Homeschooling and Creativity

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Homeschooling:  A Launching Pad for Creativity
by Lucie Smoker, Wonder Ranch Homeschool

While still chasing around my first toddler, I looked into education as a way to choose a private school.  We  moved regularly for my husband's career, and we weren't wealthy, but we were determined to somehow make the sacrifices to get our children the very best possible education.   The solution we found was homeschooling, and we began like most families, expecting to follow a curriculum and guide our child under the constant supervision of "experts." 

  What I didn't expect was for homeschooling to become a launching pad for creativity in our lives.   

In finding the right way to teach my children, I have rekindled the creative impulse in myself and helped my child to recognize his own special gifts.    Yes, we study the truths of mathematics, history, and science; but somehow in the way we approach it, the subject comes alive in a new way that is singularly "ours."   

The ideas become a bridge between the teacher and the child, a connection spanning over everyday barriers.

This strategy isn't mine, it came from Waldorf education and its founder, Rudolf Steiner. 'Every year is a transition from the year before.  Every day is a transition from the day before.  Consider where your child is and where he is going before you consider where you are supposed to be;' so goes a major tenet of Waldorf education.  This one step makes it so effective for children who don't fit the standard mold for academic success.   

First in my planning, I deeply consider my child:  what challenges is he facing right now, and where is he gaining confidence?

Not only focused on the academic subject, I consider the growth and change in his emerging self.  Then, whether I am teaching Math or Mesopotamian culture, I try to use our lessons as a catalyst for supporting my child in his life work and his own creativity. To do this, I have to go outside of the curricula.  

Like a Waldorf teacher, I first teach myself the material, then I figure out how to bring it alive - yes, actually breathe life into it -  in a way that will awaken it within my child. 

 I draw on my life experience, my son's interests and my own, lots of independent reading, and a deep appreciation of my child and his inner wisdom.  'How can I connect this subject to his life in a way that he will see it in himself?' is a question I often ask myself in lesson planning. 

So our Native American culture lesson might include a young man on the prairie, facing fears similar to my son's, all as we learn about the importance of cottonwood trees to the ecosystem;  or in Greece we might study a scientist being ridiculed for his intellectual rejection of the gods, just as my own son is sometimes ridiculed by other children for his intellectual way of approaching baseball.   He seems to take in the academic information more deeply.

My hope is that he will gain insight into his emerging self from Socrates or Crazy Horse. 

No curriculum guide or author can possibly know every challenge that my child will face right now, but armed with my love for him and the knowledge that only a parent can possess, I can tailor his education in a way that helps him to peek behind life's daily challenges to catch a glimpse of his own greatness.

...and in the process, I'm doing the same for myself.  Creativity is like love, the more you give, the more you have, so I find myself approaching each moment of life with a  confidence that I had somehow lost before - somewhere in proving to myself that I could be an adequate parent.  

With my new inspiration and his newfound gifts, we can make our education 'take off' for destinations  mysterious, significant, and empowering.


Wonder Ranch, a Wonderful Place to Learn

Lucie Smoker is a wonderful homeschooling mom I have "known" online for quite awhile. She has inspired me to publish this site, I owe her great thanks. Lucie wrote the article below for my site, and I think you will find it very inspiring. She is a creative homeschooler who does wonders for others every day!If you haven't visited Lucie Smoker's site yet, and you are seriously considering homeschooling (or are already), be sure to see her site. And go often, she has so much great information and it's updated often. Just click on Wonder Ranch Homeschool to visit Lucie's site.

It is obvious Lucie truly loves homeschooling. I guess I hear it in her words because I recognize that zeal for homeschooling that I feel also.

When I read her article I was so touched to realize how homeschooling has unleashed my own creativity. I am drawing beautiful chalk pictures on our chalk board. I sit with my first grader and draw dragons and letters. I draw plans with my daughter. I paint, I draw, I sing, I play the recorder, I knit, I needle felt....none of this would have been possible if I hadn't started homeschooling.

Take the lead in creativity with your creative. I'm sure you can find it in yourself and enjoy every minute of it.



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Last updated: 08/31/06.