Over the years, I’ve had more than a few parents tell me that they’re not creative enough to homeschool. It always leaves me feeling a little sad and slightly
Because I truly believe that every single one of us is creative.
I don’t want this to sound patronizing AT ALL, as if I’m virtually patting you on the head and saying, “There there, don’t you fret, you ARE creative. Here, let’s paint together and then do some cartwheels and maybe design a little jewelry afterward!“
Ummm… definitely not.
I don’t want to minimize the way that you feel about your creativity, (or the lack of creativity you perceive) nor do I want to convince you to start engaging in activities that frankly, you might not enjoy.
But here’s the thing…
I have yet to meet another human being who I ended up getting to know, without also discovering their incredible creativity.
Every single one of these people has been creative.
But unfortunately, our culture tends to project some pretty narrow definitions of creativity onto all of us. This means that if we don’t fit into certain preconceived ideas, we don’t believe we’re creative.
Do you sing, dance, play an instrument, write, or paint? And if you do any of these things are you good? Like, insanely good?
If you don’t dance like Misty Copeland, sing like Josh Groban, play piano like Lady Gaga, or write like J.K. Rowling then are you actually talented? Are you even truly creative?
Oh, good grief!
Between societal pressures and our own (often crippling) perfectionism and fear of rejection, it’s common to abandon our own creative desires because we either don’t feel good enough or we don’t recognize our creativity as actual creativity.
This is such a shame!
And this often seeps into our thoughts and fuels our insecurity as we consider whether or not we have what it takes to homeschool.
“I’m not creative enough to homeschool!”
If you feel this way about yourself, I want to assure you, you are NOT alone.
SO many people struggle with their own insecurities surrounding creativity.
But I am here to tell you, you ARE creative enough to homeschool!
Consider the following list of creative outlets:
Drawing, writing, reading, painting, sewing, knitting, cooking, baking, gardening, woodwork, creating games, doing puzzles, playing card and board games, performing magic tricks, graphic design, dancing, scrapbooking, pottery, sculpting, flower arranging, playing a musical instrument, acting, singing, composing songs, playing sports, cake decorating…
The creative options are seriously endless!
before we go any further, I want you to ask yourself the following questions:
- In what area(s) do I feel creative? (See the list above. But if your honest answer is, “none” then go straight to the next question.)
- What do I enjoy doing? (Don’t overcomplicate this. Don’t answer the way you THINK you should answer. Keep this super simple; just be sure these are activities you actually enjoy.)
- What did I love doing as a child? (This is an especially great question to ask yourself if you are struggling to identify what you enjoy doing NOW, as an adult. One of our greatest clues to what creative outlets we enjoy, is often what we enjoyed doing as a child.)
- What am I CURRENTLY curious about? (What sparks a little interest in you right now? Again, don’t overcomplicate this. Nice and simple.)
Based on your answers to these questions, your first action step is to incorporate as much of your own creativity, enjoyment, and curiosity into your life.
Look, I get it, you’re busy. Who has time for all of this creativity, enjoyment, and curiosity?
I’m telling you, this is one of the greatest gifts you can give your family. When your children see parents who are interested, curious, engaged, and participating in things that bring them joy, they see that these are qualities equally as important to have as an adult.
I share this from experience!
This doesn’t have to be crazy expensive or time-consuming. Simply choose something you really enjoy and infuse it into your life whenever you can.
And even if you don’t believe me, I want to provide you with plenty of resources to help you feel equipped to at least provide your children with lots of rich creative resources.
If you don’t identify with being CREATIVE, just begin with these baby steps, OK?
Enjoyment and curiosity are great places to start!
Now let’s consider some ways to incorporate creativity into homeschooling for a parent who doesn’t feel creative enough AT ALL to homeschool.
Easy ways to add creativity into your homeschool:
For young kids, I highly recommend “go-to” boxes that are pre-assembled with plenty of hands-on activities. These are simple, grab and go boxes that will provide plenty of inspiration for creativity!
Simply take a plastic tub, (I prefer clear so you can easily see the contents) and fill it with supplies. Choose whatever size makes sense to hold the necessary contents inside.
1. Outdoor “Chalk Box”
Include all different colors of chalk! You might want to add a squirt bottle and some paintbrushes as well. This can serve as a great “grab and go” outdoor art project box. And if you’re in a bind and really don’t want to deal with cleaning up much mess, you can forego the chalk and just do water and paintbrushes instead!
2. Sensory Bags Box
Fill with bags of dried beans,
3. Marshmallow Build Box
Make sure to include LOTS of marshmallows, (different colored marshmallows are especially fun!) and LOTS of toothpicks. There are so many creative shapes your child can build.
4. Painting Box
Fill with acrylic paints and paintbrushes. Also include a variety of materials (bubble wrap, marbles, toothpicks, string, cotton, sponges…) to use for different textures and techniques. It would be a good idea to throw in a cheap plastic table cloth and some plastic cups as well, (to fill with water and to rinse paint brushes).
5. Crafting Box
Include markers, crayons, colored pencils, wooden craft sticks, pom-poms, felt squares, google eyes, string, yarn, buttons, glue, stickers, scissors, and LOTS of different colored paper. Then
6. Shaving Cream Box
Include a few cans of cheap shaving cream and a tray. Enjoy finger painting in the tray, or outside on the ground.
7. Puzzle Box
This one is super simple. Just a box full of puzzles. Choose one and you’re all set!
8. Lincoln Logs Box
Yep, just a bunch of good ol’ Lincoln Logs to get some creative building going!
9. Wooden Blocks Box
A bunch of wooden blocks, colored or not, make for plenty of open-ended imaginative construction!
10. Modeling Clay Box
I’m a big fan of the air dry clay, especially for younger kids. Lots of great creativity to be had with modeling clay!
Additionally, if you’ve got the outdoor space for it, outdoor nature art is also a blast. Using objects like leaves, sticks, twigs, rocks, pebbles, flowers, grass, pine cones, dirt, and mud can provide all of the natural materials needed to create some cool nature art.
What about ideas for older kids?
While older kids might still enjoy some of the suggestions above, there are also SO many inspiring and creative instructional videos they can check out.
Of course, we want to keep our children safe online so be sure to use any parental controls you feel are important and discuss specific details of online safety with your children.
Check out YouTube Kids for a platform with a variety of safety features and tons of great instructional, creative, and inspiring videos
Also, have board games, picture books, chapter books, audiobooks, puzzles, and music available!
For tweens and teens, there are lots of options too!
A great place to start for tweens and teens is YouTube. I mean the variety of FREE instructional videos is ridiculous! Drawing, painting, knitting, crocheting, performing magic tricks, hair and make-up tutorials… you’ll find everything under the sun!
Just be sure to review online rules and expectations with your tween/teen and again, use any parental controls and filters that you deem necessary.
Is your tween interested in cake decorating?
Yolanda Gamp of How to Cake It is fantastic!
Do you have an aspiring writer on your hands?
Look into Teen Ink or NaNoWriMo. And be sure to check out your local library too! My daughter and her friend recently participated in a writing contest offered through our local public library and both girls had their stories published in an anthology. It never ceases to amaze me what incredibly rich, FREE resources are available at the library! As a reminder, please check the content at Teen Ink and NaNoWriMo to see if you feel it is appropriate for your child.
Are they showing an interest in gardening?
Provide a bag of potting soil, a few pots, gardening gloves, and a spade. Then let your teen choose some flowers to plant. Check out these videos for more inspiration.
Does your teen want to learn more about cooking?
Are they expressing interest in learning a musical instrument?
The Ukulele Teacher on YouTube is a great place to start!
It’s important that you understand that YOU do not need to provide all of the creative instruction in your homeschooling!
In fact, I am a HUGE advocate of outsourcing. Between local vendors, classes, co-op groups, friends and family members with various talents, chances are you’ve got a wealth of opportunity you can access.
Not only will outsourcing help save your sanity, but you are likely to find some pretty incredible resources for your child, (and maybe even for yourself!)
Head over to
Before wrapping up, I want to suggest 10 action steps that you can take, starting today!
1. Practice having a positive mindset
Even if it feels silly initially, starting telling yourself that you are creative. “Fake it til you make it!”
2. Recognize that there are many forms of creativity
Look for examples of creativity all around you and notice how diverse these examples are.
3. Choose one thing you are curious about and pursue it
Feel free to start simple and small. This doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.
4. Set creative projects up for success
What the heck does this mean!?!
Well, if your children are going to be painting, make sure it’s taking place in an area that is conducive to making a mess. A designated room, outside, or on your kitchen table with drop cloths or plastic table cloths on the table and floor.
If big messes make you feel crazy, you might want to look into outsourcing. No shame here!
5. As much as possible, give your kids free reign
I’m not implying that your 5-year old have no bedtime and not have to brush his teeth! I’m not suggesting that your teenager have no curfew and have 24-7 access to technology.
Not at all!
But I am suggesting that you provide your children with lots of open-ended materials, space, and time to explore their creativity.
6. Let your kids see you experimenting creatively
Maybe you sit alongside them and play with modeling clay. Or you try a new recipe, practice some hand lettering, or watch a YouTube tutorial on braiding hair.
It doesn’t matter what you try! And the goal is not to become “good” at anything! It’s simply for the pure joy of expressing creativity.
7. Incorporate “creative tools” to inspire you
What do I mean by “creative tools”?
Anything that encourages getting into a creative state.
Background music, dancing around your living room, surrounding yourself with inspiring artwork, doing some yoga or meditation, visiting a local museum or aquarium, or chatting with an encouraging friend.
These can all be considered “creative tools” to nurture creativity.
I’ve already mentioned the benefits of outsourcing extensively, so I’ll end this one here.
9. Develop a “practice makes better” mentality.
Instead of “practice makes PERFECT”, I like to emphasize “practice makes BETTER”.
This alleviates so much pressure to have to perform, achieve, and perfect. When we embrace a “practice makes better” philosophy, we open ourselves up to way more humor, grace, compassion, and guess what else? Yep… creativity!
10. Embrace Your Mistakes.
This is easier said than done, believe me, I get it.
But as soon as we shift into viewing so-called “mistakes” as lessons, we begin to radically shift our perspective and begin to develop a growth mindset.
Maybe you’re now able to identify your own creativity in ways you never noticed before. If so, hooray!
Or maybe you’re still struggling to recognize your unique creative talents. And that’s perfectly fine too. This can often take some time.
Either way, I hope I’ve provided you with some simple and practical tools to help you and your family embrace various creative outlets in ways that will nurture and inspire you!
Also, be sure to check out the following posts in this series:
As you discover your own unique tools and sources for creativity, please let me know what you’re doing. I’d LOVE for you to share!