I am a Type A personality with a love for all things books and planning. I began my homeschooling career with a planner and loads of books and ideas. This approach worked well for me with Promethius because he happened to inherit my love for books and my visual learning style. I just taught him the way I loved to learn and he just “got it”. Along came Archimedes and I knew I had met my match. The phrase, “no two kids are alike” took on a new meaning for me. He balked and whined and resisted all attempts at learning to read. When I would bring out blocks or cars, or anything that could be manipulated, he would come alive. He loves math and anything that is precise and has rules or fixed parameters. I haven’t quite figured out Sweetums Peetums yet since she is only 35 months old. I am going to guess that she is going to fall somewhere between the boys.
So as I considered today’s topic of delight-directed teaching, I looked at how I approach school curriculum planning. I usually start my annual homeschool evaluation and curriculum planning for our new school year around February each year. We start our new school year in July or August. We attend homeschool conferences in May each year and that is when I set my deadline for getting my plan made. Then I can research and buy any last-minute items at the conference and I have the summer to relax and unwind, knowing all the curriculum decisions have already been made.
When I sit down to evaluate my year I look at what has worked and what needs to be tweaked for the new school year. I invite my boys to share what they liked and disliked about their curriculum this year. I also ask for their input on what they would like to focus on during the next school year. Here is what they had to say recently.
Promethius had this to say:
“I really liked everything this year, especially history (we used Sonlight Core D this year) but I want to study more about animals next year.”
Archimedes had this to say:
“My favorite thing about school this year was doing preschool with Lydia.”
Sweetums Peetums had this to say:
“I like to count, to draw and to dance”
So how can I turn all of this information I have learned about my kids into a custom fit curriculum for next year? There are certain subjects that must be covered whether they like them or not, but I want them to invest in their studies because they love to learn. I have never really considered the delight-directed homeschool method until recently. I have asked my kids for input on their studies for the last couple of years so I guess I have been unknowingly incorporating some of the ideas into my plan.
For Promethius, I plan to add an animal unit study once a quarter for the upcoming school year. I am going to encourage him to keep an animal notebook to keep all his drawings, research and pictures in one place and I might even teach him some of the tricks I am learning in Adobe Photoshop Elements© to help him make an animal photobook.
For Archimedes, the new school year will include lots of time for him to help Sweetums Peetums learn her letters. He has really taken off in his reading skills this year and the phonics practice will be good for him. Teaching what you know to others help cement the knowledge in your brain. I am planning to include more time for creative play with blocks, legos and manipulatives for his as well.
For Sweetums Peetums, we will continue to use the Flowering Baby curriculum, TouchMath© PreK program and include lots of time to read, learn with her brothers, dance and play.
For me, delight directed studies means allowing wiggle room in “my school plan” for my kids to pursue their passions. Whether it is making time for Lego Club online, taking the time to research what type of bird the cat drug in or letting the kids build a domino run with HWT wooden pieces. If we take the time to see what makes our kids tick, allow them free time to pursue it and give them a stimulating environment, we will provide a rich seed bed for learning.
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I would love to hear your comments and suggestions!