Heart of Wisdom Publications:
Delight-directed study uses natural curiosity to motivate the student. The student acquires basic concepts of learning (reading, reasoning, writing, researching, etc.) during the process of examining the topic of interest. Less control can lead to more learning.

Delight-Directed Homeschooling


Delight-directed study places students in charge of their own learning, helping them find something they want to accomplish. The delight-directed method uses natural curiosity to motivate the student. The student acquires basic concepts of learning (reading, reasoning, writing, researching, etc.) during the process of examining the topic of interest. Less control can lead to more learning.

Download a 10 page Delight Directed Teaching Chapter

All children love to learn—at least all children love to learn before they go to school. Forced learning can destroy the natural love for learning that our children are born with. Children locked into studying something they find boring are no different from adults locked into boring, irrelevant meetings. If adults cannot see the relevance of the material covered in a meeting, they will tune out or drop out. If children do not understand how the subject will help to address the concerns of their lives, they will tune out. Would you, for example, read this page if it were titled “Basic Plumbing Concepts”?  You might if you had a leak in your kitchen sink or a basement full of water. In the same way, students need to have an interest in the topic they are learning.

If we allow students a free choice, they can concentrate on learning what they might need in their lives. Freedom to choose what not to study implies freedom to learn more about what one cares about and freedom to explore new interests.

A teacher’s or parent’s first job is to cause children to want to read something, to motivate them to care so that the natural order of learning can kick into action. The educator’s job is to provide the one item which today’s education system leaves out: motivation. (Schank, 1994)

When students are given good instructional materials, they can teach themselves and they will eventually learn to locate their own resources (books, Internet sites, people, materials, classes, etc.)


For more on this subject read The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach.

The Delight-Directed Method is Biblical

The Bible instructs parents to recognize that each child is a unique individual with a way already established that needs to be recognized, acknowledged, and reckoned with by means of the truth of Scripture.

Proverbs 22:6 says Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

This verse shows us a parent’s training must be based on knowing his or her child. The Hebrew text has the personal pronoun attached to the noun “way.” It reads, “his way” and not simply “in the way he should go.” “Way” is the Hebrew word derek, which means “way, road, journey, manner.” Parents need to recognize the way each of their children is bent by the way God has designed each of them. If parents fail to recognize this, they may also fail to help launch their children into God’s plan for their lives.

Individualized Education

Roger Schank from The Institute for the Learning Sciences explains, in Engines for Education, the importance of individualized education.

Education should have a pragmatic purpose. Education ought to be about building learners’ abilities to do useful things. What is important to learn is whatever helps learners do things that they want to do or that they can be induced to want to do. Therefore, if we want to detail the knowledge students need to have, we should first detail the things students should know how to do. Then we can determine what knowledge will be useful in each case.

Depending on an individual’s situation and goals, there are many things that might be worth learning. In order to give a very detailed prescription for what knowledge a student should acquire, we must take into account that not every child will need or want to do the same things. A curriculum must therefore be individualized. It must be built around an understanding of what situations a particular learner might want to be in, or might have to be in later in life, and what abilities he will require in those situations.

Nevertheless, for many people, the notion of mandating the same knowledge for every student is appealing. Building lists of facts that one claims everyone should know is relatively simple to do. Furthermore, there is the attraction of providing standards that can be easily measured. But from the perspective of the teacher and the student, this approach spells trouble. Each mandated bit of knowledge removes more local control and drives the system towards fixed curricula and standardized tests, which not only diminishes teacher flexibility but also student choice and, therefore, student interest and initiative.

In public schools from first through twelfth grade, much of the classroom routine is shaped by an emphasis on rote learning, a strict adherence to standardized textbooks and workbooks, and a curriculum that is often enforced with drill and practice. The methods and the curriculum are molded by the questions that appear on the standardized achievement tests administered to every child from the fourth grade on. Success no longer means being able to do. Success comes to mean “academic success,” a matter of learning to function within the system, of learning the “correct” answer, and of doing well at multiple-choice exams. Success also means, sadly, learning not to ask difficult questions. When we ask how our children are doing in school, we usually mean, “are they measuring up to the prevailing standards?” rather than, “are they having a good time and feeling excited about learning?”

We should purpose to be flexible in the way we try to tap into our children’s innate interests. When we are interacting with the student we can evaluate whether learning has taken place. If one approach doesn’t work, we can drop it and try another.

The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach: Bible-Based Homeschooling


The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach is for all homeschoolers who want to make the Bible the center of their school day. This giant 500+ page book provides you with the methods, program, and resources for a course of study where students spend half the school day studying God’s Word and the other half studying God’s world (academics). Students study history chronologically and science in the order of the days of Creation. This book will encourage, motivate you and instruct you, step by step, how to give your child a Bible-focused, comprehensive education from preschool through high school; one that will train him or her to read, to study, to understand, to love to learn and, most importantly, to desire and seek true wisdom. This approach can be used for all grade levels.

When homeschoolers are asked about this book, one word continues to come up over and over–Wow!

Read the excerpt today to see what all the wow is about.



  1. This confuses me. My children wouldn’t ever learn multiplication tables, or a five paragraph essay if it was delight-directed.. they don’t delight in those things at all.- Briana

  2. Good question! There are something essential like multiplication tables that must be learned- like it or not.

    We can try to do them the easiest way for that child for example allow them to learn through songs or games instead of rote memory.

    As far as writing paragraphs–make it on a topic they are interested in. My “I-hate-to-write” son wrote a entire book on knights.

  3. I have found this concept of delight-directed learning to be true! Yesterday my 9 year old son found some science text books I had in a box downstairs. These were books I bought many years ago for when I homeschooled my older daughter. Since we had not been using text books much for these youngest children, and that these two books happened to be labeled for 4th and 5th grade and my son has been doing 3rd grade work – I didn’t even think about those books to use for him!

    Well clearly I was holding him back and did not clue in on his love of science. He grabbed those books and started reading! A science TEXTBOOK! LOL He loved it and was telling me and his sisters all about the layers of the earth, what was in each layer, all about earthquakes and tornadoes!

    I can’t wait to hear about what else he’s learned, now that I’ve gotten out of the way. 😉 But yes, I do agree, some things like multiplication tables need to be taught, no matter what.

  4. I cannot tell you how excited I am to find a name for what we do! My homeschool mom friends keep asking me how I can be so relaxed..but the truth is I am just a guide for my children’s learning, and I let them lead the way with their own curiousity and interests. It takes us to adventures along the way. I try to step back and use their ideas to get us where we need to be. I can teach them just about anything through their windows of wanting to know more.
    I love the name delight-directed!! Its perfect. I am totally using that from now on.

  5. We are using a structured curriculum for the “must haves” but are trying to encourage additional learning through things that interest them. They are learning about genetics by cross-pollinating daylilies and iris. They are learning about leverage by chopping logs and limbs. They are learning about animals and insects by investigating outdoors (bird watching, bug collections, plant collections). We just want them to know that learning can be fun!

  6. felicia

    Hai, I’m Felicia Ester from Indonesia. I have been blessed by what you have written. I struggled with the HS method until yesterday I read your testimony in finding the HOW method. Wow! Your experience is exactly like mine! Yes, I pulled out my kids from school and HS them because I wanted God’s Words to become the basic of their days but found out that I stumbled from agendas to agendas, reading text books and answering workbooks, and it made me ‘crazy’ to see them getting bored days to days. And I tried to make them memorize the verses of bible but it was just for 5 minutes! Now after I read your article of “Delight-Directed Study,” it clicked my mind that your method will work for our HS.
    I am so sorry for the mistakes in grammars I made in writing this, but I really want to tell you how bless I am by what you have done and shared.
    In the future, I need someone to correct the grammars in the writing subject my kids do. Can you help me?
    YHWH bless you!

    -personally, I am in the process of reading the Book of the Upright. Have you heard about it? It is mentioned in the book of Joshua, too. The book has been a blessing for me. I heard that some of the Jews still use the book. May be you want to take a look at that?-

  7. Jennifer

    Just as a quick note, kids CAN learn the multiplication tables out of simply curiosity and joy. I put a poster of the MT on our wall, my kids studied it, asked about it, we pulled out some beads and stuff to show what “seven X(groups of) five” look like and both my 7 and 9.5 yr old understand the process behind it. The hardest thing about Delight-Directed Learning or Unschooling is that you have to have an environment (the home, friends, family, trips, activities) that is engaging and be willing to put down your grown-up stuff when your child’s delight needs a parent’s help to be explored and enjoyed. It is, however, the best decision we ever made for our particular children and their education. It doesn’t work for every family, but when it does work the joy of seeing your child leaning on God to help them become who He means them to be (instead of what we as teachers have determined to be worthy of their time and energy) is incomparable. :-)

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