Guest Post! Stephanie Vlahov on “The Active Creative Child”

Stephanie Vlahov is the author of The Active Creative Child: Parenting in Perpetual Motion, a book about the difficulties and rewards of parenting and teaching very active children, some of whom may have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. The book was born out of the need to validate and celebrate the boundless energy oftentimes negated in a highly active child.

I was instantly drawn to this idea, and began wondering how her advice applies to alternative education options, such as homeschooling. Fortunately, Stephanie offered to write a guest post for me about this very subject!

The active creative child is a prime candidate for an alternative school experience. When The Active Creative Child was published five years ago, we as a nation were in an educational fiscal crisis. Fast-forward to 2010, and it is much worse. The financial pressures on our public schools (and political/union expenditure–but that is the topic for another book) is greatly impacting how our kids are taught.

“Teaching to the test” is a rampant practice in the rat-race for great scores and the accompanying funding. Policies promoting compliance and conformity create an atmosphere where rote memorization is praised. The squirmy kid in the corner who wants to act out his book report instead of efficiently spitting out a report is oftentimes a nuisance. Teachers love him, but they mourn the lack of time to nurture his creative impulses.

The active creative child receives a lot of negative comments merely because he is, well, active. He is alternately praised and punished for his precocious ways. It is imperative that he be able to wrap his creativity into an academic experience. A teacher who embraces innovation and enthusiasm is essential. If the child is home-schooled, there needs to be an element of cooperative work between this child and others.

Because the active creative child is additionally praised by many for his innovative and creative output, he can become narcissistic in possession of a gargantuan ego. Stressing to him that we all need to cooperate and conform to rules in most settings is important, because oftentimes he is wrapped up in his personal flights of fancy.

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