The Delight-Directed Approach

Delight-directed learning takes advantage of the natural motivation in our children toward a passionate interest. Under mentoring, support, and guidance, the child is given the time and space to investigate and explore his interests. By providing the materials and applying the educational tools of learning (reading, writing, arithmetic, reason) to the subject matter, the child can learn to acquire knowledge for himself.

“And so, we began to put into practice what we had learned in theory. We focused on creating a rich atmosphere for learning, where curiosity, questioning, and a hunger to know were encouraged rather than stifled. We sought ways of engaging our children’s interest so that what they learned would lead to curiosity and more questions. The end result is learning that sticks rather than merely knowing answers for test questions that all seem to evaporate after the test.”

Diana Waring, Beyond Survival

In delight-directed learning, there is no scope and sequence in which to learn “the facts.” Rather, the facts are acquired as a subject is developed from our child’s interests.

There are many ways to incorporate this method in our homes — some formal (starting a unit study) and some very informal (providing reference books, field trips, notebooks, paper, and supplies). By understanding the difference between skill areas and content subjects, we can develop skills systematically, while still providing time to practice those skills in a less systematic way.

Whatever your approach, you’ll want to consider implementing these gems from the delight-directed perspective (you’ll find further reading for each below):

Life’s Work

If the ultimate goal of our homeschool is to prepare our children for their future, then the top objective on that list should be to help our children find their life’s work. They have been wonderfully created with particular talents to be used for a purpose.

Take advantage of the benefits of educating at home by allowing them time to explore their interests, to encourage their unique strengths, to guide them in developing these strengths, and to tutor them in applying these strengths as their interests develop.

Further Reading

Developing Creativity

Delight-directed studies can’t help but to foster creativity. Creativity is an outgrowth of providing our children the time they need to explore and express their interests.

Further Reading


One sign that our educational efforts are succeeding will be when our children are able to acquire knowledge and learn on their own; when we find it difficult to keep them supplied with rich material as their level of interest peaks.

There is no better motivation for learning than the one that comes from within. Our child’s interests can be utilized to foster learning.

Further Reading


We should never underestimate the value of providing our children with time to explore. Through their free time, we have an opportunity to see our children’s natural bents and interests. Through “play” our children have an opportunity to explore and develop their interests and talents.

Further Reading
Further Reading
Beyond Survival

Beyond Survival: A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling by Diana Waring
Now this is our idea of “delight-directed” homeschooling — the place where life, education, and home come together. With a wonderful sense of humor and a load of encouragement, Diana Waring motivates us to really serve our children as their mentors — customizing our approach to fit their learning style, interests, and family life, while providing many opportunities to practice using the “tools” of learning.  Read our entire review.

10 Tips for Providing a Non-Generic Education
The point of delight-directed learning.

Bending Education to Fit the Child
Why every method of educating should look different.

Additional Resources

Practice Controlled Creativity
Thoughts on encouraging our children’s interests, while still guarding and guiding them.  “We must encourage our children in their creative growth, but not by setting them free in as many directions as they want to go all at once. Instead, we must allow them pursue what they are able to handle with self-control. And as we do, we’ll watch them grow to maturity and continue to pursue their passions for the glory of God.” An article from Home Educating Magazine.