I thought I knew all about homeschooling after a few years of working with my oldest son. Diligent, dedicated, focused on his work and having a great memory, he has been easy to homeschool. His favorite subjects are science and math. He hates play dough and doesn’t love painting.
In come my twins. Artistic, creative, imaginative, visual, they see beauty, they notice details, they adore play dough and they love messy painting projects. The boy twin is more into science and math than then girl twin is, yet she is more into writing and languages than he is. They are both artists. They both love to draw, paint, sculpt, do crafts more than they love anything else. They both love fairy tales ( while my oldest loves concrete stories with clear plots that make sense.)
I figured out that their home education had to be based more on Charlotte Mason’s methods and ideas, than the rigid, classical education my oldest son has been thriving with. Charlotte Mason advocates nature study, “living” books ( real works of literature, as opposed to textbooks) as the foundation for her educational method.
Every subject we learn in homeschool with the twins has a “living” book that goes with it. Instead of learning facts about chemistry, we read a “real” book about elements and how they are used; instead of just memorizing a list of parts of speech, we also find these parts of speech in the twins’ favorite book, etc. For an artistic, creative child, their world must come alive. Bare facts bore artistic kids to death. I know, because I was one of these children.
Artistic, creative children rarely like schedules. Getting up early and having a rigid day plan is rarely their thing. However, I believe that every human can benefit from a schedule and an early rising time, so our twins get up early, eat breakfast, wash dishes and do their school work on time. The schedule instills discipline in these creative souls and I am a big believer in discipline.
I figured out that both of my twins learned better when every single thing they did was based on a story and tied together with a craft or a painting. An example of that would be studying maps. My oldest child learned geography when I pointed at the map and explained where things were. My twins learned geography when we made a play dough model of the globe and put pretty little plastic animals on that globe ( kenguru went to Australia, etc.) We also read The Geography of the World and Child’s Geography of the World to make geography alive for them.
Another example would be memorizing poetry. My oldest would just listen to a poem and memorize it. The twins needed more flavor. They had to draw the poem or act it out together in order to memorize it. They had to do it in order for the poem to “come alive” for them. Things that were mere information and not “alive” for artistic kids weren’t easily memorized.
While we still used the classical books to teach them the basics of grammar and writing (The Ordinary Parent’s Guide To Teaching Your Child Reading, First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease,) we had also utilized Draw,Write Now books to learn how to write and draw and these were a huge hit. The kids learned a lot of history, geography and science facts from these books as well. We learned cursive writing right away, because cursive is prettier. We learned how to write with ink and quill, because creative kids love artsy things.
For reading, we stuck with timeless classics, that ignited the twins’ imagination: Thornton Burgess has been a big hit. After they read a story, I ask them to narrate it back to me. When we first started narrating at five years old, I had asked the twins’ questions about the text. Now, they just tell me what was the story about.
We did a lot more manipulative play with math, than we did worksheets. Creative kids hate worksheets, for most part, because of how dry worksheets are. Math needs to be “alive” for them. We studied The Life Of Fred for its’ narrative approach to math.
For science, we read The Magic School Bus series and then made simple science journals about the concepts we had learned. We did science experiments from 75 Science Experiments to Amuse and Amaze your Friends. as they made science come alive. We also utilized a lot of materials in Russian to cover our science studies. We did nature journaling; we did crafting with materials we had found in nature. Nature Anatomy is a must-have book for a visual, creative child. It teaches what to look for in nature and what it all means with spectacular illustrations.
We learned the basics of felting, knitting and crocheting. We learned multiple painting techniques, using multiple mediums. The twins had taken clay classes and art classes. We had taken an artist study and and a composer study, using The Story of the Orchestra book.
Additionally, the twins are learning to play the piano. They are competitive swimmers and are taking language classes with my oldest: they are learning Latin, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. Most importantly, we create a learning-rich environment for the kids to foster their love of learning new things.