13 May 2020

Fostering Creativity during Quarantine

Do your children/teens have extra time on their hands?
     When my children were in high school, they were busy all day. Between a full day at school, a longish commute, extra-curricular activities, and too much homework, they didn’t have time to get enough sleep, never mind pursuing their own interests. The fast and busy pace of the Washington DC metro area is legendary.
    We are now in a unique period when we are not in a frenzy to get everything done or go anywhere. Many of us have more time on our hands than ever before. This is an ideal time to explore our passions in creative ways. With the technology we have today, we are able to do much of what we did before, only virtually. With the extra time we have now, we can stretch our brains, creativity, and contributions to society.
    As an educator, I am concerned about students falling behind this spring. However, even if school is not up to par, we can continue to make new connections in our brains by keeping them active in new and more pleasurable ways. Here are some ideas, but your family members can certainly come up with their own unique and interesting ideas as well.
    High school students can create meaningful projects to share with the world. My daughter created a nonpartisan website to compare candidates’ views before the 2016 election, which she shared widely on social media. On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah introduced a 17-year-old high school student, Avi Schiffmann, who created an excellent website with up-to-date data on the Coronavirus. When Trevor asked Avi about college, he said he has already been offered several jobs. As a bonus to pursuing interests and coming up with a useful product or service to the community, students can enhance their resumes and share their pursuits on college essays.
    Visual Arts: What a great time to practice drawing, collages, wire art, pottery, or scrap books! My husband and I recently created a photo book online for a friend, arranging the photos in creative ways.
    Music: You now have lots of time to practice your instrument. You can try writing your own songs or play instruments with your friends using Zoom.
    Photography: I have recently seen wonderful photos of neighborhood animals and flowers that were shared on Nextdoor.
    Video: One of my daughter’s most memorable and hilarious school experiences was creating a video trailer for a book with the whole family, using various locations.
    Reading: You now have time to read about whatever piques your interest – fiction, historical fiction, science fiction, science, history, or biography. If you prefer listening to recorded books, many writers and actors have created fantastic audio books. If you enjoy discussing books with friends, Zoom book groups are all the rage. I invited the author to our last Zoom book group. She is stuck at home just like the rest of us.
    Writing: In spring, motivation is typically low, so this year it may be like pulling teeth getting your kids to practice writing. They may be more motivated by high interest material. My cousin interviewed my grandfather about his life while she was in high school; she wrote up her interview for school and shared it with family members. It is more fun to write when you can be published: you can review books on Amazon or write a blog.
    Math: Baking is a great way to use measurements. There are many online math games to practice math in a fun way. Many websites, such as Scholastic Learn at Home, offer free resources.
    Science: What a great time to try some science experiments at home! Some of our family favorites are gooey slime, rainbow in a glass, and tornado in a bottle. These can be found here; many other websites have lots more.
When we look back on this time, do we want to talk about how boring life was, or will we be able to talk about our amazing accomplishments during quarantine?
By Cheryl Gedzelman, President, Tutoring For Success

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