Jan
24
2010

Creative Schooling

Joshua being creative with blocks.

Creativity: An "image of God" trait.

One of the main themes in Love in the House (1 of 5) is creativity, what Wendy and I call “an image-of-God trait.” Creativity separates us from animals. Our shelter, our food, our choices–they all require creativity. No other creature on earth can create anything, only humans can. This is what makes us unique, created in the image of God.

Cynthia, Lydia and I spent some time in California with the Stout family. Marie was last week’s director for the Concordia Challenge (what was the largest homeschool speech & debate tournament in history). We arrived a couple days early and observed a bit of their homeschool. I was intrigued with Don’s weekly labs in his garage. See, Don is a patent attorney with two science degrees, so he and his boys–along with a few homeschoolers in the neighborhood–spend one morning a week to “do lab.”

I doubt he followed a formal science curriculum, and if he did, he steered his own course while just dabbling in it. Don loves science, and he creatively worked a lab into his busy schedule. He and his boys would wake up early once a week for lab, and Don made sure he scheduled a late arrival to the office that day. What fun!

The 16 hour drive home gave me time to think through a lot of things. I wake every morning with my boys to read Scripture, something we’ve been doing fairly consistently since August. We cover a chapter and talk about it. A great way to start the day. The boys and I then straighten up the house and make breakfast, waking the rest of the family to get the day started.

Now, creativity takes creativity, not conformity. I’m not a science guy like Don, and it would have been awkward for me to announce a weekly lab with my kids. (What happened to Dad? the kids would wonder.) I am an English teacher, a publisher, an editor and writer. Lab experiments wouldn’t go over well for me, but sentence structure, grammar and usage–whoa, baby, now we’re talking!

Time is also an issue. I’m a very busy guy. I barely am able to squeeze in the Bible lesson and breakfast with the family. How can I squeeze in language arts lessons? This is the weight I’m supposed to be carrying in our homeschool, and I hate to admit it, I’ve been a pretty lame teacher lately.

Tension. Time versus responsibility. Perfect breeding grounds for creativity. We read Matthew 21 this morning, and after a short discussion about Jesus praying, eating, sharing, buying, we launched a short lesson on suffixes and verb tense.

And we really got into it! I drew columns on notepaper and talked about the five verb tenses. Even I got a little confused, so we did a few Internet searches on the spot, discovered 12 verb tenses, and focused on the four “present” tenses, whipping up a lesson on these. As we whipped up eggs and bacon for a big breakfast, we talked about helping verbs and the ever-so slight differences between the four present tenses, bringing all sorts of examples into the discussion. The boys’ sisters woke up and heard us gabbing about “present perfect progressive” tenses, asking questions and stimulating more discussion.

This is what homeschool should be like, fully taking advantage of parent-child opportunities, spending time together and naturally working through the details of education. It reminds me of Deuteronomy 6:7, a favorite verse among homeschoolers, about teaching the laws of God: “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Or when you’re making breakfast. Or in the garage before heading to the office. You fill in the blank: when is the best time for you to press on your children the valuable lessons in education and spiritual growth?

I’m chalking up a daily activity for the kids and me. We’ll “do English” before heading to the office.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Stephanie Keaty

    Very encouraging! Instead of feeling badly that I’m no science expert and NOT an English professor….I’m praying about what my husband and I can contribute to our children that is uniquely our own. Thank you for the timely insight into the reality of home education: pouring into our children what the Holy Spirit has poured into us. May God receive all the glory.
    His blessings abound – Stephanie Keaty

  • kristi

    that is awesome!! it is so refreshing to hear about families getting involved with their kids and even going out of their “scheduled routines” to make time to share with them things they might not ordinarily get to learn with traditional schooling. best of luck and continued success for your family!! you are all truly an inspiration to me and my family. God Bless!!

  • http://jent-manyblessings.blogspot JenT

    Do I understand that the couple was Don and Marie Stout? That is weird. My maternal grandparents are Don and Marie Stout only that’s not the same couple. My grandparents live on a ranch in OK. Weird coincidence, huh?

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  • Deanna

    This is what I love about homeschooling!!! We have the opportunity to be creative on so many different levels. Wendy,..I have a very close friend that just went to the same speech conference with her two oldest. It was their first time. They have ordered your books before and we had loaned them our dvd. Wait till I tell her you were at the same one!! We so want to meet you all someday :) Our little “Love in the House” baby..will be 1 very soon. He is our miracle that was due at the same time as your youngest last year, but came two months early. I thank you so much for you and your husband’s encouragment to trust in the Lord even when in doubt. I can’t imagine our life without my Alexander..”defender of the people”. He is such a blessing, and lights up our day. May God’s blessings keep showering upon you. Much love,.Deanna and family.

  • Sargents

    Thanks, Chris, for the reminder and encouragement! The ‘shoulds’ were creeping up on me again…

  • http://www.ourfruitfulharvest.com Fruitful Harvest

    Sounds like you all had a great time with your friends!
    You pointed out the beauty of homeschooling nicely…..enjoying your kids & sharing with them what you are good at. (and not feeling down on yourself for being good at some thing differnt)

    Blessings,
    Georgiann