As defined by Meriam-Webster:
Creativity is defined as “the quality of being creative”
In the age of high stakes testing, there is little room for creativity. Teachers often have to teach to the test. I’m not against these tests. If fact, I support annual testing to ensure that students are progressing. However, in the school system, students have to take benchmark tests that prepare them for the actual test. The schools are so focused on tests and accountability matter that many schools are reducing or dropping recess completely. The Arts have also been removed from schools in order to focus on “the important stuff.” The reading curriculum of Common Core centers on non-fiction reading materials; and some of the “new” reading materials are not child appropriate despite what “the experts” say. Research indicates that 51% of instruction time is lost to classroom management matters: roll, discipline, redirection, etc.
So less recess, no arts, less non-fiction (creative based) literature, and less time in the classroom because instruction must take place for assessments to begin.
For children who are highly creative, this type of environment can become stifling. Children who’s passions for the Fine Arts will not be nourished in a traditional school setting. Gifted and Talented Programs, where these children could receive some individualized programming, are limited to approximately 150 minutes per week in some states. Parents have to look for after-school options for dance, drama, art, music, and voice.
Creative children can also be creative through natural experiences. In a traditional school setting, the child who is obsessed with bugs will not be able to explore the outdoors to discover how these interact with the environment. A child who is interested in different birds and bird calls would not have the opportunity to explore and listen. The child who wants to integrate nature and art would be confined to unauthentic methods (technology based vs. sitting and observing) of meeting this goal.
Homeschooling provides all these methods without question. Parents may still have to outsource classes in the afternoons, but during the day other tasks can be completed. The time away at an afternoon class can be counted as part of school hours in many states. There are many learn at home options for art and music.
At home, the limitations for creativity are imposed by the parents. Even with the workbook based, boxed curriculum parents can find creative ways to supplement for creativity. Pinterest is full of ideas for nearly every topic imaginable.
There are several ways that parents can still use a boxed curriculum while promoting creativity:
- Reduce the amount of workbook content by selecting half of the problem for your child to complete. If they miss any problems, the you will have the remaining half for supplement.
- Reduce the time you spend on a topic. Does a child need 60 minutes of math? Would 30 minutes be more effective?
- Compact the curriculum by teaching two similar topics in the same lesson. Capitalization and ending punctuation can be integrated into the same lessons by emphasizing the beginning and the ending of a sentence.
- Extend your school day for 4 days a week and take off one day for creative expression. This day could have an assignment based in the lessons from the week. A writer could create a children’s story based upon a science or history topic discussed. A painter could paint a scene from a story, science, history, or use mathematics in artistic expression.
Parents who are eclectic in their approach to homeschooling can find a variety of methods for teaching key concepts through following standards. There are a few curriculum options that focus on learning through the arts.
The importance of creativity cannot be fully expressed in a blog post. It is seen throw the artists works. It activates both sides of the brain according to Rosenthal (Klinger, 1999). When we focus on academics, we lose sight of our expressive self. Yes, assignments, tests, and other areas of academics are important but so is learning to be creative. Think of the most brilliant minds of old… Tesla, Einstein, Franklin, da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc. You can see their brilliance and expression within their work.
Homeschooling will not make your child a genius or the next famous painter. What homeschooling does is allow more time and opportunity for creativity.