So, I’ve mentioned this on the Facebook page, but I recently started homeschooling my daughter. She just finished up the fourth grade, and we did the last two months of the school year at home. We’re planning on doing this for at least one more year, if not longer. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. In the meantime, I’ve been working on juggling my blog, personal aspirations, and my newfound role as a teacher. Unfortunately, my blog has suffered. My aspirations have suffered. I haven’t yet found the balance.
But that’s not the confession that I’m here to talk about. My big confession is about art. It’s about the fact that this creatively confident Mama and her creatively confident kiddo did absolutely no art, no crafts, no creative projects during our seven weeks of homeschooling. None. I covered the basics. Plenty of math and language arts, some interesting science and history, and lots of exercise for P.E. Her violin lessons covered music. But art? We did nothing. I don’t even know how that’s possible. How did art fall so far down my priority list? Did I not decide to homeschool partly to give my daughter more time to engage in her interests and strengths? Did I not want her to have the freedom to create without all the rules and guidelines that public school threw her way?
I have no real explanation for this, except for the pressure of keeping up with the school ‘Joneses’. I’m pretty sure I was so focused on making sure that I caught her up, making sure that I filled the gaps I felt had started forming in her public school education, that missed something important. I missed something that I’m telling other people to prioritize, to make time for. The last thing I want, while my daughter is home, is to stifle her creativity, allow it to stagnate. And the truth is, we’re stagnating together. I’m not creating much myself.
So, that’s my confession. I’m not practicing what I preach. When I did my presentation for preschool parents on cultivating creativity at home, I stressed several important ingredients for creative success. One of those ingredients is time. We all need time to devote to creativity. If we aren’t willing to set aside a little time to create, in whatever fashion we choose, we will never grow that creativity and we will never increase our confidence. Time. It’s essential. It’s something I should have had in abundance, with M at home full-time, but I didn’t set it aside. I didn’t make it a priority. I didn’t listen to my own advice.
What’s the solution? Now that I’ve identified the problem, what can I do, going forward, to stop this downward slide of creativity in my own home?
I need to start setting aside the time. If that means that I have to start scheduling art time during our week, that’s what I’ll do. I’d rather not be so rigid, but if I’m going to sit around being rigid about math and language arts, I might have to approach art the same way…at least until I figure out how to relax about those other pesky subjects. I might decide to make one day per week an art day, where art becomes the focus. I can even build lessons around the art, folding in our other subjects.
The good news is that it’s summer. I’ve got time to figure things out. I’ve got the warm summer months to come up with a plan for the fall. I’ve got lazy days to sit around in the art room, creating and remembering. Remembering how good it feels to dabble, to paint, to drip, to smear colors along a canvas with our fingers. Remembering how exhilarating it is to experiment, try something new, prize the successes and satisfyingly crumple up the failures.
If you are having trouble making time for creativity in your home, you’re not alone. Join me on a quest to set aside more time for exploration, more time for creation. Look at your own schedule, figure out how you can fit a little time, here and there, to create. It’s possible. We can do it. Let’s do it together!