View Full Version : Unschooling/Delight-Directed implementation questions

06-17-2012, 07:58 PM
I've read about lots of different homeschooling styles, and I plan on doing a rigorous three R's, and then allowing a lot more flexibility in the content to follow rabbit trails, talents and passions. My little guy loves all things mechanical. He would build things from wake to sleep if I let him. We have a sizeable collection of Trio blocks and have started a nice Lego collection now that he is older, but he has been using the gear set of his Trio blocks and started building pulleys with them through just exploring. I firmly believe that the job of a five year old is to play, but that is the way children learn as well, which is evident in that he is figuring out simple machines through his play.

My questions at this point are these:
1. While I don't think he needs a full blown mechanical engineering course, I want to encourage his abilities. I looked for simple mechanical engineering type toys but most of them are designed for 8+. While I don't doubt his ability to understand them, he doesn't have the fine motor skills necessary to build them at this point. How do you find supplies for children who are...gifted? advanced? for lack of a better word... in mental ability above physical skill ability? Is this called asynchronous development? I think there is an actual term for it.

2. How do you keep costs down when you follow a delight-directed or unschooling approach to learning? I believe it is my responsibility as a parent to make sure my child has access to the resources he needs to develop himself, but how much interest can they show in things they have never been exposed to? And how much prolonged interest does a child need to show to merit continued investment in more complex or advanced or expensive supplies/training/etc.

3. How many times do you check a library book out before you decide to purchase it for the home library?

4. How long do you keep items they have lost interest in before you unhouse them from your home? What if they cycle back to later?

Obviously, there won't be one size fits all answers here, but I'd love to hear any advice you have.

06-17-2012, 08:09 PM
Yes, it is asychronous development, and very, very common with gifted children. With my daughter, it seems to be fine motor and emotional areas where she is lagging while her brain soars. One of the best sources for all sorts of links to all sorts of information, suggestions, toys, etc is Hoagies Gifted Education Page. http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/

06-18-2012, 12:16 AM
My son is almost 10 and is also very, very mechanically inclined. He loves to build things all the time. ALL the time. Regarding your questions:

1 & 2. Building-related toys: I like to keep my son well-supplied with Lego, but I also think it's worth saving some really cool stuff for when they're a little older. If he gets every amazing building-related gizmo at the ages of 6, 7, 8, what is left for when he's 9, 10, 11? I got my son the Lego Action Contraptions books, and he has gone back to it over and over again to re-do those projects. I think regular wood-working type of projects are also very valuable. Think wood, hammers, nails, etc... Home Depot here has a program on Saturdays where kids can go in and build things like bird houses for free. It's also a lot of fun to collect recyclables and see what you can make out of those. Picture enormous castles made out of shoe boxes, soup cans and paper towel rolls all stuck together with tape. Use stuff to make tracks or roads for cars. Make models out of wood. A friend of mine took a lot of things apart: broken toasters, cell phones, remote controls, blow dryers, radios. Just take stuff apart to see if they can figure out how it works. It can't really get more busted. Other related topics are magnets and electricity, and there are really cool kits you can buy related to those, as well as many, many projects you can do at home. Just start thinking like a handy-man.

3. I don't have any rules about buying books. Every once in a while, I buy some. Some books stay on the shelf untouched, others become his best friends.

4. Keeping stuff: Fortunately, we have a big playroom and storage room in the basement, and a LOT of shelves in the family room, so I tend to keep a lot of stuff around for a long time. They often forget about something for a year or more, and then suddenly spend all weekend using it. They also use the same toy differently at different ages. I say keep it as long as possible.

06-18-2012, 01:40 AM
I have been looking for something like that Lego Action Contraptions book all day! Thank you!:D And yes, I agree about not getting him all the cool stuff now. I keep reminding myself, this isn't going to be the only time he ever gets to learn about these things.