A Day In Our Delight Directed Home
Like most of us, my day begins with the beeping of an alarm clock. Typically, it’s 8:30 A.M. and I still don’t want to get up, but I do. It usually takes me 10 minutes or so to get dressed and drag my sleepy behind into the living room where my youngest – the only early bird in the family – is sitting quietly snuggled in a blanket on the couch, playing with a Lego minifigure. I wander past him with a, “Good morning, Liam. Go eat breakfast.” As he heads toward the kitchen, I continue on to the big boys’ room and rouse them. After waiting to be sure the middle one actually gets out of bed, I head back to my own end of the house and get ready for the day. Emerging around 9:00 I find my three boys making their breakfasts and join them. Sometimes I cook egg sandwiches for us all, but most days we each fend for ourselves at this early hour. They chat and I check my social media accounts and to-do lists while we eat breakfast.
Around 9:30 I tell them to finish and clean up, and sometime before 10:00 we actually start our school work for the day. Most days. Some days the laundry is too backed up and the sink is overflowing with dishes. On those days chores come first, then school. On most days, though, we begin with Language Arts. My youngest is an emerging reader so most days I focus on early reader books and doing other phonics activities with him while his brothers complete independent Language Arts assignments. Other days my older two take turns as my primary focus while the youngest works with phonics and reading programs on a tablet.
Window markers make any math assignment more fun!
After Language Arts we move on to Math and again my primary focus is on my youngest unless the older two have questions. We usually finish Math sometime between 11:00 and 12:30 (depending on how early we started and whether anyone struggled with an assignment).
We eat lunch sometime around noon while listening the bible on Audible. After that things get less predictable.
My mad scientists love their experiments!
Our family uses a largely Delight Directed method of accomplishing education. On a day-to-day basis this means we don’t often do the same things and rarely know in advance exactly what we are going to do. We have written educational goals and know generally what we will learn each year and roughly how we plan to learn it. However, we do not strictly follow written lesson plans of the conventional sort. In addition to textbooks, we use every form of media, and dozens of local museums, historical sites, zoos, libraries, etc. to discover and explore new information and ideas. We then use everything from multimedia projects to notebooking to essays, as a means of processing, recording, and communicating that which we have learned.
Note the tripod on my back? Last year's science final project was creating their own Botany Documentary.
A great example of a typical afternoon for us is the day we bought souvenirs from the gift shop after a field trip. Instead of trinkets that would sit on a shelf gathering dust, my boys chose magnetic rocks, a slingshot, and a rubberband gun.
My youngest spent the first part of his afternoon practicing counting with his magnetic rocks, then he made predictions about what would stick to them and what wouldn’t before testing his theories. Later, he stuck the magnetic rocks to the metal panel on a baby swing at the park and pushed the swing while he and his brothers discussed how much force was required to dislodge the magnetic rocks from the swing, how far the rocks flew before hitting the ground, and how it all related to the Newton’s laws they had been studying in Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics.
My middle child experimented with shooting his rubberband gun at various angles to see how it affected the rubberband’s speed and distance traveled. He also experimented with targets of various weights and shooting from various distances to discover what combination was required to knock objects over. He later made notes on his observations.
My eldest experimented with shooting objects of various weights and sizes from his slingshot. He watched YouTube videos on aerodynamics and discussed how those ideas affected the results of his experiments.
None of this was planned in advance. Every bit of it evolved from the spontaneous purchases made in that gift shop. The activities were primarily organic ideas from my boys’ own minds, with a few nudges here and there from me, the teacher. All of it was learning which contributed to our overall educational goals for the year. This is how Delight Directed learning works in our home.
Another day of experiments at the park.
It’s difficult to say when our school day ends in this family as learning has become a way of life for us. Even our latest family “vacation” could have been accurately described as a nonstop series of educational field trips focused on the days of California’s Gold Rush. Typically, though, we consider our “formal” school hours complete sometime between 3:30 and 5:00 P.M. depending on when our enthusiasm wanes for the day. After that we do house chores, eat dinner, watch tv, read books, and go to sleep.