When I was in 5th grade, we had a dress-up-as-what-you-want-to-be-someday day. I went as an artist, complete with a little red beret and oversized smock. Somebody really should have taken pictures.
I never did become an artist, but I do still love to draw. Everyone has a creative side, though it manifests differently in each of us. Clearly, writing is my creative expression of choice these days, but I also enjoy photography and my art journal sits on the bookshelf next to our school books.
Brianna loves to draw, paint, knit, and sew. Josh loves music and plays the drums and guitar (and the piano on occasion). He’s rather fond of sculpting with clay and enjoys creating things from iron at a local forge. Megan loves to paint, make jewelry, and write. She’s got half a dozen or so novels in progress at any given time.
It’s a shame to me that so many schools are cutting art and music programs because I think we have a built-in need to find some type of creative outlet. Equally sad is the fact that many homeschool parents feel inadequate to nurture their children’s creative sides. There really is no need to feel inadequate. If we go with the theory that kids have an innate desire to create, all we need to do is provide a few simple things to facilitate that need.
Homeschooling parents are in a unique position to be able to offer their kids something that is a precious commodity in today’s world – time. Because a smaller “class size” allows us to cover material more quickly, along with the fact that we’re able to cut out travel time and classroom management tasks (roll call, changing class rooms, etc.), homeschooled kids often have more free time during the day.
In today’s society, there is often the feeling that we need to fill our kids’ every waking hour with activities. Boredom, however, can be a good thing. It is often in the moments of creating their own entertainment that kids discover their passions.
Let’s face it, moms and dads, sometimes we hover. Sometimes we feel the need to direct every single activity. We need to back off. I love to listen to Josh learn a new song. It’s like I can just see the wheels turning in his brain. He’ll play a part, stop because it doesn’t sound right, and change something. Lather, rinse, repeat. He doesn’t need me (or, more accurately, his dad because I’m not musically inclined at all) to step in and show him what to do. He needs space to figure it out.
It probably goes without saying, but Megan’s personal writing does not need my red editing pen. (I don’t really have a red editing pen, but you know what I mean.) That’s her space to write, create, and get her thoughts on paper. As she reads or we do grammar in school, she’ll start to pick up on things that she can apply to her own writing – like the time that I pointed out that a shift in character dialogue was indicated by starting a new line. She later mentioned that she’d gone back in and updated the dialogue in her book.
Kids also need physical space to create. Brianna has her sewing room set up in the basement and Megan has an art desk in her room. Both can leave their supplies spread out while working on projects without anything being in the way of the general day-to-day goings on of our home.
If you don’t have space for your kids to leave their creative supplies spread out, consider creating portable centers with plastic totes or bags.
Finally, kids need the tools necessary for their particular creative bents. Josh has his guitars (yes, plural) and drums – and access to a large tub of sculpting clay. Brianna has art pens and pencils, paper, a huge basket of yarn, fabric, and sewing notions. Megan has paint, paper, pencils, notebooks, and her laptop (along with a flash drive after a scare with a laptop crash).
Make sure that your kids have access to the tools needed to express their creativity. That may mean:
- A tub of art supplies
- Fabric, yarn, or thread
- Magazines for cutting and pasting
- Paint supplies
- Sculpting clay
- Online access to tutorials (Josh learns new chords from YouTube, not me!)
- Beads and buttons
- Jewelry-making supplies
Christmas is the perfect time to stock up on the supplies needed to ignite your kids’ creativity. One year, we gave each of the kids a box of various crafting supplies as a Christmas gift. They loved it!
Artterro, a company offering eco-friendly creative art materials, shares my thoughts that
“…everyone is born creative. Sometimes the pace of modern life keeps us from making time for art…”
They feature an entire line of art kits for kids, perfect for gift-giving this Christmas. Check out their Art Journal Gift Set or the Perfect Sleepover Set, which gives your kids’ sleepover guests a perfectly creative excuse to put their electronics away and interact face-to-face.
Give your kids a gift that will inspire their creative spirit this year. From now until December 17, 2014, use coupon code WEIRD to receive a free paper pack and free shipping with any order of $30 or more. You can also enter to win a $50 digital gift card from Artterro for shopping in the Artterro store. Follow the directions on the RaffleCopter widget below to enter.
Rules: This giveaway is open to United States residents, ages 18 years and older only. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (ET) on Wednesday, December 10. The winner will be selected at random using Random.org via RaffleCopter.
The winner will notified via email and given 72 hours to respond. You must enter a valid email address to win. In the event that the winner cannot be contacted by email or does not respond within 72 hours, the prize will be forfeited and and alternate winner selected.
Click to read the complete rules. By entering this giveaway, you indicate that you have read and agreed to abide by these rules.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.