One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the opportunity it gives our children to learn more about the things they are passionate about, which is sometimes called delight directed learning. That kind of learning is sometimes a little foreign to people who are used to more ‘schoolish’ methods, and it leads to a lot of questions.
“When did you start doing delight directed learning? Did you find it hard to get through a year-long school course when doing it 4 days a week? Did you just tell the kids they could do whatever they wanted on the non-school day, or did they have certain things they always did, like going to a class in a homeschool coop? Did you allow them to watch TV or play video games during the free day?” ~ Diane in Wyoming
We homeschooled 4 days a week, and used the 5th day for specialization, or delight directed learning. When they were young, we used that 5th day for things like skating, swimming, bowling, or park day. When they got older, and things got a little more academic, my son Kevin studied chess and taught classes, and my other son Alex studied economics and charcoal drawing.
I think that having a 4-day homeschool can help provide a much-needed “margin” to our busy American lives. It gives kids time to be a kid—especially if you have very academic children, who need to be able to lighten-up sometimes! I don’t think it’s necessarily for everyone, but it was GREAT for us. I didn’t use a co-op with my children. Once in a while, we took a class with a local group, just for fun (like “World War 2 Naval Battles” so they could meet other boys their age), but we didn’t use co-ops for primary courses.
During our fifth day of the week, the boys were still required to get their math and foreign language done. Later in high school, when I would assign them a week of school at a time, they could choose to do school on that 5th day, so they could take part of another day off instead. But the “free day” did come with some rules and regulations. It was meant for “margin,” for “specialization” and independent study. So there was NO TV allowed – unless it was an educational video from the library. There were NO COMPUTER or VIDEO GAMES unless they were educational games (as determined by ME, not as determined by them! LOL!). On our “free day,” after dad got home, the day was the same as every other day, and they got their usual amount of TV and video game privileges.
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