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Homeschooling a Creative Child
Q: Our seven-year-old is very creative and has a wonderful imagination. However, he is not at all interested in doing any work at school. His teacher has said that he is very bright, and, if interested, he absorbs what is said and uses it at a later date if needed. We've tried a number of approaches with no results. This is very frustrating for both me and the teacher. My husband and I are thinking about getting tougher about school work at home before any playtime. Maybe homeschooling would work?
A: You almost answer your own question with your first sentence: "He is very creative and has a wonderful imagination." He currently has no outlet each day for his creativity and imagination -- a common problem with schools. In fact, the emphasis in school is order, restraint, quiet learning, and routine. This setting is just the opposite of what your energetic, creative seven-year-old boy needs! In fact, many boys have difficulty with this learning mode, more so than girls.
Picture it from your son's point of view. He has wonderful ideas running through his head: toys he wants to build, games and characters he wants to invent, and problems he'd like to solve. Instead, he's made to sit quietly, learn about subjects that are meaningless to him, and remember facts that are both boring and irrelevant to a seven-year-old. I think I'd squirm a little too!
And now, these facts that were too boring to learn during the day will be forced upon him at night. Your family time together will become a battleground. Yes, with enough struggling, you'll eventually make him learn the particular fact or figure, but what is the cost? Will this help him love learning? Will he see learning as an exciting part of living or as something quite repulsive being thrust upon him each day -- and now at night, also?
Many moms across the country have faced this problem and have turned to homeschooling as an answer. There are currently almost 2 million homeschoolers in this country. Homeschooling provides a safety net for boys just like your son. Rather than stifle or eliminate that creative energy, homeschooling encourages and nurtures it. He sounds like a bright little boy who would flourish in a homeschool environment.
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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.