David knew when he was still quite young that he would be an artist or architect of some kind. I knew from an early age that I was good with words and wanted to be a writer (but ended up a teacher for reasons of economic practicality).
So two creative people met and married and – surprise! – we have a child who is also very creative. We are a highly creative family and even earn a living through our creativity. Over the years we’ve learned to structure our daily life around our creativity.
Observing Caroline’s creativity and being married to an artist who is gifted in ways I am not has been a catalyst for thinking more deeply about what it means to be creative. It has also led me to think about how I should best prepare my creative child for a future that we cannot begin to predict or really even begin to imagine.
Creativity and the Future
A short search on Google regarding creative people and creative thinkers yields many articles that demonstrate the value of creative thinking and creativity moving forward:
- Creativity Is The Skill Of The Future from Forbes
- The Future of Work is Creative, Flexible, And Human from Entrepreneur’s Handbook
- 8 Reasons Why Creatives Will Rule The World from Fast Company
- Creative thinking vital for future industries from Financial Review
- The Future of Human Work Is Imagination, Creativity, and Strategy from Harvard Business Review
So creativity meshed with problem solving skills will be increasingly important and potentially open doors for people with unique sets of skills.
What do I do with that knowledge?
Best Schooling Option for a Creative Child
There are a number of reasons we homeschool, but Caroline’s creative bent is a significant factor now which I didn’t fully understand when we started. It’s interesting that the first finding presented in How To Inspire the Next Generation of Creative Thinkers and Innovators states:
Realize that Out of School time tends to be more inspiring and powerful to lead to a life of creativity than school time. Innovators tend to take responsibility for their own learning when they are on their own time.
In other words, homeschooling is probably the best option for creative kids.
I’m guessing it is the best option by a mile. Between commuting to and from school, being in school, and doing homework, traditionally schooled creative kids have very little out-of-school time they can spend being creative.
Children who go to school don’t have their own time. The school owns them. I mean, really. It does, especially as they get older and the academic demands become greater. Let’s be honest. There is virtually no way a creative child can have massive amounts of time for the creative process that I wrote about in Understanding Why Your Creative Child is Lazy. The flexibility that homeschooling offers is clearly superior for creative kids if we look at it from the time factor as well as the ability to be creative during the parts of the day that work best for the child’s particular wiring (morning, afternoon, evening, middle of the night).
So I do believe based on reading and my own parenting experience so far that homeschooling is the best educational choice for a creative child.
How to Homeschool a Creative Child
How do I homeschool my creative child? I’ve written so many posts that touch on that subject that I finally created a category called Homeschooling a Highly Creative Child.
Since I’ve written extensively about that topic already, I will leave that particular topic to what I’ve already said up to this point.
Creative Kids Going to College
As I think about the future and how to best get my daughter from now to high school graduation (and beyond), the questions related to college always come up. We also talk about this topic quite a bit in our home because my husband has been an adjunct instructor at an art and design school for the past thirteen years so he sees first-hand what is happening with many creative kids.
I think this is one of the biggest areas where the choices families make can have the potential to make or break their creative child’s life. As in their entire life. If I allowed it, these questions could keep me up at night.
- Should my creative child go to college?
- Should I encourage my creative child get a degree in a creative field?
- Should my creative child take on college debt?
Those are questions every parent is grappling with given the exorbitant cost of a college education right now. But I think they are even more challenging if you have a child who is gifted in a way that will, more often than not, lead to a lower paying job.
This includes many creative kids. There are many reasons for the lower pay, but being forced to basically work in a world-wide marketplace that drives down wages for creatives is a big part of that. I don’t see that changing at this point so I believe this is a huge factor to consider.
If I had to answer these questions right now when Caroline is just starting middle school, I would answer them like this:
- Should my creative child go to college? Maybe or even probably.
- Should I encourage my creative child get a degree in a creative field? Maybe.
- Should my creative child take on college debt? Absolutely not.
If there is one question I feel confident answering, it is that a child who is studying in a creative field should absolutely not take on debt to do so.
Believe me, I’m well aware of the cost of college and that many families cannot afford to pay for it. But we are aware of way too many kids who have massive amounts of college debt and a degree in a creative field that opens very few doors to anything that pays much at all.
Unless someone is going into something like Medical Illustration that pays well and is in high demand, there is no way I would encourage a creative young adult to take on debt. Even then, I would still not encourage it but it at least offers better paying job prospects.
Unless something substantially changes, the creative field is rarely going to be lucrative. Many creatives end up self-employed anyway and with the rise of contract labor and the gig economy, I don’t see massive numbers of high-paying, corporate jobs developing for creatives.
And, at the risk of being terribly politically incorrect, there is no way a woman who really hopes to be a stay-at-home mother someday should take on massive amounts of debt getting a degree in a creative field.
Now, could things change based on what those articles above said? Sure. If a creative child is able to combine that creativity with another high level skill (such as with Medical Illustration), then there could be many more opportunities.
But many creative kids would be better off starting at a community college and growing their own side hustle at the same time. Another option would be to become certified in something that has much greater likelihood of offering steady employment such as a skill in the medical field. Not something that will take lots of expensive education, but something that requires training and is fairly accessible when it comes to jobs. Any skill that cannot be outsourced gives a creative person options.
Preparing Creative Kids for the Future
Creative kids have so much to bring to the world. Unfortunately most of the time the world doesn’t offer substantial monetary value for what they bring. For that reason, parents of creative kids will have to be creative themselves as they guide their child toward life beyond high school.