Friday, March 30, 2012

The Creative Side of Home Learning

I have a God given gift of Creativity. I have always loved to decorate my home, paint furniture, DIY, craft, make something from nothing,  all that stuff...=)

However, I didn't know where to START building that Art-sy creativity into my children... it seems easy right?
Hand them some water colors, a paint brush and watch their amazing new talents soar! Right?
 Naturally they would take after Mama, right?    Uh-No.

There is creativy in everything... writing, story telling, dancing, photgraphy.. music....a million ways we can be creative in the world around us.

Today I want to talk about Creativity in the ARt-sy- Craft-sy sort of way.
 This is not including scheduled studies of Master Artists.

( you may want to roll your eyes and stop reading here...saying "this is NOT for me"... Just Hold on! This is not a guilt post!)

.....And we've ALL the time in the world after schooling, dishes, house cleaning, errands and walking the dog to sit down and do some creating right? =)

I was first inspired by this book last year: The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule.
It does have a Waldor-Montessori type feel.. and many ideas are not "new" But it was very inspiring.

. Here is what a reviewer said on amazon: This is more than a project book, however (in fact, I would not even describe it as being a project book). It is more about a way of life -- taking a step back, learning that a "no" really can be a "yes," and so on. Her thoughts about toys were excellent -- again, exactly what our family has already practiced since our first child was quite small -- but, in observing so many of my friends with young children, ideas that would help many an overwhelmed family learn to say "no" to too much stuff.

I was most inspired by her tips on art supplies -- a good comprehensive list of supplies, along with tips on their storage. It's one thing that I don't think we had a good system for before, and I will definitely be incorporating some of her ideas into our life.
This book is a gem. It's small and simple. It suggests simple steps that any family can take to make their lives more family-centered and joyful.

  Fantastic! This is great for a family that really doesn't know where to start. It's a great book! - Amazon.

I wanted to find ways to encourage my children to:

To LOVE to use their IMAGINATION.

I want them to learn to be comfortable enough with creating to do it on their own.
Even if I wasn't "feelin" it.
So, What did I have to do to get there?

 I have a son who loves doing hands on crafts, but was at a total loss when you gave him a blank piece of paper or a handful of supplies. He just couldn't decide what to create OR he wanted to save the supplies and not use them so they would stay "brand new" (that was really frusterating).
Being the perfectionist that he is, he wouldn't even TRY unless he knew it was going to look like "the example" I showed him.  How did I get this little guy to enjoy creating without getting upset? To think of something to create on his own? Without it being a big ordeal EVERY time?  

And my daughter; she wouldn't even have to think about it and start creating... random.. totally random stuff.
 She was always done in 3 minutes or less too! =) KT would burn through 10 pieces of paper during drawing time so fast and then declare she was done! ---Then mommy free time was over ...just like that!


So I began to sit with her... and draw (this is one of her favorite things and we have learned she is naturally gifted in drawing) . I was involved and asked  her simple things like color it the picture after it was dran... then maybe add some other things to it... and before you know it, she created a masterpiece and was so proud!
She now sits and draws as her calm down time. When she is needing some time to chill.. she gets out her artwork set and will spend several minutes even up to an hour creating on paper or with recylables, or sewing.. on her OWN.  (keep in mind she is 5)

I sat down with my son, and brain stormed ideas. We picked out colors and supplies. We looked at crafts online ....My son may not like drawing... (which is okay) but he loves to use his creativity to build things out of recyclables, sew things, finger knit, mold with clay and that's perfectly alright with me! When he is bored... he looks for ways to be creative on his OWN! As far as him being frusterated, that will continue to take time. He is getting better.

 I know it seems impossible or perhaps insane to do a craft or set aside ART time during the week, EVERY week when we have so many other things going on. 

But it's so important for these little guys... and you know what? That time I set aside EVERY week.... Works! My children are learning to be creative. They have surprised me by their efforts and imagination.

Reading this article from The Brainy Child really helped me to better understand Creativity and Children. You also might find it helpful. =)

 Nurtering Creativity is so important..
Not just in your child's life; But in yours too!

I have many friends who say "Oh, I am not creative!" "I can't do that!"

I feel sad. Sad that they have never experienced the Joy the peace and that sense of accomplishment that comes from creating Arts-y Crafts-y Things.

Don't put aside this beautiful part of Home Learning...
Don't be intimidated!

Wether it's sewing, drawing, painting, building, designing... Be creative WITH your family.

Are you naturally creative?
Do you have a crafy thing you do?
Don't wait for when the kids are asleep, do it with them or when they are in the room.
 Let them see YOU being creative.  Set aside that time...

Did you do  & crafty things when your kids were under 6?
Have you since put it on the back burner because you think they are to old for that stuff?

 No, my friend they are not.... Set aside that time for Everyone in your family.

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." Albert Einstein


Now, I would like to share with you how I provide an EASY  "Craft ZONE"....a creative lifestyle in our home.

We have a craft room (in our basement) This room is great to leave crafts unfinished... and to come back at a better time. I keep all the stuff I don't want to see on my dining table down there...=)
It has worked really well. No Room for a dedicated space?
There are many ideas online on making a crafting area out of all size spaces! You don't need a whole room for it. I won't have one again in our next home, but for now... it works.

Remember: EASY.....
  1. In the fall and winter we leave loads of yarn in baskets around... just in case anyone wants to pick it up finger knit.
  2. Year round I have all the markers and crayons in a nice display on our school table for in the moment drawing along with blank paper in a bin.
  3.  This past year I have started really learning to sew. I turned an area in our home into the sewing room... This is always available and easy to just sit down and sew something without having to take the sewing machine out and such... They are welcome to use it at any time. I also have a box of fabric scraps they know they can browse through anytime.
  4. I made finger knitting bags for the kinders, for ON - The -Go fun!
  5. I also made each kinder a crayon roll and art pack for ON-The -Go fun!
  6. We keep sculpy and other smaller type crafts in our school room in their own bins. They can them use anytime without asking.

I made an ART board on Pinterest. We all enjoy getting ideas from here in a pinch! (I think Pinterest changed the world... don't you?) Feel free to "follow" me.


    What did we do First?

    Finger Knitting.:

     Hands down, the best thing for a little guy/gal to learn before they begin "grown up" crafts. This was such a great blessing for my kids ages 7 and 5 when they learned. Starting with just one finger. Then working your way up to a whole hand. Also we used these great knitting forks.. they are wooden. These were alot easier for KT. As young as 3 can do this!
     It provided immediate gratification along with patience.  They made leashes for the toys, necklaces, braclets, my son made a scarf, they long chains were made into so MANY fun things!

    Basic Hand sewing:
    We use felt as it's pretty sturdy for little fingers to get the hang of things. I also used large cross stitch material for them to work on with a hoop. (Or shelf liners with the holes in it work great) This really helped with little fingers.

    My Mom taught a Sewing Class at last year's Co-op.. They loved it! They learned the basics of a Sewing machine and made some great "grown up" things!

    Needle Felting - a HUGE hit again something great for ALL ages.

    Wet Felting with wool - really fun!

    A Mommy and Me drawing lesson

    We used Draw write now & 123 Draw
     books to start with. They are really great books.
     Now our NEW most favorite Drawing lessons are Dvd's from
    We are in love with this program!
     If you do one thing after reading this super long post... visit their site. They have a tip of the  day video online!
    I just ordered this for Easter for the Kids:

    Machine Sewing:
    Drawing turned into real life

    Sewing Machine: -Bunnies and Carrot sleeping bags

    The kinders love this. They really enjoy using the machine.  =) And they are learning along side me. We started by making diapers for KT's dolls, mini quilts, and pillows for their stuffed animals. Little bags to carry stuff in, more pillows, place mats etc... there is no limit! Mostly it's for their stuffed animals.. and that is great! I help with alot of it for now.. and they love that.

    Creative Children.....

    Thank you for reading today! I hope you are encouraged!

    I once heard someone say we were created in God's image. And God is SO creative... therefore we are too.. We just need to find it. It's there inside...=)

     These creative moments and ideas I shared are pretty frugal, takes minimal planning and work well with Girls AND Boys.... Really!

    And if you just aren't sure... invite some friends over! And learn together!

    Are you ready to bring the Creative side into your Home learning?

    Thursday, March 29, 2012

    Europe Wide Homeschool Conference 2012

    Since August of 2011 I have been praying & planning for our local homeschool group's biennial Homeschool Conference.

     I have never done a conference, much less attended one in the states. This was all new territory for me. But when God calls you to do something, you just have to jump in and ....well.. do it! =) I do however have a heart to encourage other homeschooling mamas.
     I  enjoy planning parties, and other functions so that helped a little. =) But the vision and inspiration was totally from the Lord.

     Our conference was this past weekend. It was a MAJOR Success!

    Families were renewed in their Homeschool Journey, Moms were refreshed and excited about planning the new school year, Dads were challenged, and New homeschoolers were inspired and fired up to begin a new season in their life!

    There was a first year homeschooling mama who came up to me as soon as the conference ended, and with tears, she shared with me that she had told her family that she Quit the day before.

    She was done. Haven't we all been there?

    And her husband encouraged her to come to the conference anyway... you know what happened? God showed her the Big picture. He showed her she CAN do this. This lovely lady left  encouraged and ready to continue in her Homeschool journey!

     If you have never had a chance to attend a Conference in your area... I encourage you to do so! You will be greatly encouraged. Even though for myself and the many volunteers it took to run this, were running around missing sessions here and there .... we ALL left with a renewed excitment to continue on in our Homeschooling Journey! Isn't God awesome??

    We were blessed to have Heid St. John and Cathy duffy as our main speakers.
    What an HONOR.  We are so thankful they both love Military Families!

    90 Families joined us from all over Europe! Isn't that amazing? England, Holland, Finland, Belgium & Germany!

    I just want to share a few photos of our weekend.

    We were also blessed to have an amazing German Homeschooling family attend the conference.: Jurgen Dudek opend our conference Friday evening and shared the trials of homeschooling in Germany.

    You may have heard of them from the HSLDA  HERE. Please take a moment to watch/read their story HERE and HERE . Just a truly wonderful Jesus loving family!

                                                    Dear friends of ours and the speakers:

    We were blessed to have the whole conference recorded. If you would like a copy please send me an email ( I would be happy to give you a DVD of the conference. You will be encouraged! Wether you are first time homeschooling or a Veteran. =)

    Our guest speakers books:
    Fantastic books!!!


    Find them on Facebook!!!

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    Frohe Ostern....Celebrating Easter in Germany

    Over the next few weeks I would like to share what we do during the Easter Season here in Germany!
    This is the first of a 3 part series. ( I feel so professional!)

    Every Easter season or as we like to call it "Resurrection celebrations..." I take the kinders to the local German Chocolate factory.

     It's our kick-off to spring! It's usually about a month before Easter and it gives them a chance to get all the fun of Secular Easter traditions (chocolate, bunnies, goodies, decorate eggs, etc)  out of the way so I can focus on the true meaning of Easter with the kinders during Easter week.... If I don't start out a month or before, then I feel like it sneaks up on me, and before you know it... we are quickly breezing through the story of Easter in time for church on Easter Sunday! And then all the other things take away from Jesus! =)

    This month in particular I was hosting the Europe Wide Homeschool conference and things were crazy. I was behind in school, sleep, and dishes! This made our day out extra special because I surprised the kids and we got in the car and had a great day together! They hadn't had much "mommy time" and it was needed! =)

     It was so cool, because the machines were running this time and we were actually able to watch the ENTIRE process! The kids just love this part... and the giant 7 foot bunny they were making...

    We happened to go on their Kick off day (totally by accident) and they were able to do some cool marble painting techniques on plastic eggs!

                                          They of course each had to pick out a chocolate bunny....

    I love Spring time in Germany... all the decorations in the shop windows, and around the villages are so beautiful.... Here are some of our favorites:

    Idar -Oberstein Rock Digging shop (rock eggs)

    Shop Windows....

    Do you have an Easter tradition?

    Are you living here in Germany? 
     Please take a moment to visit some great Easter Markets in the area:

    Local Easter Markets This weekend

    Easter Market - michelstadt ( we are heading to this one saturday!)

    Thanks for visiting!
    Related Posts with Thumbnails