If you have educated your children at home for several years, you know how easy it is to fall into a rut — doing the same things day in and day out. Big-time creativity buster. Ready to liven things up a bit? Here are 12 ideas for inspiring creativity:
1. Schedule time for creativity to take place.
As with most things, if we really want something to happen we have to make time for it. Carve out time for creative projects. There are many ways to do this — reserve time for creative projects on Fridays, in the afternoon each day, or after lunch. Consider homeschooling all year long, six weeks on and one week off, or make your days longer four days each week so that you can go half-days Friday or take Fridays off completely.
2. Celebrate holidays and birthdays.
All types of learning can take place during the holidays, practicing skills while the content changes. For example, writing can be practiced on holiday themes; history can be learned in the context of a holiday unit study.
3. Incorporate art and music.
Creative by nature, the areas of music and art are often given short shrift in a busy homeschool schedule. Make time for art and music appreciation. Then broaden and enliven your scope with creative art and music pursuits.
4. Use a modest amount of interactive learning apps.
To be honest, only a very few of the handful of educational games we have used have been particularly effective. However, a well-done interactive provides another way to mix things up — an opportunity to shift from sitting at a table writing — and very frequently spurs new creative interests.
5. Have your child find an innovative way to solve a problem.
One year we invested in a gifted curriculum that was recommended to us, where each week a child was asked to use his skills to creatively solve a problem. The answers were by nature open-ended. These types of resources are NOT just for gifted children, but for creative children — something we want our children to be, right? So look for problem-solving “enrichment” activities and resources.
6. Productive free time: letting creativity take flight!
You may have to upgrade the interests of your child if necessary, but give him time to pursue his personal interests — to begin building his creative passion into something that will bear fruit down the road.
7. Throw out the TV.
There is nothing more stifling to creativity than a passive device!
8. Praise your child — encourage creativity.
We sometimes forget that the product is not the goal — the process is. Don’t expect perfection in the product. Guide the process — that is where creativity develops.
9. Live a learning lifestyle.
Take time to investigate the answers to questions as they come up. Creativity is frequently an outgrowth of curiosity. Read how Benjamin Franklin found things out! And curiosity is an element of a learning lifestyle.
10. Encourage interactive reading.
Interactive reading is the opposite of passively reading or being entertained — the reader is doing something with what is read. The more input we interact with, the more output we create.
11. Spend time outdoors.
Nothing inspires creativity more than spending time in exploring nature!
12. Lead by example.
As in most things, our children will learn to be creative by watching us be creative.