Learning to Let Go of My Inner Classroom Teacher

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Learning to Let Go of My Inner Classroom Teacher: What a Successful Day in Our Delight Directed Homeschool Actually Looks Like


From the time I was in 8th grade, I wanted to be a music teacher. When I graduated from college with my Bachelor of Music in Music Education I had a plan.

But, God had different plans for me.

Before I started homeschooling, when people would ask me about it I would reply “I went to school to be a teacher, so I’m not nervous about teaching.”


I went to school to be a CLASSROOM music TEACHER.

I love charts, chalkboards, pointers, powerpoints, visual aids – you name it I can rock it. I was prepared to teach hour long lessons to students who wanted (for the most part) to learn (although maybe not to practice) and band classes full of young musicians.

Then I had my Billy.

My sweet, kinesthetic Billy.

Billy is not a classroom student. That’s a major part of why we’re homeschooling. But I am a classroom trained teacher. I want to lead a lesson and have him dutifully follow along.

Yet I know that’s not how he learns. So every day I surrender my classroom teacher and walk forward as a delight directed homeschooler.

Yesterday this is what our homeschool looked like: We started the day with some “What’s in the Bible” (lately we’ve been starting by reading a chapter out of his Adventure Bible, but I was running behind, so that got moved until before bedtime). This was our bible study (for those of you WITB fans, DVD 3, the “Pentatuch” Steamboat song? I have been running around all day singing “Deuteronomy! Deu-ter-on-o-meeeeee!!” :))

After breakfast Billy wanted to play PBSKids.org. His latest fascination has been “Martha Speaks” Particularly the game called “Pup Talk.” (I don’t have a problem with online games, particularly if they are educational. I just make sure – as always – I’m supervising.)

He played for a little while this morning and then we went down to the playroom. We did some work on telling time and played the Time Travel (Learn to Tell Time) game from ABCYa.com together (in 1st grade section, scroll down to “numbers” tab) using our construction paper clock to figure out the way it should look before adjusting the clock on the screen. We didn’t make it to the end of the level we selected (level 2) because we had a…disagreement….about where the hour hand should be at 6:55. After that Billy was done.

That was okay. I am very happy with how well he’s progressing learning the analog clock and how thoughtful he is being about figuring out what the clock will look like by hand first. We finally got over the hurdle of the minute hand (just because it is on “9″ doesn’t mean that it’s 12:09) so I am encouraged by that.

After lunch he wanted to play “Pup Talk” some more. I agreed while I was taking care of the little guys but then I thought I should make him stop.

The classroom teacher wanted to do her lesson.

She almost missed the fact that Billy was learning some of the very concepts she wanted to teach by having fun playing the game he wanted to play.

Thankfully,  I tuned in (or rather, God tuned me in) to my son – my student – with my delight directed ears and heard what he was learning:

“Pup Talk” introduces literary concepts to kids and has them use the computer’s microphone to record a story based on pictures they see (which animate as they speak). You can read the full description at the PBSKids.org “parents and teachers” section here.

Book facts (main character, author). Story structure (beginning, middle and end). Creativity (telling a story based on a picture). All things I wanted to teach Billy (and still will, don’t get me wrong) through our study of The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis – but I love that he’s learning it (and wanting to learn it) on his own too!

Billy didn’t just do one story, he did at least a dozen. With every story he “made” he got better and better about adding details; why was the person fishing?, how did the dog feel about the butterflies? and more fluidly connecting the 3 parts of the story.

All of this with little to no input or direction from Mrs. Mommy.

This is why we chose the delight directed path. Billy is a smart kid and loves to learn – at his pace. I’m learning more and more to let go of my inner classroom teacher and become the learning facilitator that Billy needs me to be.

What teaching/learning styles do you use in your homeschool? Have you ever considered or do you use a delight directed approach? What does that look like in your home?


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Author: Heather

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  • http://nextgenhomeschool.com Renee Gotcher

    Thanks for joining the new “What’s Working” link-up today on our blog at NextGen Homeschool! Finding your post today is exactly why I wanted to host a link-up on this topic. :)

    I am a lot like you in that I enjoy teaching in the “traditional” sense. I love white boards, notebooks, binders, and a plan! I even used to play school with my 7 younger siblings when I was growing up (my mom eventually homeschooled but not until I was two years away from college). In my past job as a sales director, leading unit meetings and training was my favorite task. My eldest daughter is just like me, but my younger two are much more kinesthetic as well. I am always looking for great ideas for kinesthetic learners!

    We look forward to reading about your delight-directed homeschooling adventures at our link-up in the future. Thanks for linking up, and spread the word!

    • http://www.onfaithandcoffee.com Heather

      Thank you so much Renee! Can’t wait!! :)

  • http://www.singingathome.blogspot.com Paige

    I am currently struggling with the question of how much delight drivenness will work for us. My parenting style is more delight driven (my oldest is three), and I’m scared to “force” traditional learning, because I know it won’t work. but I feel a strong need to make sure the basics get done. I’m hoping to slowly make a routine (such as math first thing in the morning), and letting him choose which math program to work on that day (flashcards, workbook, computer game, etc.) . I’m a second generation home schooler, so I know flexibility is a big key.
    Thanks for the peek into your day, insights from others help so much!
    Paige recently posted…Becoming A Thankful PersonMy Profile

    • http://www.onfaithandcoffee.com Heather

      You’re welcome Paige! I know what you mean – one of the big motivations for starting this blog was to connect with other homeschool moms to share ideas and encouragement. It is so helpful! Glad you’re here! Blessings!

  • http://www.upsidedownhomeschooling.com Heather Bowen

    I know this feeling all too well. While I didn’t study education in college, I was a public school kid and it is VERY hard to get away from that public school mindset. Unschooling is a concept that excites me and terrifies me all at the same time (no, we haven’t made that jump yet and I’m not sure that we ever will), but it amazes me how much more my children learn when I let them learn on their own accord.

    Thanks so much for linking up to the Hearts for Home Blog Hop! Blessings!
    Heather Bowen recently posted…Homeschool Week in Review: 1/20-1/26My Profile

    • http://www.onfaithandcoffee.com Heather

      :) Next year when Billy is officially registered I will be working on finding a balance because of the home instruction plan we have to do at the beginning of the year, it’ll be interesting! I really am amazed though what he thinks to do all on his own! Great link-up Heather! Blessings!!

  • http://www.enchantedhomeschoolingmom.net/ Jill

    I can relate to this feeling! Being a very organized person (who thrives with routine) sometimes it is hard for me to let go of the lesson plans that I have for the day and just allow the children the freedom to learn on their own. Over the years my children and I have found happy balance of traditional and laid back atmosphere for all of us in our homeschooling.

    Thank you for linking up this week to the brand new Hearts from Home Blog Hop!
    Jill recently posted…Reading in 1st Printable Reader SeriesMy Profile

    • http://www.onfaithandcoffee.com Heather

      Thank you Jill! I am looking forward to finding that balance. It is such a blessing as a homeschool mom to watch them explore from their own love of learning!

  • http://hsmominmo.blogspot.com/ hsmominmo

    It’s a wonderful thing to see our children learn and discover and grow right before our very eyes. I still have to remind myself that I don’t have to teach as though I were classroom teacher. It’s great being a Mom/Teacher!
    hsmominmo recently posted…[Afraid] – Five Minute FridayMy Profile

    • http://www.onfaithandcoffee.com Heather

      It’s amazing! I love watching him want to learn more! Blessings!

  • http://thesetemporarytents.com Aadel

    Coming from a gal who used to not let her sister play “school” unless I got to be the teacher – I can totally feel you here! :-)

    The great thing is that although we might not be classroom teachers, we are still guides and facilitators of learning. And it is totally awesome to see your kids teach themselves.
    Aadel recently posted…A New Project: Unschoolers Have Seoul!My Profile

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  • mom at rancho kline

    Thank you for calling it your “inner classroom teacher” and calling it your goal and not his need… that really helps me. I seem to have the same “inner classroom teacher”, with the desire to have my daughter also follow my lessons dutifully. She is also NOT a classroom student! I haven’t had the nerve to let go to the point of going completely delight-directed yet…. but it is so good to hear that maybe, just maybe, they learn better while having fun than while tuning us out. I am coming to terms with the fact that I’m scared to let go like that.