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Collage Friday - Delight Directed Learning and a Super Morning Routine

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"Mom, I need a friend to come over who likes to look at clouds."

Oh, how I love my children. They say the most insightful things, and at the most perfect moments, too.

Moments like this make me thank GOD I am a homeschooling mom. I'm so glad I don't have to miss these sweet things my kids come up with

(When we learned the news of the bombings in Boston, and that one of the victims was an 8 year old boy just like my Grant it put some perspective on my week. We prayed for that precious little boy and for his family. Never take a minute with your children for granted.)

We've been reading aloud A LOT this week, and since the weather has been so beautiful we have been sitting on the  deck.

The kids alternate between laying on the box that houses the deck cushions and a quilt I lay out on the deck. In the middle of Blood on the River, my son starts talking to us about the clouds, how they are moving, and how he needs a friend to come over - not just to play LEGOS or baseball, but just to watch the clouds.

We stopped reading about Jamestown for a few minutes, talked about the clouds and friends, and then went back to our book. 

What is Delight Directed Learning?

I've always heard the term and knew that we are delight direted learners at certain points in time in our homeschool.

This week I started reading a book by Lee Binz: Delight Directed Learning:  Guide Your Homeschooler Toward Passionate Learning. (As of this writing, the book is FREE for Kindle!) 

Lee Binz defines Delight Directed Learning as:

Delight directed learning is when a person pursues learning about a topic because they take great delight in it, and not just because it's a required course. From a homeschoolers' perspective, delight directed learning has to do with fostering a love of learning and a lifelong learning style that's important for children, so they become people who can adapt to any situation.

 That last part about adapting to any situation spoke to me. This is what I want for my kids.

So yes, while I do "require" them to do the math, grammar, spelling, writing, and history of my choosing, there is wiggle room within our schedule for many delight directed studies. 

This week was a perfect example.

Delight Directed Learning: Flight

My 8 year old son has been very interested in flight. It started with a paper airplane obsession.

It was then fueled by a librarian (whose husband is also a pilot) talking to him about flight.

When our pastor's wife gave him a balsa wood glider that really got him interested.

I knew it was time for a unit study about flight.


Each day this week I presented a different resource about flight to Grant (with the Wright Brother's Unit Study, from Confessions of a Homeschooler, being the centerpiece).  He's had such a great time. 

Resources we used:

Delight Directed Learning:  Money & Economics

My 11 year old daughter has had a lot of questions recently about money, banks, governent, wages, how money is made, etc... 

Truthfully, they are questions I had as well - and I think many adults are lacking in basic economic knowledge. 

Last year a friend at co-op had talked about the book, Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?, so Anna and I thought this would make a great unit study for her.


We've been learning SO MUCH through this very clear and concise book! I found a printable study guide with questions at Homeschool Share, and put it in a folder for Anna as a guide. 

You can see her in the collage above standing on a kitchen chair giving a speech. She had to pretend she was running for the senate and needed to tell the voters "what they wanted to hear". That was funny. 

You see, politics and economics are intertwined.

I can't wait for us to start Whatever Happened to Justice? next!

Anna also learned about the history of coins/tokens and how our current system dates back to Ancient Rome. We inspected coins and bills and pulled out our trusty play cash register (which has been worth it's weight in gold!).

We had some very frank discussions about the economy, the government and debt. My husband works in the debt counseling industry, so this is a subject near and dear to our hearts. 

Resources We Used:


God Made Little Boys

This week we also had a great outing with friends. 

My son is around 2 girls all the time - his sister and me! Sometimes we don't allow him to be all that God has created him to be. There may be times when we discourage messes, dirtiness, and downright silliness.

I'm learning, however, that my little guy has the NEED to be the boy God created him to be! I'm trying to provide him more opportunities with his friends and just more chances to be a BOY.

(What's funny is that his 11 year old sister had a great time with the boys, too!)


1. "Can you take a jumping in the air picture of us?"

2. Teamwork: rolling a log to the lake

3. Our friend caught a frog. I cannot believe I even got close enough to take a picture. He sure loved it, though.

4. We saw several of these snakes - looked like babies to me.

5. I guess this is a slug...again - ewww...

6. Anna coordinating a massive "log roll" - the other boys love her because they don't have a big sister!

"Elevenses":  A Morning Routine That WORKS!

Finally, I want to share with you one thing that made our week WORK wonderfully!  

I read about this last week at my friend Ellen's blog. Read The Lovely and Useful Tradition of The Elevenses to learn more. 

Basically, I told my kids that if they got up on time, did their essentials (math, piano, spelling, writing, grammar, and history) diligently and cheerfully, that we would break at 11:00 a.m. for a sweet snack.

Wow. (Oh, did you know "Wow" is a Native American word? We learned that this week!) Talk about cheerful, hard workers!  I was SO proud of my children.

One morning (the day Anna has a math class about 30 minutes away from us) we weren't home at 11:00. They had Goldfish in the van at 11:00 - didn't want to miss their tradition! 


My son is always up early, but for my daughter she had her alarm go off at 7:30 each morning. After showers, etc... we gathered for breakfast around 8:15 and did our two devotions: Grace for The Moment and Jesus Calling.  (We tried to make healthy breakfasts this week - oatmeal and blueberries was the favorite!)

Devotions were followed by CNN Student News (we LOVE this resource!). 

Next the basics were completed by each child and then at 11:00 they were rewarded. It's amazing how a sweet treat, a cup of tea (or glass of milk), and a good book will motivate children.


Sponsor Shout-Out

A special thank you to current sponsors!  Please visit these wonderful companies and see what they have to offer.

Maestro Classics

Time 4 Learning

Homeschool in the Woods

This Week on the Blog 

Another free SQUILT lesson - Vivaldi's Spring

Why You Can't "Standardize Children" - Another Reason to Homeschool  - This post received lots of views and comments. I wrote about testing from my heart and shared our story of standardized testing. 

 LEGO® Learning With Simple and Motorized Mechanisms

I hope you link up your weekly photo collage post!  Please remember to include photo collages.  Also, link back to this post or include the Collage Friday button (in my sidebar) in your post. Once you have signed the linky, please visit others on the list to gain ideas and offer encouragement.  I love the Collage Friday community!  (I reserve the right to delete any links that don't comply with the guidelines.)

Happy weekend!



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Reader Comments (22)

It's so important for boys to be boys! I'm very glad that your son is having a wonderful time learning in his own way and enjoying his boyhood. :-)

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHwee

Excellent post as always. What a great week! And, I love your pics! Couldn't believe the dirty fingernails of the little boy holding the toad... ;-) enjoy your rainy Friday!

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim

What an amazing week. I love the money/economics unit study. My youngest would love that. Thanks for you encouragement. We are loving the Squilt lessons.
Blessings, Dawn

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Wow, Mary, I had to pin your post to a couple different boards there were so many good ideas! My children would love those unit studies. I love the elevenses idea--maybe it would motivate me, too, and keep me a more cheerful taskmaster! And quicker work on the core stuff gets us to the passionate stuff sooner!
I love your thoughts on the boy stuff. My son is surrounded my girls, and his sister is especially girly so we need to work on more boy time for him. I like your reminder that God created him to be the BOY that he is.

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi @ Home Schoolroom

Aw, shucks! The delight directed learning book isn't free for Kindle anymore. :sigh: I'll have to keep checking back for it! I'm really intrigued by this idea...and how it works with "core subjects" that I feel are necessary (and legally required in my state). Just the name - Delight Directed - just sounds so perfect!

Another fun week, Mary!

First time on your blog. I love this post. I'm inspired to do one of what I get up to with my girls. :)
Love the speech idea, would help us with building confidence around here!
Thank you for sharing.
Una from

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUna

My 8 year old loves paper airplanes! A unit study on flight would be a great idea :-)

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I like the idea of directed delight learning. For me, this is one of the big problems of education regardless of the environment. People need an opportunity to learn what they are interested in learning. Of course, as you say in your post, there are certain basic skills in other areas that everyone needs whether you like it or not. But the really deep learning should be able to be about things with which we are passionate.

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Fraser

What a fun week you had! I was expecting to see an alligator come crawling up the bank in photo #2! I've been using, Jesus Calling in my morning devotions also. Sometimes I read them out loud to the kids too! Have many more wonderful weeks, Mary. God bless you and your sweet family.

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia

This is just full of great resources I am about to check out. I love reading your Friday posts (Well ALL of your posts but especially Fridays). I had 2 friends who subscribed to your blog this week after I shared your great link on Standardized testing! I love all the pictures. I love to read about Grant and his boyness! Not having a boy it is a little foreign to me even though Keilee has always been a 'dirty, playing in the mud, loving insets' kinda girl. :) Thank you so much for hosting this AWESOME link up! Off to check out stuff now. Happy Friday Mary!

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Hey Mrs Mary - looks like another fabulous week - I have you have a wonderful weekend and the nice weather stays nice for you!

WOW!! Some days we begin our homeschooling at 11 am!!! ha! how funny that people have different schedules! :)

Wow! Our mornings are supposed to end at 11:30, but rarely do or rarely end with everything scheduled completed. They used to, but we don't seem to be able to get up on time anymore. It's not just Amber, but me too. We need to work on that, but we just aren't morning people.

It's nice to see you describe how you have your required items, yet are able to fit in delight directed learning. I struggle with this still. I'm very much a schedule, list type of person. If it's not on the list, it isn't going to happen.

Have a great weekend!

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

Your weekly posts are always so packed full of great ideas and wisdom. I have to go back to them several times to get all the goodness out of them. Thank you for sharing all these good things with us.

I'm still learning to follow this delight-directed stuff, but I love it. I'm still learning about being a boy mom, too! So thanks for sharing today. :)

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I know I've said this before, but I love these posts. You always include so much wonderful insight. We had a little impromptu cloud watching this week, too. Tinker and I found a shady spot outside to lay on a blanket and watch the clouds while her older sister was inside at her gymnastics class. It was a wonderful time!

Love the photo of the snake. I remember my son having a pet snake at home. Somehow I survived having a snake in our home, even though I said we would never have snakes.

Great post & very encouraging

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

Thank you for the link to the free study Guide for Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? I have the book, but we haven't started it yet, so I am looking forward to the ideas.

April 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMartha

Thanks, Mary! I downloaded that book--it's $0.99 today for my Kindle! We just finished some stuff and we are going to explore more interest-led learning this summer and see where that leads...

Since watching "The Men Who Built America" Jason and I have been talking to the girls about investing. I just put that Penny Candy book on hold at the library, too. I found some other books that I put on hold as well...I will let you know how they are.

I LOVE all the nature pictures and the cloud comments--so refreshing to read about kids who are focusing on the important things--the beauty of God in nature!!

April 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa

Oh I do love your son's clouds comment. You're right, it's moments like that ... :-) It sounds like things have been full of ease and tranquility in your homeschool this week (and lots of learning too - but isn't that the way?)
My 8yr old son is lucky that his 9 yr old sister is a tomboy, but he actually mentioned this week how nice it would be to have a brother, bless.
Thanks, as ever, for hosting Collage Friday!

April 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLula B

I can relate to boys needing to be boys. My son is surrounded by four girls 24/7! As soon as my husband gets home, he wants to wrestle and box with him! So important to foster and not suppress these skills and desires. I fear a lot of the "problems" surrounding boys not able to concentrate in the school setting is because we try to treat them like girls - expecting them to sit quietly for long periods of time. My little guy even lets out "whoops" every now and then - like he's releasing some energy :) I celebrate the differences. Your son is lucky to have a mom who allows him to be all he's meant to be! Have a blessed weekend.

April 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Great week filled with delights! I don't know if you have heard of Greg Harris. "Back in the day" he used to do homeschool conferences about that exact topic. I was able to hear him speak a few times. I love the idea.

April 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlaurie

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