Homeschooling: A Launching Pad for Creativity
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
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
ideas become a bridge between the teacher and the child, a connection
spanning over everyday barriers.
This strategy isn't
mine, it came from
education and its founder,
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
Wonder Ranch Homeschool to visit Lucie's site.
obvious Lucie truly loves homeschooling. I guess I hear it in her words
because I recognize that zeal for homeschooling that I feel also.
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.
the lead in creativity with your child.....be creative. I'm sure you can
find it in yourself and enjoy every minute of it.