One day a few weeks ago Simon started buzzing about Ancient Egypt — question after question. That afternoon I had him help me gather a pile of books (from our shelves) and we started our Ancient Egypt adventure. It continued over the next few days as we read through the stack. That was it. No crafts, no movies, no lapbook or outing to the museum's archaeology display. Just books.
Is That What a Delight Directed Study Looks Like?
Yes. And no.
It looks like taking a trip–grabbing a map, deciding on a route, and driving. Sometimes we take a left turn even though our original intentions were to go straight. Once in awhile we arrive at our destination, but other times we find an unexpected stop or a new landing-place. Sometimes there is no route; we just go. And sometimes we go by plane. Other times we jump a train, ride a boat, or even bumpity-bump-bump along on a camel.
Delight directed studies are vast and varied. They may look like any of these:
- a few days reading through a stack of books about Ancient Egypt
- heaps of digging, searching, and finding–immersed for a month in extinct animals
- a one hour math project inspired by a calculator
- researching microscopic life at the library and completing notebook pages
- studying England for one month . . . cooking, designing a tri-fold board, building, notebooking
- several weeks reading every Andrew Lang fairy tale ever written . . . then reading them again
- finding dad's snap circuit kit and building a working radio
- learning how to use Power Point while studying owls and preparing a slide show
- creating a new LEGO game
- taking a week to create a Bears lapbook
- a series of science experiments and logging hypotheses and results in a journal
It looks different. Every time.
Do You Plan Ahead?
Sometimes our studies are spontaneous cricket-in-the-classroom moments. Other times the topics are mapped out in advance.
Simon (my five-year-old) has amazing insights and loves to work his science journal, but he also asks me to prepare studies for him. My main goal with my younger student is to answer his questions and grow his curiosity.
Elijah (my ten-year-old) has plenty of his own ideas for want he wants to study and what he wants to accomplish within each study. He has lots of delights and his independent learning experiences are rich. Often I give him resources to utilize within his study. Sometimes I poke a little to help him try something new, but I try to let him have the reins as much as possible.
When Do You End a Study?
If I notice interest waning with my young son, we stop the study and move on to another theme, topic, or delight. This isn't the case with my big boy. I encourage him to complete undone projects because it isn't beneficial for a child to form a perpetual pattern of leaving things incomplete. The project may not end up being as grandiose as his original goal, but it will be something to be proud of.
Tomorrow I will share some printables to help you organize: pages to maintain lists of possible future topics and questions needing answered; record keeping forms; and a planning page.
Don't miss a post in the Cultivating Curiosity Series! Subscribe to Walking by the Way and get updates via email!
The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook,Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.