Education is a life; that life is sustained on ideas and that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another. The duty of parents is to sustain a child’s inner life with ideas as they sustain his body with food.”
Volume 2 The Original Home Schooling Series p. 39.
My vision for our homeschool was to give our sons the ability to think and provide tools with which help them in their thinking. This is where ideas come in.
The famous Charlotte Mason had a lot to say about ideas. She considered ideas as so important that she likened them to food. As parents we are to provide food for our children and according to Miss Mason we are also to provide ideas. She called ideas as “anything which captivates our minds and causes us to think”.
In our everyday culture we have lost the art of thinking and ideas are becoming less common. This could be due to our attention being taken up with copious amounts of media. In my teenage years it was the TV taking the center place in life but now our children have far more forms of media that are taking up head space.
There used to be time to think when we were kids. A lot of thinking went on when we walked to school and back. But now, most children are dropped off at school by their parents as they go to work. At the end of the school day, modern children are carted to and fro various activities designed to make them successful. Or is it to babysit? Anyway, time to think has decreased. We must create periods of time in our children’s day where they can think and discuss ideas.
The question that now needs to be asked is-
What are sources for ideas?
Here are just a few …ideas on finding ideas
- books, books and more books
- conversations - I don’t know how many times I have come up with new ideas through just talking with people!
- current events – I always try to use a current event to spark a conversation with my boys.
- talk back radio – okay, I know kids think that is for old people but it does spark conversations in our household. I try and ask the boys – what do you think about that?
- newspapers – this gives a great opportunity to reveal the writers bias to your children. It can be the source of many ideas that our children can work on. Apparently Harriet Beecher Stowe got her idea for Uncle Tom’s Cabin reading the newspaper!
- doing life – ask questions throughout your day – get children thinking. Can something that we do everyday be improved? Is there another way?
- awesome websites – research the websites that are experts in the interests of your children. Keep up to date with the latest ideas in their interest areas. A interesting website that has the purpose of fostering ideas is TED- Ideas With Spreading. They provide free talks that make you think!
- biographies – read stories of people who had an idea and did something about it. This could include scientists, explorers, inventors, politicians etc
- walking – I receive many of my writing ideas while out walking. There is something in the act of walking and looking at nature and your community that inspires ideas. Mozart has been noted as having his ideas for composing after “walking after a good meal”.
- life experience – this is what is missing from some children’s lives. Books are good and so is the internet (well, you know what I mean) but nothing can really beat having life experience. Getting out there and discovering what it is like to sail a boat is far better than just reading about it. While we are experiencing life, ideas come and can be explored right then and there. Take your children on field trips – let them experience a wide range of activities and met new people.
All the best in your quest to help your children have ideas!
This is part of a series titled Six Daily Activities That Kids Need. Here is a recap on the six activities. Click on each one to read the post.
3. Good books
I highly recommend that you go back to the first post in the series to gain the full benefit of the series.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how to inspire ideas in your children – please comment below – or what do you consider are daily activities that your kids need.