Creativity is a way of thinking that gets better with practice.
With Moving Beyond the Page, your child will practice the elements of creativity every day. These elements include originality, flexibility, fluency, risk taking, and persistence. Today I am going to show you that creativity is more than a buzzword we use to make our curriculum sound more appealing. Creativity is a thread woven through the very fabric of our curriculum.
My Side of the Mountain
To do this, we will look at the literature unit for the book My Side of the Mountain in the Age 9-11 level. The story of friendship and survival is universally loved. I finished this book with my ten year-old daughter, Piper, just a few months ago. She loved the book so much that she asked me to read the sequel with her just for fun.
What I want to do is go through each day and point out the elements of that day that reinforce creativity. I won't be touching on every activity in the curriculum but will instead be focusing on the ones that do the most to reinforce creativity.
|Lesson 1: Preparing for Adventure|
|Lesson 2: Learning to Survive|
|Lesson 3: Making a Home|
|Lesson 4: A Baby Falcon|
|Lesson 5: A Stranger|
|Lesson 6: Autumn|
|Lesson 7: Newspaper Reporter|
|Final Project: Think-Tac-Toe|
Practice Creativity, Every Day
Enhancing creativity is a core principle that we incorporate into our curriculum. We want kids to learn to think creatively, and we have designed our curriculum to do just that. The lessons outlined above represent 3 weeks of language arts from a 36-week school year. With Moving Beyond the Page, your child will experience 36 weeks of creative language arts in addition to a hands-on and creative science, social studies, and math curriculum.
Creativity is a way of thinking that gets better with practice.
Age 6-8 Reading is the second and final installment in our reading program. It is a year-long course that picks up where Age 5-7 Reading leaves off. Over the course of two years, our reading program will help you teach your young children to read. They will progress from knowing their letters and sounds to reading simple chapter books at a late 2nd grade reading level.
For two years, your children will be learning to read. After that, they will be reading to learn.
You and your child will both enjoy our reading program. Our curriculum includes engaging activities, posters, word cards and other materials, and a pile of readers.
Elements You Will Love
- Engaging Readers
Many gifted children struggle to learn to read due primarily to a lack of motivation. Books for beginning readers are often boring, uninspired, and offer little in the way of plot or conflict. Reading these Early Readers can be drudgery for a bright mind.
To be fair, writing Early Readers is difficult. Authors start with a set of words they need to cover, and then they are told to write a story using just these words -- not an easy task.
But we took this challenge on. We introduce likeable characters, interesting plot twists, personal challenges, engaging graphics, and occasionally a laugh-out-loud suprise.
- Shared Reading
Each lesson begins with a Shared Reading that you and your child will read together. These messages will model reading to your child, expose your child to high-frequency words, and introduce new vocabulary.
- Card Decks
This level includes card decks for sight words that build fluency, letter cards for practicing blends and learning sounds, theme word cards to reinforce contextual learning and vocabulary building, and word building cards to facilitate word building.
- Miscellanous Materials
As you have come to expect from Moving Beyond the Page, our reading program also includes many of the little things you will need as you go through the year. These include posters, memory cards, a blank booklet, notecards, a laminated writing sheet, two dry-erase markers, paper plates, sidewalk chalk, wrist bands, and more.
Students who have successfully completed the Age 5-7 level should be ready to begin the Age 6-8 level. Before beginning the Age 6-8 Reading program, students should be able to:
- Read short and long vowel spellings
- Recognize common blends and digraphs
- Read R-controlled vowels
- Read and comprehend simple early readers
- Write simple sentences independently
Table of Contents
- Lesson 1: Word Families and Long Vowel Review
- Lesson 2: Vowel Teams Review
- Lesson 3: Complex Consonants Review
- Lesson 4: R-Controlled Vowels Review
- Lesson 5: More R-Controlled Vowels
- Lesson 6: Other Vowel Sounds
- Lesson 7: More Long Vowel Spellings
- Lesson 8: Vowel Sounds Review
- Lesson 9: Complex Consonants: dge vs. ge
- Lesson 10: Complex Consonants: tch vs. ch, ck vs. k
- Lesson 11: Final e: ce, ve, ze, se
- Lesson 12: Homophones
- Lesson 13: Making Plurals
- Lesson 14: Uncommon Plurals
- Lesson 15: Words Ending with ed and ing
- Lesson 16: Words Ending with er and est
- Lesson 17: Semester Review
- Lesson 1: Compound Words
- Lesson 2: Syllable Division
- Lesson 3: Words Ending in y
- Lesson 4: Syllables with R-Controlled Vowels
- Lesson 5: Closed and Open Syllable Practice
- Lesson 6: Possessives
- Lesson 7: Contractions
- Lesson 8: Syllables Ending in e
- Lesson 9: Vowel Sounds
- Lesson 10: Review of Lessons 1-9
- Lesson 11: Three-Syllable Words
- Lesson 12: Suffixes
- Lesson 13: Prefixes
- Lesson 14: Words Starting with q or a
- Lesson 15: Semester Review
- Final Project: Write Your Own Story
My 10th grade Algebra 2 teacher was great. She not only taught us the math, but she also made sure to paint a picture of the history behind the math. She told us the stories behind the discoveries -- who came up with them, when, and how.
One day, while studying Polynomial Identities, I asked my teacher a question that was really bothering me. "How did someone living so long ago figure this out for the first time?"
Her response came quickly, "Well, instead of sitting around all day watching TV, he played with numbers in his head."
Creativity Is Everywhere
What I have come to appreciate since this time is that creativity is everywhere. Even mathematics, a subject most people think of as black and white, is highly creative. Artists certainly exhibit creativity, but creativity can be expressed in so many other ways as well. Creativity has as much to do with engineering, science, and math as it does with art.
So, creativity is everywhere, but what is creativity?
Elements of Creativity
There are three main elements that are often associated with creativity.
Originality is the ability to see beyond the ordinary, to venture into uncharted territory, and to think in unconventional ways. Originality challenges us to break free from the constraints of the way things have been done in the past and build something different.
Fluency refers to the ability to generate a large quantity of ideas, responses, or solutions. To be fluent, a student must break free from self-imposed limitations and allow thoughts to flow freely and spontaneously.
Flexibility means gracefully adapting as things change. It allows us to pivot, twist, and turn our ideas, enabling them to take on unexpected shapes and forms. To be flexible, you must embrace ambiguity and step outside your comfort zones.
Other Helpful Traits
In addition to these three areas, there are many traits that creative people usually possess. These include drawing connections between unrelated topics, embracing risk, and developing unwavering persistence when things get tough.
Bringing Creativity Into Your Homeschool
You may be thinking, "It is hard enough to teach science, social studies, language arts, and math. How could I possibly incorporate creativity into an already packed schedule?" This is where Moving Beyond the Page curriculum shines. We cover all of the core subjects in our curriculum, and we have incorporated creativity into every single day. Creativity is an integral part of how students learn with Moving Beyond the Page.
We have designed our curriculum to reinforce elements of creativity as a part of daily activities. Look for the activities that encourage your child to
- Write, or
When children make something new, they are exercising their creativity. Our activities help them do this in ways that also work out their originality, fluency, and flexibility. If you are teaching with Moving Beyond the Page, you are teaching to think and act creatively.
When I was a middle school student in Arkansas, my grade was the first in our district to allow 8th graders to take Algebra. Despite the initial apprehensions of the Algebra teacher, who harbored doubts about the readiness of 8th graders to learn Algebra, we outshone expectations. In fact, we outperformed all but a select few ninth graders. Looking back, 8th grade math would have been a waste of time for us.
Fast forward to my son's middle school experience. He transitioned to public school in 7th grade so he could play basketball. The school tested his math ability before the year started, and he was catapulted immediately to Algebra, skipping middle school math entirely.
Did We Miss Anything?
What is going on? Did we miss valuable content by skipping one or two years of middle school math?
In elementary math, students are introduced to many new math ideas.
- This is volume,
- These are decimals,
- Here is how you add fractions,
- Here is how you multilply fractions.
Middle school math, on the other hand, doesn't offer lots of brand new ideas. For the most part, it provides the same ideas in more complicated formats and in different types of sceniarios. Students learn to think through more difficult math problems in new and interesting ways. Math also becomes more conceptual and less procedural. It requires a deeper understanding, and this can be a difficult transition for many middle school math students.
Here is an example: In earlier levels of math, your child studied volume and decimals separately. In Middle School math, she may start finding the volume of objects using decimals. The problem is both more complicated, and it reinforces how to apply two different skills together. Another example: Fractions, decimals, and percents are different ways to represent a similar idea. This will be reinforced in middle school math in ways that enable students to see and understand this at a deeper level.
The exceptions to this dearth of new material generally exist within brief introductions to high school level courses. Pre-Algebra and Statistics would be good examples of new subject matter that middle school students are exposed to.
For most students, middle school math is a very helpful time of reinforcement and preparation for high school math. For a student truly gifted at math, however, neither the reinforcement nor the brief introductions to high school subjects are required. They are often thinking conceptually about math from a young age, and they often need the challenge of high level math.
We currently have a complete elementary math program that runs from Age 4-5 through Age 10-12. We are currently developing one additional level of math (Age 11-13) that will be released in the summer of 2024. We are covering all of the middle school math standards in Age 10-12 and Age 11-13 ( usually 6th and 7th grade respectively). We are not planning to develop an Age 12-14 math curriculum. Upon completion of the Age 11-13 level, we recommend students proceed straight to Algebra. If your child is not strong in math, you can take more than one year to finish the final level of middle school math.
As I sat down with my son's preschool teacher to discuss his progress throughout the year, I was taken aback by her conclusion: my son wasn't ready for kindergarten. He was literally failing preschool. Picture his art projects in your mind, and you might understand why she arrived at that decision. While his classmates' masterpieces burst with vibrant colors and imaginative scenes, my son's creations were often adorned with a few hastily drawn black lines.
His teacher went so far as to suggest that he lacked creativity. As I strolled down the hallway adorned with various art projects, it became evident what she meant. The walls came alive with adorable, engaging pictures bursting with intricate details and vivid hues. Meanwhile, my son's minimalist black line drawings stood out, lacking the imaginative touch we often associate with creativity.
Creativity Is More than Art
But here's the thing: my son is actually a highly creative individual, despite his aversion to art. Don't get me wrong, his black line drawings weren’t avant-garde modern art. He simply despised art and did his best to avoid it. However, his creativity manifested in other domains—within storytelling, imagination, and even mathematics.
We tend to associate creativity solely with artistic talent, but it extends far beyond that. It permeates every facet of our lives. It can be found in
- the novel solutions engineers bring to problems,
- the connections scientists forge among seemingly unrelated fields,
- the myriad ideas parents generate for daily activities,
- the originality and flexibility accountants infuse into their work, and
- the teachers who courageously take risks with unique ideas, teaching their students the value of making mistakes.
Practice Creativity Every Day
With Moving Beyond the Page curriculum, your child will practice creativity EVERY DAY. It isn't a separate subject but an integral part of her educational experience. When you learn what to look for, you'll discover creativity infused throughout our curriculum. Your child will
- Develop her imagination, forming mental images of abstract concepts,
- Cultivate original ideas, insights, and expressions, nurturing her own unique voice,
- Unlock her fluency, effortlessly generating a plethora of ideas,
- Learn to approach problems from different angles, shifting perspectives and adapting her thoughts,
- Draw connections between seemingly unrelated topics,
- Find innovative solutions to complex problems,
- Embrace taking risks, knowing that failure is a steppingstone to growth, and
- Develop unwavering persistence in the face of challenges.
Honed Through Practice
Creativity is a way of thinking, and it is a skill that can be honed through practice. Just as daily exercise benefits us all, regardless of our initial athletic prowess, daily practice can enhance everyone's creativity. With Moving Beyond the Page, your children will engage in creative exercises every single day.
* The black and white drawing in this article is a real piece of art: Morning Meditation no.2 by Sara Hicks Malone.