As I sat down to write a new post for Growing Creative Kids, the house was too quiet so I popped Harry Potter into the DVD player for some background sound. This isn’t in itself unusual it is my preferred background noise, possibly because the movies are so well done and are creative on many different levels.
Today was different. The background noise jumped to the foreground and hit me over the head. Immediately, I opened a new word document and put the following quote at the top of my page:
It is the view of the Ministry that a theoretical knowledge will be sufficient to get you through your examinations, which after all, is what school is all about.
Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter
Unfortunately, this echoes the real world school system far more then the fantasy world of Harry Potter.
With schools stressing theoretical knowledge and standardized testing, and a lack of funding and equipment, it is up to the creative parent to find activities and opportunities to provide their kids with “hands-on”experience.
Today we are producing elementary school students who are learning about the environment without ever stepping foot in it, the high school student who is learning calculus but not how to interpret credit card statements, and the university student who graduates from school with a degree they cant get a job with because, while they have the theoretical knowledge, they don’t have any practical experience.
Providing hands-on education costs more time, money and passion then is available in the current school system. There are many things you can do to supplement your child’s education with hands-on activities that build memories, introduce new skills and make those lessons come to life.
Jump into Passions:
Does your child come home excited about something they learned in school? Or do they spend lots of time on one or two specific areas or hobbies? These are great signs that these are areas your child would like to experience more in.
Actively look for opportunities that will give your child creative opportunity. Don’t know too much about your child’s interest? This is a great chance to build your knowledge base. Do some surfing on the internet or plan a trip to your local library.
Once you have identified a passion, explore it with your child. Brainstorm everything you can think of to do with this interest. A few questions to get you started:
Why does this topic excite me?
What do I want to learn about?
What jobs are related with this topic? (think outside the box!)
Where can I learn about this topic?
Who in my community is working with this topic?
How can I explore this topic by myself? With my family?
Once you have identified what your child is passionate about there are many creative ways to get them hands-on experience.
The easiest is to talk with people, most people are willing to share their passions if they are asked. Look online or contact your chamber of commerce and see if there is anyone in your area working with your child’s passion.
Field trips are a great introduction to your child’s passion. Create a list of places to visit where your child can discover some aspect of their passion. Consult your brainstorming list for ideas.
For older children and teens see if you can set up a job shadow or after school apprenticeship program. This is a great way to see if a job or career in your child’s chosen passion is a good career path. Or they might discover this interest is not for them. Much better to find out now rather then after 4 years (or more) of University.
The opportunities to give your child hands-on experience is all around. You just have to be creative, ask questions and seek them out.
Have any first-hand experience with creating hands-on activities for your kids? Please post below!