I have mentioned before that we take a natural learning approach to homeschooling our kids. Delight-directed learning is another term I like to use to describe what we do, and I’d like to share an example of the way this works in our family.
Late last year the ‘Octonauts‘ became a popular cartoon series on TV here in England. Although we don’t generally watch TV, we happened to stumble across this program and Prince instantly became hooked. For those who haven’t heard of it, the Octonauts is about a team of animals who go on missions under the ocean to help sea creatures who are in trouble. Having checked it out, my husband and I agreed the cartoon was fun and harmless, and so let him watch it whenever the opportunities arose. Quickly the Octonaut fever grew, and by the end of Christmas he and his sister were the lucky owners of almost all Octonaut gear available! It was then that I started to notice his increasing knowledge of sea creatures and the ocean.
By May this year Prince’s love for Octonauts had started to fade slightly, but replacing it was a deeper interest the real ocean and the creatures who live in it. For his birthday we decided to celebrate this with a trip the to the London Sealife Aquarium, which he LOVED! From then on his passion has grown and grown. As he showed greater interest, we helped him to learn more by providing him with books, documentaries, posters, field trips and other sources of information (some of these were free, others we spent money on).
Allowing Prince’s learning to be directed by his delight has had amazing results. In less than a year he has gone from knowing practically nothing about the ocean, to being an expert on sharks (most especially the great white, which he thinks is just beautiful) and knowing more about the ocean than anyone else I know (adults included).
- His reading has improved as he borrows, buys and reads every book he can on the topic.
- Similarly, his vocabulary has increased to include many specialist words he would not otherwise have come across.
- He is grasping mathematical concepts such as percentages, size and weight measurements.
- He has written and illustrated several books on the ocean and its creatures.
- He researches and draws anatomically correct pictures of varieties of different species.
Delight-directed learning really is a delight, and I am so thankful to God that we are able to pursue this style of home education!