Great events for children that parents ruin Why don't we trust kids?

We went to a wonderful children’s event recently.  It was a jazz concert in a topiary park, surrounded by topiary statues, a pond with ducks, walking paths, and wildflowers. It was adjacent to the downtown library, and representatives from the art museum had a project set up after the music.

The art project was set up well.  The table was spread with choices, including foil sheets, tissue paper in many colors, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, puffy balls, magic nuudles, glue, markers, and colored tape.  Kids could choose anything they wanted and the only direction given was that they were making “plants from another planet.”  I’m sure that there was some reason for that theme, but they didn’t explain further.  And my kids got to work.

Until…

My kids got to work until a mother and her preschool aged child sat down with us.  She said to her daughter, “you’re supposed to make a flower from another planet.”  And she went on to tell her daughter each step to take to make a tissue paper flower.  She made every decision.  At one point, she said, “this flower looks really sad.  Let’s make it look better.”  And she added another layer to the flower while her daughter watched.

Other kids starting following suit.  One girl, obviously distressed, turned to her grownup and said, “it’s supposed to be a flower!”  My kids hesitated, but I reiterated that they could make whatever they wanted and they kept creating.

children's process art
My children’s finished artwork

Why even go?

Why do we take over for our kids, even in these situations that are specifically designed for children?  Why can’t we trust them and let them create?  Obviously, it’s not understanding process vs product art, but it’s so much more than that.  Why can most adults not let kids have even the smallest amount of control over their own lives?

Creating art has so many benefits.   Creating allows children to explore their creativity and is a wonderful sensory activity.  It develops fine motor skills, creativity and confidence.  I love this quote shared by the Artful Parent.

“Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.”  –Sydney Gurewitz  Clemens

That is, if parents let it.  The parent in this story missed out on enjoying her child create something unique and wonderful, and the child missed out on the opportunity to make decisions and be in control of herself and her project.  How do we expect our children to gain these skills if we never let them practice?

 


Surrendering to Delight Driven Learning Homeschooling rabbit holes and the places they take us

I’ve just finished watching Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” with my 7-year old.  It continues a rabbit hole we’ve gone down since we started homeschooling this year.

We pulled my son from school mid-year, and have mostly spent our time deschooling.  He’s always learning, and we’ve followed his lead on topics of interest just like we have always done.  His cousin introduced him to the song Thriller a year ago, which he loved, but his interest faded.  Then a couple months ago he saw a children’s movie preview that included the song, “Bad,” by Michael Jackson.  And we were off.

What we’ve done

We’ve listened to so much music.  He’s watched videos and has spent hours practicing dance moves.  We have read biographies. We’ve studied the map to see where Michael was born and where he’s lived throughout his life.  He’s drawn portraits of Michael.  Most recently, he directed his sister and cousin in recreating several music videos that he recorded, and he’s been working on designing himself a costume.

Michael Jackson portrait, homeschooling rabbit hole
Michael Jackson, portrait in colored pencils, artist, age 7

Some activities he has spent time doing on his own, and some we have done together at his request.  That’s the beauty of not being at school.  He can involve us, and we’re all enjoying his learning.

Delight driven learning

I know it may seem like a strange subject to a lot of people.  But it has involved so much learning.  It has encompassed music, art, reading, movement and dance, story telling, and so much more.  He’s seen how music is made, what goes into music and concert production. We’ve checked out the map to see all the places around the world Michael Jackson has lived.  And it’s also allowed us to discuss some difficult topics such as death, drugs, abuse, publicity, and fame (all in developmentally appropriate ways, of course).

My son loved this biography of Michael Jackson.  We’ve started reading some of the other books in this series, and we’re both really enjoying them as well.  (Affiliate link)