I have entitled this post encouraging creativity, but I could have just as easily called it encouraging choice making. I have a creative lad so I’ve learned to spotlight the creativity of making choices. 🙂
How to Teach Choice-making
Children sometimes need to be guided in making choices. It can be, afterall, a rather daunting prospect to figure out what you want to do in the course of day. What if mom gets mad? Or Dad doesn’t like the decision you made? What if the choice you made is completely wrong? Or you end up not liking the choice you made? The what-ifs’ can stop some children from making any decisions. So then you start small.
Small needs to be determined by your student. It could be as simple as, jam or peanut butter? Do you want to do math or reading first? Do you want to use the blue pencil or the red one? Something small and then slowly work your way up.
The Value of Choice Making
What is the benefit of offering choices?
- Confidence: It does wonders to a child to know they can make their own decisions, and be able to live with them.
- Control: Some youth just need that sense of control. They want to figure out what works best for them. Some guidance may be need, but mostly, they just want to decide when and where they wish to do a task.
- Responsibility: Live up to your obligations, complete the tasks that have been set out for you.
- Sense of Value: their opinions and decisions matter, that this particular child matters.
- Creativity gets fostered: Choosing how to do a project, deciding what colours matter in an art project, discovering the joy in doing history before math, etc. Encourage abstract thinking in your children.
- Teach problem-solving: Not all decisions will be good ones, how will your child resolve the problem? What lessons will they learn when things go awry?
The Creativity of Choices
One of our earliest uses in encouraging creativity was in art. I combined poetry with art. I’d read a poem from a book called Imagine a Day. There’s a number of them in the series, I’ve linked (aff) below the ones we’ve used.
I’d read a section to him without showing him the page (as I covered up as much of the page as I could so I wouldn’t be influenced) and then we’d each draw what we thought the author was imagining. We’d talk about the words being used as we drew. Sometimes the work we did was incredibly similar (barring the age difference) and sometimes what we saw was very different. What a grand time of exploration. Words, drawing, conversation, and creative expression.
We used a program for about a year called MathArt. This program did it’s best to combine math with the larger world around us. It was a great program to get my son thinking differently about math. The creative approach to math was what my lad needed, and sometimes that is to your students’ benefit. It also naturally encouraged students to make choices.
Last year my lad studied world war 1, he did a series of research projects. I gave him a list and said: “each project needs to be different, here are your options.”. He did video reports, brochures, essays, and more. Was he always delighted? No, he prefers to write straight-up papers, but knowing different ways to present material will serve him well in the long run don’t you think?
That’s what choice-making is to me you know. It’s the creative ways that people use their life experiences to make decisions. They don’t always make sense to me, and mine won’t always make sense to you, and that’s okay. The question is… will we learn from the choices we make? Will the choices we make benefit us and give us the courage we need to make more decisions… for good or ill?
How do you encourage creativity of decision making in your household?