Need Some Tips for Creative Thinking

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Need Some Tips for Creative Thinking

Postby omni0 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:10 am

Hi Everyone,

My wife and I are home schooling our oldest daughter (Grade 1) this year and everything is going really well. We're using Bob Jones and the DVDs are a tremendous help.

Every day, she has Composition, and usually has to write 3 or 4 sentences about what she has been learning about during that week. This has been the only area where we've had problems.

If any of these Composition assignments require any creative thinking, she will do everything in her power to avoid it. If it is a cut & dry assignment she is fine. Here are some examples:

Eg. #1: Write 3 sentences about your pets. What types of pets do you have? How do you play with them?
For this she would have no problems because if she answers the 2 questions right away, she has completed 2 out of 3 sentences. She only has to really think about 1 sentence.

Eg. #2: Write 2 rhyming sentences about Chimpanzees. Then write 2 rhyming sentences about Elephants.
For this, she has no direct questions to answer and it requires her to think and be creative. She really struggles with this.

We've tried asking questions to her to have her spontaniously think up things to write. This usually helps, but now she knows we'll do this and she doesn't have to think because Mommy and Daddy will give me questions.

Does anyone have any tips to help with some creative thinking? Or, a method for her to learn that she can ask these types of questions that my wife and I are asking? We thought after all of this time, that she would realize that she herself could ask these questions but no.

Any help/advise is greatly appreciated! Thanks.


lessons from home
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Postby lessons from home » Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:30 pm

I noticed your question has been sitting here unanswered for quite a while so I'll try to give you some direction. I have a child who is very black and white in her thinking. Even as a teenager she still doesn't "get" abstract concepts. While this is disconcerting for an adult like me who is a very out of the box thinker, it's not a huge problem. It is a reflection of her personality style. The flip side of this is your daughter is probably very, very good at logical, step by step, detail thinking. If not yet, she's headed in that direction. That strength is vital in many careers - lawyers, accountants and school teachers just to name three. My daughter is now an EMT and the ability to stay focused and follow the treatment protocol exactly to the letter is vital to patient care. She needs this strength to do her job.
So, while I wouldn't worry about it, you can do things to strengthen this area. Expose her to art projects, let her experiment with various mediums like paints and clay and crafting with paper. Encourage her imagination as she plays, listen if she wants to tell you about what her dolls are doing. Don't be surprised if she never is really creative. She's young, so her personality is not set in stone yet, but you can't change the basic programming too much.
Continuing to prompt her with questions is not a bad thing, especially as she is so young. This is her weak area, she's needs extra time here. She may never be a creative thinker and that's okay. Help her but don't force it. Focus on her strengths.
Sue Scott
"whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, or worthy of praise, meditate on these things" Phil.4:8

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Postby thinks » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:47 pm

Lessons-from-home, what excellent advice you give :) I totally agree with your advice about focussing on strengths as well as working on the areas that need support!

Cory, if you gave the same instructions, "Write 2 rhyming sentences about elephants" etc - to ANY first grader- or even 7th grader-- I bet they'd have problems. That kind of assignment or task is actually a pretty complex one when you think about it; it's not purely creative thinking (where any answer is 'right' as long as you can support it with your reasoning- e.g. "What would it be like if we all had elephant's trunks ourselves?"). Instead, it's more a rather complex mix of critical or logical thinking (what do I know about elephants? what words about elephants RHYME? How long can each line be? Should it be true or fantasy? where's an example I can see?) as well as the creative aspect.

So I'd suggest that to help bring out your daughter's creativity, you drop those kinds of complex thinking, and focus on pure open-ended creativity. There are only 2 rules:
1. Nobody's answer can be challenged with "THAT wouldn't work because..." type of responses - because then the creative ideas are being judged with critical thinking!
2. Encourage both wild-and-wacky as well as serious-and-sensible responses.

Have FUN and think laterally. Try it over the dinner table! You'll be truly amazed at how, once you have removed the critical aspect and allowed true freedom of creativity, then you all often end up laughing - AND feeling good about yourselves!

Here are a few starters for you:(Think of all the interesting and fun things you could do, as well as the accidents and bad things that might happen):

1. What if all clouds had long strings dangling right down to the ground?
2. What if we all had an eye on the end of our finger?
3. What if bees were as big as cats?
Jean Edwards in New Zealand

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Postby Jazzy » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:55 am

I would approach it from a different angle and focus on just making sure your daughter is learning to construct good sentences. I would give her a choice of either writing from the prompt (I actually think it's fine for you to help her think through the process at this point) or writing on her own.

I am much more concerned with making sure my oldest (8-years-old) enjoys writing and knows how to write well, than I am with making sure he writes the specific sentences that are assigned by his program (in our case, Abeka).

So, sometimes he'll get a creative writing prompt and really run with it, and write more than the 3 or 4 sentences they wanted. Other times, he won't be into the assignment at all, and he can write a letter to grandma or something like that.

We use our curriculum to educate our children for real life, and as an adult, no one is going to come up to your daughter and ask her to write two rhyming sentences about a chimpanzee. I guess what I'm saying is - the first type of assignment makes more sense than the second kind, and that may be why your daughter is struggling with it.

I would encourage creative thinking by giving her space to write about whatever she wants to in whatever way she wants to write about it. Use the curriculum to help her learn the mechanics of writing.

A good book you may want to take a look at is, Any Child Can Write by Harvey Wiener.

Last edited by Jazzy on Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby ncmom » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:29 pm

Something that I have done with my older kids in the past is to create a prompt by setting something interesting up in a room.

For example one December I put a big teddy bear in the middle of the room with glitter spilled around him on the floor and a little Christmas tree on its side in front of him. I then asked the kids to write a story telling me what happened.

I have also "messed" up a room, told them a story about what happened, and then asked them to write an ending.

I think that writing is either something you enjoy or you don't. Just keep working on it she is only in the 1st grade so there is plenty of time to work on her writing skills.

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