! Tora! Tora! , Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, The Longest Day and so many more and whetted the appetite for learning.

Writing supplies - As much as I think notebooking or lapbooking is a real neat way to learn it just doesn't happen in our house. For some reason doing something like this just seems to suck the joy right out of learning. What I make sure is to provide spiral or composition notebooks, pencils, pens, markers, crayons, Prismacolor colored pencils, colored paper, a stapler, envelopes, tape, glue, or any other office supply that they think they might need. With their notebooks they add information either by hand or printing something from the internet. My daughter likes to add special touches to her notebooks by stapling little envelopes onto the pages or coloring a picture and gluing it inside. These are their own creations that they can make without mom having to check out.

The great thing about their notebooks are that they may sit for a time, but all of sudden they are brought back out and the next thing I know they are delving back into that topic.

And lastly--Let them be - Once you've hit on something they enjoy learning let them go for it. Give them what they need to get started and then back off! Be there if they need you for gentle guidance, but don't require anything from them. Let them take the responsibility for learning. It may not happen in the way we think it should, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the final results.

Remember the cheap airplane book I bought for Caleb? A couple of years ago we went to National Museum of the United States Air Force and Caleb went with his grandparents and proceeded to give them details on many of the planes to them. When my mom told me I was shocked. We had never studied them in school. Later I thought of that little book and his recent interest in World War II planes and had to smile, because I realized that unbeknownst to me he had experienced delightful learning.

What are some ways you have discovered delightful learning? Please share your ideas.
 photo abb6d216-109a-43b8-81e8-ba0cb240b9a3_zps421bcafc.jpg  
 Caleb enjoying his visit to the National Air Force Museum in July of 2009.
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