For the past year I have been homeschooling our six year old son. As a former teacher I had a good grasp on the basics of teaching a young child to read and write, but what I was not versed in was play. Strange, right? You would think that if a person taught kindergarten they would understand the importance of play, but I'm not talking about play just for kids. I am speaking about the need for adults to lead by example.
We have now been homeschooling for nine months and it has taken me until this month to figure out the importance of my own playful, creative attitude. Teaching my son isn't just about instructing him on the basics of reading and writing. It is also about sharing with him my passions and interests. If I'm not doing that, I am probably holding back.
For example, I have a BA in Studio Art and I have been a passionate writer and reader since I was a very young child. I love to play with words, make rhymes, compose songs, dive into paints. I have been writing stories and poetry since I was seven, but I had not introduced my favorite artists, writers, opera singers and other creatives to my son. Why not?!
There was a time a long time ago when learning how to draw, learning how to compose music, reading poets and the tales told by fantastic storytellers was considered an important of educating a child. As we have turned more and more to manufactured education we have lost our grasp on how important these influences are on our children. Showing children examples of great art work and great writers helps them to dream, open their minds to all they could achieve. It helps them innovate and we need innovators to move us successfully through the 21st century. Educating our children is not simply about teaching the basics of reading and writing skills. It is also about facilitating the immeasurable skill of imagination and innovation. Without these traits our children are educated to merely be machines, cogs in a wheel of a larger top down, uninventive society that is ruled by a few at the top who may or may not have the best interests of our society and our children in mind.