Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 Essentials of Homeschooling: How to Succeed in Creativity Without Really Trying

 This week I am going to talk to you about the 5 Essentials of Homeschooling. Instead of writing about my favorite brand of #2 pencil and math curriculum, I want to talk to you about what I consider to be truly Heart issues. Of course, these issues are what I have found to be true in my own experience. They might be different for you. My topics for the week are Discipline (the self kind, not the a timeout…though you might need one), Flexibility (and if you can put your leg over your head I don’t want to hear about it), Creativity (you might be able to borrow someone else’s), Teachability (believe it or not…you’re not done learning)  and Grace (I need it daily!). My apologies to those who really wanted to know my thoughts on dry erase boards (I like them) and co-ops (I am slightly afraid of them). Happy Reading!

Josiah and his friend, Corey. I know I do all my best thinking with a pot on my head. How about you?

I’ve heard it from some of you before. “I’m really not creative enough to Homeschool.” Well. I have an opinion about that. 

For one, if you are currently homeschooling or contemplating homeschooling you have activated some Creativity. Keeping your kids at home to educate them is certainly thinking out of the box. You have thumbed your nose (as respectfully as you can) at the institution and are doing what you feel is best for your children and family. 

And being creative doesn’t mean that you wander around with paint pallets attached to your hand. In some circles, I am considered to be “Artsy Fartsy”(sorry, Mom). My own artistic endeavors are certainly not of the Masterpiece grade. And truthfully, I am not sure where I put my paint pallets to begin with (have you folks seen my homeschool cabinet?)

I must admit, however, that Creativity does have its benefits in homeschooling. A lesson on Medieval Weaponry is going to have more of a lasting impression if it accompanied by the creation of said weaponry along with a furious and passionate demonstration. Just reading about a Flanged Mace is not going to have the same effect as the construction of a Flanged Mace. I speak from experience.

My niece, Madalyn. I am a bit jealous of that tutu and boa....

Keep this little thought in mind. Most teaching and learning in a Public school classroom is geared toward an auditory and visual learner. I am not saying that there are not wonderful teachers out there that don’t step out of the box and create wonderful learning environments for all types of learners. As a homeschool parent, however, you are given the wonderful opportunity to provide learning experiences that will grab the attention of even your busiest fella. 

That being said there is also a darker side to Creativity. Sometimes simple is better. Sometimes it’s easy to get away from the point. There has been an occasion or 10 that has found me up to my elbows in creative projects…only to discover I’ve overwhelmed myself and my son. If that is possible. Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do. There is nothing wrong with Consistency. In fact, you will not see the kind of results you want unless you have it.

Digging into the Dark Side is not the point of this post. I want to share with you a few ways to add just a bit of Creativity to your homeschool…whether or not you feel you have one ounce of the “Artsy Fartsy” in you (again..sorry, Mom).

1.       Outsource.You might not feel you are capable of teaching a certain subject or discipline. I bet you know someone who can. Even if that someone is on Youtube. There are so many resources available today. We really have no excuse not to take advantage of them. My mom gives Josiah a Master Art Class every now and again. She has been teaching art for years in different capacities and is able to harness Josiah’s own creative energy.

2.       Borrow Some Else’s Inspiration. The older I get the more I find that I have few original thoughts or ideas. Seriously. Someone has dreamed up everything that is floating around in my head before. Or they have dreamed up something I couldn’t even begin to imagine. This is why I like Pinterest. I do believe Pinterest was created just for me. Even if you don’t take advantage of this resource, create a file of potential cool projects when planning your lessons. You’ll be surprised how much easier Creativity comes when you have someone else do all the thinking for you. 

3.       Just A Dab Will Do You. No one said that every lesson has to be complete with costumes, props and a sound track. Pick and choose your projects. We live in a small space. I can’t dig out the clay every day (oh the joy of the rhyme!). Some might find that one big project a month is all they need to succeed (hah!). Sometimes, however, Creativity is just a matter of presenting a lesson or concept in a different way.  

4.       Expose Yourself! Keep your skirt on. It’s not that sort of exposure I’m talking about. I really believe that Creativity can come to those who surround themselves with it. Take a look at your walls. Do you enjoy pretty artwork? How about exposing you and your children to some of the Greats. I love Classical Music, but you don’t have to be a lover of Beethoven to truly appreciate music. Fill your life with beautiful inspiration…pretty colors, interesting textures, enriching moments…I think you will find that it is richer for it. I believe that even introducing your kiddos to great literature can only help to inspire. Josiah and I were listening to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while we completed our chores today. You can guess that it prompted some interesting conversation!

So go forth into the world my Fruity Friends! Embrace the creative side of Creativity with gusto. I look forward to hearing about your next joust.

This post is just one of my 5 Essentials of Homeschooling. If you wish (and have a break in the midst of recreating the Hoover Dam) check out Day 1 (Discipline) and Day 2 (Flexibility)

I am part of a large (and very creative) group called The Schoolhouse Review Crew. I am joining up with some of these gals for a Blog Hop of ginormous proportions. You can find a few posts by vising the blogs below. Or click on the banner for the whole list.

Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Heather @ Thrift Schooling
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos
Amy @ Homeschool Encouragement
Monique @ Living Life and Learning
Jenn @ Fresh Start Academy
Lori @ Special Connection Homeschool

 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials 

Come back tomorrow! I will be talking about Teachability.


  1. That's a new one on me: "I'm not creative enough to homeschool."

    We're studying the Middle Ages. We're going to have to make flanged maces now. I found a great post (Thanks, Pinterest!) on making catapults, too. Good thing the weather is nice.

    My favorite line: " Keep your skirt on. It’s not that sort of exposure I’m talking about." Good thing you clarified.

    1. About 'exposure'...these days one never knows. :<)


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