5 ways to cultivate creativity for a life fully lived

5 ways to cultivate creativity for a life fully lived ~SimpleHomeschool
Written by contributor Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

“All children are artists, and it is an indictment of our culture that so many of them lose their creativity, their unfettered imaginations, as they grow older.”
—Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

We were neck-deep in The Story of the World history curriculum.

The Kingfisher and Usborne encyclopedias were stacked high on my lap, the kids leaning in close, interrupting every other sentence with, “What’s that?” “Why did they do that?” “What does that word mean?”

(Every lesson takes twice as long when the kids are actually learning something.)

I glanced at the clock; I was way behind schedule for the morning. We had finished the lesson on archeology, when both kids jumped up off the couch, a surge of creativity lighting their eyes:

“I know! Mommy, can we do an archeology dig right now? Can we dig for clues about what people used to live like? And can we put all the clues together and make a book about it?!!”

I glanced down at the list of “school” left for the day and knew what the right answer was:
[Read more...]

Practical ideas for a summer of learning

practical ideas for a summer of learning ~simplehomeschool.net
Written by contributor Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

First confession: I haven’t “done school” in three months.

Second confession: It was during these three months that Jamie asked me to be a regular contributor here at Simple Homeschool.

Final confession: My kids have learned more and I’ve learned more about them learning more (got that?) in these three months than ever before.

So the timing felt right, and that’s what I’m learning:
[Read more...]

The power of the beginner

The following is a guest post written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

I am a homeschooling beginner. My only claim to expert knowledge is the fact that I was homeschooled thirty years ago, was raised by a precious homeschool pioneer, and sat clutching my doll at 5 years of age while The Teaching Home magazine snapped our photo for its cover.

I know, hardly expert status. With just two young pupils of my own, I am very much a beginner. Yes, I’ve read books. I’ve learned from Jamie and the other contributors here. My son reads and writes and we practice life curriculum every day. But one of my greatest homeschooling goals is to remain a beginner and help my children do the same.

Instead of raising experts, I hope to raise beginners.

Why? Am I celebrating mediocrity? Encouraging ignorance?

Not at all. But I believe being a beginner has its advantages. Consider a few:
[Read more...]

From Idealistic Memories to Realistic Goals

The following is a guest post written by Kari of Sacred Mundane.

The 1985 fall cover of Teaching Home magazine features a smiling family of four together on the couch reading a book on space exploration. The five-year-old daughter grins, trying not to giggle, remembering the promise of ice cream on the way home.

I still remember choosing orange sherbet.

At the time I didn’t know we were educational pioneers, I just knew we had a great thing going. While everyone else was at school my brother and I explored the woods and picked blueberries and visited museums and rode bikes for hours on end. My mom made every moment a teachable moment, instilling in me a love for learning and cultivating curiosity and creativity. She taught me to see, to notice, to think. And most of all, to care.

But now I’m the mom, and the tricky part of having such a phenomenal homeschool experience is that my memories are idealistic and dream-like. They stand in sharp contrast to the somewhat lackluster homeschooling that takes place in my present suburban life.

While I remember hours spent by the wooded creek near our home, catching crawdads and water skippers, my children’s version is sugar ants and a garden hose trickling down the driveway.

I shake my head and wonder, “Can I really string these ordinary days into an excellent education?”

No matter what our upbringing, we all, at some point, struggle with comparing our real homeschool days with our ideal homeschool dreams. So what do we do?

Here are a few ways we can use the ideal to fuel our goals for the real.
[Read more...]