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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.
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.
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.