What Is Creativity?
published on 7/6/2023 by Keith A. Howe

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

  • Assemble,
  • Construct,
  • Create,
  • Design,
  • Develop,
  • Formulate,
  • Write, or
  • Invent.

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. 


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