By Jeannie Fulbright
Young children tend to beam with pride over their own creations. As homeschooling parents, we delight in every picture they draw, every tower they build–and each new discovery is cause for celebration. Indeed, joy in creative expression, and delight in learning are natural for the young learner. Yet as our children age, too often their joyful creativity fades, and their delight in learning suffers a slow, painful demise..
Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” As a college professor, he
We all know how important
CREATIVE EXPRESSION: THE LINK BETWEEN JOY AND LEARNING
Consider our own schooling experience. Completing worksheets and memorizing facts for tests characterized much of our public school education. How strong was our knowledge of science, history, government, and foreign language? Most of us would admit that although we made decent grades, we left school with very little working knowledge of these subjects. Why? Could it be that delight in learning was rarely awakened in the classroom?
I remember well the two courses that awakened in me a joy of learning: government and creative writing. Both classes were taught by passionate professors who gave
Creative assignments stimulate the mind. They fully engage imagination and intellect, thereby activating long-term memory. This higher level of focus actually develops the critical-thinking skills and long-term retention children need to acquire before college. My teen boys took a Shakespeare course that required students to break into groups and make a movie about a character in the play Julius Caesar. Throughout the course, their conversations often led to whether or not Brutus was justified in killing Caesar. They talked about it as if it were breaking news, not ancient literature. If engaging the imagination can ignite this response in two teenage football players, creativity coupled with knowledge may indeed be the key to a lifelong love of learning.
Einstein also wrote, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but
As homeschoolers, we do not have to continue this failing legacy! Let’s instead strive to keep alive
So, how can we engage our students’ imagination in order to increase their knowledge? Replace some or many of the assignments in their
Instead of answering rote questions about the kingdom Plantae, have them create a
In place of a chapter test about the three branches of government, let them create a
Have them make a Civil War alphabet book or write a “personal” scrapbook of a soldier in W W II.
The Internet is full of ideas for projects. Google “creative idea for (subject)—high school level.”
NOTEBOOKING: CREATIVITY WITH A PURPOSE
My favorite method of
Although homeschoolers coined the term “
So what exactly does
Notebooking has been shown to be extremely effective at both fueling joy in learning and enabling long-term retention of subject matter. This is true for all ages. Of course, students must learn how to take tests and write timed essays for college, but there’s no good reason why they must abandon creative expression as they pursue knowledge. Not only will your students spend time contemplating topics longer as they work on these assignments, but by the end of the year, they will own a work of art created by their own hands and imaginations. Indeed, their notebooks will become treasured possessions.
PURPOSEFUL AND PASSIONATE
As our children grow, let’s be purposeful in cultivating their creativity as they learn. With their imaginations unleashed, the possibilities for their lives become limitless. As we seek to keep alive the natural joy in learning, our children can envision a bright future and pursue their dreams with passion. As Francis Schaeffer said, “The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”
Jeannie is the author of Apologia’s elementary science courses. As a homeschool mom of four, she enjoys encouraging parents and sharing the lessons she learned along the way. Follow her blog www.jeanniesjournal. com for homeschool encouragement, spiritual edification, and helpful tips on navigating college. Be sure to hear her at the HEAV Homeschool Convention in June!
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