My favorite gift as a child was a banker’s box filled with art supplies. I couldn’t imagine anything better than a box full of colorful paper, crayons, glue, sequins, and glitter. My sisters each received one of these boxes too, and we spent hours making glittery creations at our kitchen table. I was never a great artist, but I did find joy in creating things.
These days, I spend my free time scrapbooking and making other paper crafts. I enjoy making things to give to other people and making things to embellish my home. I’m also a creative cook. I like to figure out new and interesting dishes, especially when my CSA box arrives. Combining foods to display their colors and textures always feels like creating a piece of art to me.
For some reason, I don’t think of my kids as creative types. This is, however, completely untrue. My kids are very creative, just not in the way I traditionally think of creativity. We have lots of art supplies in this house. I always imagined that my children would love cutting up paper and using pom poms and glitter and pipe cleaners and watercolors the way I did. They don’t. Most of our homeschool art projects are forced by Mom.
Since I am a scrapbooker, though, I get to revisit our lives when I create pages about certain events or activities. This has caused me to look through hundreds of photos that I’ve taken of my children and to marvel at the creativity that does shine through in so much of what they do. I think this creativity can be partially attributed to the fact that I’m pretty laid back about messes. For example, one sunny afternoon, I went outside to see my boys and my niece smashing boxes of sidewalk chalk with croquet mallets. Instead of being angry that they had destroyed all the chalk, I commented on the beautiful rainbow of dust all over the driveway. It also helps that I’ve exposed my kids to many different types of creative outlets. We’ve taken them to children’s museums, art museums, stage productions, concerts, etc. They’ve both attended theater classes and briefly took music lessons.
My older son has been creating comic books for a few years now. He has made up his own characters and has literally filled hundreds of pages with these comics. The drawings are very simplistic, but he spends hours and hours coming up with plots for his books. They tend to be disgusting and violent, but I’ve given up trying to get him to tone them down. His favorite character is Hamy Mommy, and he created his own birthday decorations and dictated how I was to decorate his cake for his 8th birthday.
This same son has inherited my creative cooking gene. He likes to experiment with ingredients to see what will happen. I can tell you that popcorn pancakes are not very delicious. He does make a scrumptious granola cake and has contributed good ingredient suggestions to some of my recipes. My younger son made a “vinegar cake” one time, and that was not so tasty. BLECH! That was the end of his cooking career.
My kids are also creative when it comes to their appearances. I never thought I’d be the mom who allowed her nine-year-old to have a mohawk, but he was so adamant about it, I decided it wasn’t a hill to die on. This led to several whacky haircuts, the strangest of which was a poof of hair on the top right side of his head, which we had to dye orange. The day he came down with the blue tattoos all over his arms, combined with the haircut, I was speechless.
Then, my younger son decided to wear a third eye for a few weeks. He went everywhere with a googly eye stuck to the middle of his forehead. My mother would never have allowed us to go out in public like this, I’m sure of it, but I’ve decided that it is fostering their imaginative sides. (Or, at least, that’s what I tell myself!)
I’m always astounded by the creativity of their play, too. Almost none of their toys are used for their original purpose. The Beyblade arena is turned into a hot tub for the stuffed animal spa. The swords and light sabers are laid end to end to create boundaries for an imaginary house. Their video chairs are turned on their sides and pushed together to create a hideaway. Their socks are turned into sleeping bags for their Zhu Zhu pets. One day, I walked into the master bedroom to find stacks of boxes with a “throne” on top where one stuffed animal was holding court while all the courtier stuffed animals were paying tribute on the floor below. Another day, I came home to find the Harry Potter chess set pieces circling the Lockrobot population on the floor. It made me laugh.
They save all their Halloween costumes and then rearrange the pieces to create some very comical effects. I have several scrapbook pages of the weird costume combinations. My favorite were the Dalek and Cyberman costumes they fashioned out of stuff they found in their room.
Looking back over all these pictures helps me to envision creativity in a whole new light. So, I probably will never get to do all the fun homeschool art activities I’ve pinned on Pinterest, because my kids have very little interest in that particular kind of creativity. I’m content to pursue my creative outlets and to let them pursue theirs.
Lynne–Lynne has enjoyed homeschooling her two sons for the past three years, after their brief stint in the local public school. Her older son is a humorous fellow with high functioning autism who thrives in a home education environment. Her younger son is a sensitive soul with a great deal of patience. The boys, Mom, and Dad, along with the two guinea pigs, live in Northeast Ohio. Lynne holds a Master’s Degree in French Language and Literature. She is also a Harry Potter fanatic, enjoys line dancing and Zumba, spends hours scrapbooking, and loves organic vegetables. You can visit her soon-to-be revitalized blog at www.daysofwonderhomeschool.blogspot.com.