Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Homeschooling Among Authors: Creating Creatives

My fellow spec-fic author, homeschooler, and Realm Makers attendee, Aaron DeMott asked in the Realm Makers Alumni Facebook group (sorry, RM alumni only), "So, out of curiosity, how many of us either were homeschooled, or homeschool our kids?"

I expected quite a few to answer "ME!" but I was actually a little overwhelmed by the response.

My last count was 41 group members either homeschool(ed) their kids, were homeschoooled themselves, or both. To put this in perspective: the group has 144 members (although Realm Makers had 155 attendees). According to Facebook, of those only 75 actually saw the post.

41 out of 75 is more than half, for those of you who are math-challenged. More. Than. Half.

That proportion probably doesn't carry over to the other 80 conference attendees who didn't see the post, but even if ten of those people are homeschoolers, that puts the total conference proportion at about one-third, which is pretty high.

Add to that the dozen-ish homeschoolers I know on Facebook alone who write this genre and know about Realm Makers but could not attend this year.

I searched online for reasons people choose to homeschool. The reasons I found after visiting about a dozen articles were:

  • Better academics through home learning 
  • Inferior academics at local public school
  • Can't afford private school
  • Religious reasons
  • Family situation (such as moving a lot)
  • Child(ren) with disabilities or special needs
  • Safety/avoiding bullying
  • Desire for a more tightly bonded family
  • Gifted or self-motivated child who is not challenged by public school
  • Child involved in other pursuits (sports, etc) that take large amounts of time
  • Desire for control of curriculum

Hm. I noticed not one of those includes a desire for more creative pursuits. Yet, most homeschooled kids--at least the ones I know, and I know a lot--are creative. Writers, artists, musicians, video game designers, computer programmers, entrepreneurs, photographers, robotics designers...the list goes on.

Whether it is our intent or not, homeschooling families tend to create an environment that fosters creativity. 
  • Maybe it's because we can plow through lessons in fewer hours, leaving more time for creative activities. 
  • Maybe it's because we are forced to be creative as parents in order to teach from home, often multiple grade levels at the same time. We have to be flexible when the school room is the living area, and there are pets running around, and babies and toddlers, and our curriculum is all over the board, and we set that example.
  • Maybe it's because we only have our own children to teach, and we really know them, and can therefore totally see those creative sparks and encourage them to grow.
  • Maybe it's simply genetics--creative people are drawn to schooling that allows/needs creative thinking, and we're making kids with the same tendencies.
  • Or maybe it's related to public schools cutting back on creative classes.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains: Homeschoolers have a high proportion of creatives. And it should not have surprised me at all that there were so many of us at Realm Makers. 

So let's add to that list of Why to Homeschool:



Janet Ramsdell Rockey said...

This is so true. I've observed that many home-schooled students possess a higher level of maturity, knowledge & wisdom beyond their years, and a creative spirit!

Victoria Grace Howell said...

This is really interesting. I'm one of the people in the RM group that answered that I was homeschooled. My parents, my mom especially, encouraged us to be creative. We took art lessons and piano was our "sport." Because I could get school done at my own pace I had more time for music, writing, sculpting, painting, and other forms of art. It was one of my favorite aspects of being homeschooled.

Kat Heckenbach said...

It's really cool knowing others see the same things I do in this. Thanks, Janet and Victoria!