We began our journey into creating makerspaces because it makes a world of difference in the way we homeschool, giving us more freedom and flexibility to be creative.
I want to share with you some of my ideas about why I believe in allowing for this type of creativity in your home, and a few resources you might find helpful in your journey into the maker movement.
Makerspaces are easy to set up.
To create a makerspace, you simply need a workstation (or table) with your materials of choice at hand. You don’t need to get super fancy (or expensive!) with gadgets. Purchasing a 3-D machine is definitely not in my budget, but I can find ribbon, paper towel tubes, glitter, and cardboard.
If you have younger kids, creating maker spaces can be as simple as offering a few boxes of art supplies and craft doodads. Older kids may require a few extra tools: maybe a hammer and other tools, wood, PVC pipes, paint, tools, or even LED lights. The sky is the limit with making! My oldest daughter’s making projects mainly consist of sewing and fine arts at the moment- so she needs a sewing machine and notions with fabric, and loads of art supplies. She also uses wood, wheels, batteries, string, and a hot glue gun to create airplanes and race cars for her physical science course.
Makerspaces unleash your child’s creativity and innovation.
Rarely do kids in brick and mortar schools have the time commodity needed to spend it being creative. In Silicon Valley where I currently live, although there is a high emphasis on STEM and STEAM in schools, much of the time spent is prepping for tests. Not that test prep is a bad thing. I’m actually one who is partial to the balance of getting my kids prepared for the tests ahead in life, so I don’t have a problem with academic testing. I do, however, have a problem with schools that replace creativity and innovation for fact memorization for the sole purpose of passing tests. That’s why I love making so much. And I love allowing my kids ample time to create.
For example, my daughter recently created a mini purse for her sister’s doll. She’s also sewn pillows and patchwork blankets.
My youngest daughter enjoys crafts and free-range art. This is what I call art done on the fly. All of our art supplies are either in bins or on our shelf, and my daughter knows when she’s ready, she can grab a blank canvas (I get them at Michaels on sale, 2 for $10), grab brushes and paints, and go to town. This kind of making wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have the time to get creative.
Once my kids are in making mode, there’s no turning back.
It’s how kids want to learn.
Rather than sitting around, a maker space gets your child moving. If you find yourself in a rut with how to set up your school day with super active kids, try setting up worker spaces and let them keep busy an hour here, 30 minutes there. I find that many younger kids won’t sit still for math and spelling lessons, but if you promise them time to make a cool project right after, it may be incentive enough to get them through the lessons. Also, if you incorporate some type of creative project with their lessons once in a while, the excitement of writing that paper or doing that page of math problems doesn’t seem so dreary.
For example, for math, have your child visit Khan Academy and work on some coding that day just to get a break away from the everyday monotony of a row of multiplication problems. (Also Khan Academy has a wonderfully fun gaming incentivized program for mathematics in all grade levels.)Another thing to note is: making isn’t only for kids set on becoming engineers. You can join the maker movement as an artist (which includes fine arts, digital arts, and even fashion design.) The arts discipline is wide and varied, and in my opinion includes story-making, video editing, and animation, and even music production.
Your kids can also join the maker movement as a coder. (Try sites like idTech’s Tech Rocket). My daughter joined tech camp last spring with idTech’s Alexa Cafe and enjoyed it so much. There, she was able to create a video at Alexa Cafe using Adobe Premiere. As for my youngest, she enjoys making story animations on PBSKids.org (it’s found under your child’s profile where they can change their avatar and create a story.) She loves video creation and uses kits like this one.
You may also want to check out MakerSpace.com, a great resource and community site for sharing things you’ve made. I hope this post has motivated you to include some space in your children’s lives to create and make, to be innovative, and allow their creativity to soar. Other resources mentioned in the podcast:
- Encouraging Middle School Homeschoolers To Ask Questions
- Helping Middle School Students Establish Routines
- Helping Middle Schoolers Commit to Homeschooling
- Why Homeschool Socialization Is Important After All
- Preparing for High School In Middle School
Ways To Reach Me…