I’ve sung the praises of our experience with Destination Imagination before, but I’m about to do it again. We probably won’t start meeting with our team until November, but I just noticed the challenges have come out since I last checked so I got all excited! Our team is a Rising Stars team so this year’s challenge revolves around learning all about bugs. We’ll have to go to the Bug Zoo at the Natural History Museum and the Invertebrate House at the Zoo! Who knows what else! I think Destination Imagination (or the organization they spun off from – Odyssey of the Mind) is perfect for homeschoolers because it encourages the sort of socialization experiences that all kids need. Last year, while I’m not saying they perfected this or anything, the kids on my team learned to work together, to negotiate with each other, to compromise, to brainstorm together and to generally have fun while doing it. Plus, there is the creative component. I’ve written a little about creativity here. I think the way that Destination Imagination provides a structure and rigid rules while also opening the door for complete chaos within that framework is the perfect way to encourage creativity.
Traveling has been one of the greatest creative distractions. It takes a lot out of me so that I can’t get much writing done. Actually, that’s an exaggeration. It means I don’t get any writing done.
However, I have a myriad of other creative distractions that tear me away from writing. I think the creative process is such a difficult one to understand. Watching my kids, they are filled with a seemingly unlimited supply of creative juices. On the other hand, they have small attention spans and few skills through which to express their creativity. Last year we participated in the Destination Imagination program, which I highly recommend for homeschoolers, by the way. They have a specific category for K-2 teams with its own challenge. At the team leader training I went to, the trainer explained that many people think of Destination Imagination as a “creativity competition” which it is, kind of. However, she said it doesn’t not teach creativity because kids already have that. It teaches teamwork and encourages skills to harness creativity. A fine distinction and a difficult one.
I have the skills (or, at least, a few skills), but sometimes I think I’m missing that mad rush of creative flow that kids have. I feel like my creativity is something that gets parceled out like my time. There is only a limited amount. When it dries up, I may as well go watch TV.
Homeschooling, especially planning and finding new materials or dreaming up activities, soaks up my creative energy. Blogging is an outlet, I’m finding, but it also drinks down a little. Oddly, organization uses it up for me. Occasionally I go on mad rushes to organize bits of the house or “improve” things and I find I almost never get any writing done when I’m at it. Then there are the artistic side projects that take me away. I did some lino and wood block printing in the winter that was excellent fun. It rejuvenates me to find a new artistic hobby, but it also zaps that creativity allowance. There are also sewing projects, especially T-shirts for Mushroom and BalletBoy, that take my creativity juice.
In the end, I always return to my writing. It wants to come out and it refuses to be ignored. When I don’t write for a long stretch, I begin to get a little anxious. Stories build up and I have to get back to the keyboard, even if it’s just to set down a little bit.