Delight-Directed Homeschooling Success Story


Guest post by Lelia Rose Foreman.

Many years ago at a homeschool convention, I heard a speaker (possibly Gregg Harris) talk about delight-directed schooling. I would have loved that back when I attended public school, growing depressed as every miserable second ticked by filled with stuff that interfered with what I wanted to do: Learn! I felt I had a chance to do better by my children.

I wasn’t sure, though, that I was doing better for my boys. I read books and attended conventions in desperate hope I would find the key to help my oldest child learn something, anything.

Delight-Directed Homeschooling Success Story at

ALL my son wanted to do was play video games and draw. He spent every second he could escape at a neighbor’s house playing those stupid games. In an effort to keep him at home at least sometimes, we bought a Nintendo. Now the neighbor kids came to our house and spent hours every day playing video games. And my son continued to resist any real education.

As the delight-directed speaker talked about how a love of baseball could be integrated into history, math, composition, reading, geography, and more, I racked my brain, trying to think how Metroid could fit into anything but hand-eye coordination and socialization with the neighbors.

I went home, still mulling over the problem. At home, I picked up a Nintendo Power magazine we had subscribed to since THAT he would read voluntarily. I flipped through the pages and skimmed the Letters To The Editor. Lightning struck. I gave my oldest the assignment to write a business letter a month to Nintendo Power until they published his letter. I figured that would be a standing assignment good for a few years.

They published his third letter.

So, where are we now? At age forty, my son is respected and well-known as an artist at Arenanet working on GuildWars, an online multi-player game filled with gorgeous images. Thousands of people watch his podcast and YouTube interviews and sculpting tutorials. He and I are collaborating on a young adult science fiction series which we hope to start publishing next year. (I am having a wonderful time with the collaboration.) He reads books far too difficult for me to follow about philosophy and ludonarrative theory.

The boy who used to groan when I gave him books for Christmas now has an entire long wall filled with books from floor to ceiling.

I may have done all right by him.

Have you incorporated delight-directed learning into your homeschool?



About the Author:

Lelia Rose Foreman

Lelia Rose Foreman has raised and released five children, one of them severely autistic. She and her dentist husband have retired to Vancouver, WA, the city on the Columbia River, not the one in British Columbia. She is the author of Shatterworld, a middle grade science fiction. If you should read the book and leave a review on Amazon, she would be extremely grateful.

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A Comparison of Homeschooling Styles for Kids on the Autism Spectrum


Guest post by Kerry Jones.

It’s one of a homeschooling parent’s favorite questions for each other: “What is your homeschooling style?” If the question is new to you, then you are likely new to homeschooling! Don’t worry, it won’t be long before you are approached with it. And it won’t be long, either, before you have an answer!

When you are homeschooling a child on the spectrum, though, the question takes on a particular importance. While parents of neurotypical kiddos may be able to simply “choose” to be unschoolers, or literature-based homeschoolers, or virtual schoolers, we parents of ASD kiddos have specific considerations to take in. So, let’s look at some of the most popular homeschooling styles out there, and talk about them spectrum parent to spectrum parent, shall we?

A comparison of homeschool methods or styles for kids on the autism spectrum

Homeschooling Styles for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Classical Homeschooling

The classical approach has the worthy overall goal of teaching children to think for themselves. Using the “trivium” model, children move through three main stages of learning: concrete learning, critical learning, and abstract learning. It’s a language-focused, literature-focused homeschooling style that has become increasingly popular in many private schools.



  • it focuses heavily on finding connections between math, science, history, and literature – – something that kids on the spectrum seem to have a natural affinity for

  • with it’s forward-focus, it reminds parents to look to what their child can accomplish instead of what they can’t


  • If you have a child who has difficulty focusing on books or printed materials, this homeschooling style can be especially challenging

  • Most all published classical homeschooling curriculum would need to be overhauled when using with a child on the spectrumChild Reading Outside


Charlotte Mason Homeschooling


This whole-child approach to homeschooling is based on the teachings of 19th century writer and educator Charlotte Mason.
A Charlotte Mason homeschool day might consist of nature walks, journaling, dictation, handicrafts, and reading of living books.



  • While it’s difficult to think of too many pros for this copywork/dictation-heavy style of learning, I’ve definitely read narratives by parents who’ve had success with a “gentle CM” approach

  • CM advises a lesson length of no more than 15 minutes at a stretch for younger learners, which is always good advice when working with children on the spectrum


  • With books and journaling at the center of this style of learning, a child with a disinterest in reading and writing would likely be frustrated with this approach

  • Another key focus of the CM method is narration (telling back in your own words what you just heard or read). Need I say more?


The unschooling, or child-led homeschooling style gets a lot of press time, doesn’t it? As you are probably aware, an unschooler usually has no formal curriculum, but is allowed to learn according to his or her own interests, time-table, and motivation. Does this sound like a recipe for disaster for an ASD child? Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages to this approach:


  • Children who have finely honed interests can explore those passions unencumbered by the restrictions of a curriculum

  • Can help keep parents focused less on what a child “should be doing by a specific age”, and focused more on the joy of learning


  • Radical unschooling without any schedule or structure can be unsettling to some children on the spectrum

  • Unschooling depends heavily on a child’s inner motivation to explore the outside world, while many children with autism are content to be occupied with their inner world


Online schooling

Virtual Schooling

As more and more states open virtual schools, it has become a popular option – – particularly among new homeschoolers who worry about completely taking their child’s education into their own hands. A virtual school (technically considered a public charter school in most states) offers parents the ability to school a child at home on the computer while still being under the umbrella of the public school system.



  • For new homeschool parents, it can be a good gateway into homeschooling and can relieve some of the stress of full educational responsibility

  • Scheduled and set up like a public school classroom, which can be comforting to some ASD students who are transitioning to schooling at home


  • Curriculum cannot be easily customized to meet individual student needs

  • Much like a public school classroom, scheduled deadlines for work mean less flexibility in amount of work and time required


Eclectic Homeschooling

Eclectic homeschooling is a bit of a “catch all” phrase to describe a style of homeschooling where parents mix and match curriculum and teaching styles to fit each student. They may go to a weekly homeschool cooperative for science, study history with living books, study math using an online curriculum, and integrate notebooking into language arts. This style of homeschool would look different not only in each homeschool, but for each homeschool student.


  • Students receive a completely customized education for their needs and learning style

  • Because of the flexibility of this style, if one approach or curriculum isn’t working, parents simply try something else


  • Requires significant parental time to research and find resources that will work for each student

  • Can be somewhat expensive to purchase materials for each child unless parents seek out free resources



In my experience, I find that all homeschoolers who have a child on the autism spectrum tend to be at least somewhat in the final category of “Eclectic Homeschooler” even if we see ourselves primarily as another style. That’s because no one homeschooling style is going to fit our kids every day and in every situation. Just as we have to be in every other aspect of our life, our approach to homeschooling has to be flexible. The more we force a style that just isn’t working, the more frustrating homeschool becomes for our kids and us.  And the truth is, learning is fun. So the true homeschool style that will work best for you is simple. It’s the one that reminds you how incredibly fortunate you are to be learning together.


Kerry of Secular Homeschooling




Author Bio: Kerry Jones has been homeschooling since 1999, and has authored multiple homeschooling sites including, and Her newest pet project is creating a social community for parents homeschooling a child on the autism spectrum on Facebook and Twitter.




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Back to School Survival Manual


disclosure for reviews


Is your new homeschool year in full swing now?  Does it feel a little bit chaotic breaking in a new routine?  Are you a year-round homeschooler who needs to re-focus and refuel right about now? I’ve just finished reading a book that might be just what you need — Back to School Survival Manual: A Girlfriend’s Guide to an Organized and Successful Homeschool Year by Alicia Michelle.

About the Back to School Survival Manual

The book is divided into 4 parts:

  • Laying a Firm Foundation
  • Clean Out and Set Up
  • Build Rhythm and Learning Plans
  • Time to Get Started!

There are 9 chapters total within those sections.  Those parts are followed by the index of activities and printables.  These are reproducible aids to putting the principles into practice, including checklists, journaling prompts, worksheets, and resource charts.

The main goals of the book include:

  • build self-confidence in your homeschool’s purpose and vision
  • determine what supplies you have (and what you really need)
  • learn practical tips for managing daily homeschool chaos and clutter
  • discover how to create a realistic learning rhythm
  • get powerful tips for daily homeschool success

The book also contains 30 pages of reproducible 8.5 x 11 inch checklists, charts and planning activities to use year after year!

You can check out the Table of Contents here.

You can read a sample chapter here.

About the Author

Alicia Michelle is the author of Plan to Be Flexible, and the creator of “bloom: A Journey to Joy (and Sanity) for Homeschool Moms” and “rhythm: Guiding Your Family to Their Ideal Learning Flow” Online Courses. She writes about faith, marriage, parenting and living the beautifully imperfect homeschooling journey at She believes each day offers new opportunities to trust God in unexpected ways; and that “acceptance with joy” is one of the secrets to a full, contented Christian life.

My Summary

I personally found Part 2 to be helpful to me right now. It’s about clearing out the chaos and clutter. Organization can be the key to smooth homeschool days and it seems to be something I struggle with all the time.  If I’m distracted by clutter, I just don’t feel as productive.

The book is a conversational, easy read.  It strikes a good balance between practical tips and encouragement for a homeschool mom’s heart.

As the author talks about routines and rhythms, rather than strict hour-by-hour schedules that set us up for failures and disappointments, she explains her philosophy this way:

I’m talking about having a realistic and wise set of methods and thought-processes to serve as a strong foundation for the learning year ahead. A systematic way of looking at the year and readying yourself—and your homeschool—for it.

It’s a common-sense approach that can prevent unrealistic expectations that lead to burn-out. I think most of us can benefit from that kind of reminder!

Where to Buy

Right now, Alicia is having a special bundle sale of her homeschool books and products. It’s a great value!

There are several other bundle choices available, up to $21.99 for all 4 of her Back to School resources.

You can also get the Back to School Survival Manual on Amazon in Kindle or print editions.


Sara (91 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.

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