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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Caught in a Cycle?

I’ve been reading Charlotte Mason’s School Education, and today’s reading was over Authority and Docility. Arbitrariness is often stuck in with both authority and docility. Those in authority sometimes demand those under them to do this or that, “because I said so.”  Or those who follow can also unintentionally be arbitrary followers; they do not think about what it is they are doing, they just do it. A homeschool challenge we may face is to get caught in a cycle.

What exactly is ‘arbitrary’? Googling came up with this definition: based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system; (of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.

I heard “Because I said so!” a lot growing up. That was THE answer for “why?” I’ll generalize a bit here before I eventually get to the gist of my post: Homeschooling families do not arbitrarily send their kids to the public schools because society says that is what they are to do. I do not assume that those same families do it out of spite either. They think about what they are told to do, what options they have for following, and they make a choice.

Even though we homeschool we can still find ourselves caught in an arbitrary cycle.

Before we actually started homeschooling I had some fixed notions about what we’d look like as a homeschooling family. Why? Because that is what all homeschoolers did/looked like! It was simply not based on solid reasoning or fact, that’s for sure. But even if one realizes that not all homeschoolers will be the same, it can be easy to fall into ‘following the homeschool crowd’.

There are plenty of ways we end up following such a cycle. Take for instance, the somewhat recent push for STEM in education. There is arguably a good basis for why the department of education would want this to be advanced: We live with a global economy that relies on advancing technology therefore it is necessary to produce citizens who excel in these fields, to perpetuate the United States as a super power.

It doesn’t seem arbitrary, does it? But, what if doing so eliminates other subject areas that may foster a more well-rounded citizen that will be able to not only work with and advance these technologies but also have personal relationships with those they interact with? What if we as homeschoolers search out activities and education opportunities for ourselves and our family that the homeschooling community, or society in general, says are important that cause us to have less time for each other, or to sacrifice our values or beliefs?

Perhaps these scenarios do not exactly fit with ‘arbitrary’ but going along with them just because that’s what someone {or a group} says we’re supposed to do is, I think. We follow one in spite of the other. How do we get out of such a cycle?

  • We need to understand why we are doing what we are doing.

Do you have a philosophy of education? If not, it’s really a good idea to put some thought on this. I did not have one for a long time and we were blown every which way for a while because of not having that foundation to start. What is the end goal? What is the ultimate purpose?

When it comes to the sports activities, music classes/lessons, or other ‘educational’ endeavors, how will they fulfill the goal that we have set for our family?

  • Cut the things we don’t need. {No matter what someone else says*.}

Perhaps there is a group or class opening up that many are saying is THE class/lesson you need to get your kids prepared for college, but it conflicts with another activity that your family feels is imperative to fulfilling the goals you’ve set. Find a different day/time to do it, or simply don’t do it.

This includes technology, the latest-and-greatest gizmos and gadgets, and apps. Is it ‘educational’ but your kids are edgy or cranky afterward? Does it help them master math problems, but meanwhile they seem to have moved backward in their writing skills? Does it take over the school day; they want to ‘learn’ on their gadgets instead of interacting with people?

If it seems this is way too simple {evaluate why and what, cut the unnecessary}, you can break down those two steps even further to help you better determine that things are beneficially, not arbitrarily, included in the homeschool. Breaking out of the cycle doesn’t have to require a long drawn-out list of pros/cons to every single decision you make, but it is so helpful to stop and think why you feel you have to, or should, do this or that. There will be things that will be in the best interest of your family to include, but then, you’ll need to look back at the first point and evaluate accordingly. There is no cookie-cutter homeschool family. {At least I hope not.}

*I am in no way suggesting going against state requirements for home educating, or against one’s spouse. Otherwise, there is no one else that has the right to dictate what you can, should, have to, or can’t do in your homeschool.

Have you found yourself caught in a cycle? How did you break out of it?


North Laurel (26 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel Home & School.

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Keeping the Fun Factor in Field Trips


Field trips should be FUN, right? Of course! But if you’re like me, sometimes the effort to squeeze every bit of educational opportunity out of a field trip also threatens to squeeze out the fun factor for the kids. It hit me years ago when my kids would say things like, “Mom, we’re supposed to be on vacation!” or “Why does everything have to be about school?” and I made some adjustments to my expectations of field trips.

Keeping the FUN Factor in Field Trips

If you need to refocus on the fun in your field trips, try some of these ideas:

  • Do you really need the worksheet or checklist? Or do you need to do it while you’re at the zoo or museum? Personally, I don’t even like juggling the notebook or the brochures while we’re on-site. I don’t want to miss seeing something because I’m looking at a handout to try and check something off the list. If you or your kids feel the same way, leave the papers for later. Chances are good that you can take everything in and remember it well enough to fill out a worksheet or make a journal entry later.
  • Plan ahead and review afterwards. Obviously you want to look at the brochures and the maps and know what you’ll be seeing so that you don’t miss out! Often that info is available on a website so you can check it out ahead of time. If there are brochures and maps that you pick up at your field trip location, skim through them quickly for anything new that you need to know and then stuff them in a purse, pocket or backpack to look at in more detail when you get home. Those will help jog your memories as you write those journal entries too.
  • Pick your educational activities wisely. So many museums, national parks, zoos, historical sites, and other destinations have a “For Teachers” type section on their website that there is an abundance of curriculum tie-ins to choose from. If you have the time to plan ahead, do look through those resources, but choose only what ties in well for what you are studying or is appropriate for your family. Remember, many of those teacher resources are intended for class trips and to accommodate public school curriculum standards, so they may not be relevant to your homeschool. Don’t overthink it and try too hard to make it work.
  • See it today – study it later. This works best when you’re on vacation or summer break. It’s tempting to want to use all the educational value of EPCOT, for example, but if you turn your once-in-a-lifetime family vacation to Disney World into one long science and geography lesson, you might regret it. Take pictures, have fun, and follow the kids’ lead. If they want to discuss it on the spot, go ahead, but let them start the conversation. Then next year when you are studying marine biology or American history, you can say “Remember when we went to SeaWorld and saw the killer whales? Remember when we were in Philadelphia and saw the Liberty Bell?” and you will be able to relate their exciting vacation experience to their schoolwork.
The whole point of a field trip is to have a hands-on experience, so give yourself every opportunity to see, hear, and touch as much as possible. Allowing it to be fun and exciting will make it more memorable, and will encourage interest and engagement. Keep it fun!!



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Kym (8 Posts)

Kym is in the middle of her 17th year of homeschooling her four kids, two of whom have graduated. She and her husband of 27 years are Canadians transplanted to Maryland. Kym loves coffee, history, and homeschooling, and you can join her for coffee break at her blog, Homeschool Coffee Break.

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