Friday, October 7, 2011

Coloring Inside the Lines

We don't do creative here at the Aquitaine Academy. We do structure. We color inside the lines. We think inside the box.

Even on art days there are rules and guidelines and not just the free-wheeling slathering of paint on paper that's encouraged by most institutions for learning. I picked our art program in part because the instructor on the video tersely mocks the typical child's artistic interpretation of a tree. "That's not a tree," the instructor says witheringly, "That's a lollipop." Sold.

Creative writing? Sure. On your own time. I don't spend valuable resources teaching that. There's outlining and sentence diagramming to be taught. I'm fun like that.

My kids, most kids, don't need to be taught how to be creative. They need to be taught how to sit their asses down and follow directions. And, they don't need to be taught how to think outside the box before they even know what's in the box.

I guess if there were a symbolic setting for my little home education endeavor it would be in that box.

Why? Is it because I hate creativity and art? No, that's not it. I'm looking forward to the day when I surprise them by suddenly and without warning lifting the box. And then watching them blinking and squinting into the light I'll ask, "Now what?"

So if that's not why, then, why?

It's because this:

is even more impressive when we know that you can also do this:

but you chose not to. And knowing that it was a choice makes us listen to you more closely than we would have if we thought you just couldn't paint people that look like people.

I have a print of the second painting hanging in our home. It reminds me that even though my own mind tends to live in the world of the first painting, my obligation to my children is to stay in the realm of the second painting for now. Our world is increasingly full of people given to the free expression of their every thought and desire and it becomes daily more apparent that so much time was spent on "teaching" them the process of expression that there wasn't any time to fill them with anything worth expressing.

I submit the following:

Hit show:

"Best Selling" Children's Book:

Fashion Icon/Pop Superstar:

To be fair, Gaga has some range. She can also dress like this:

And what expresses our free spirit and independent-mindedness more than an outfit that requires us to have full-time assistance when we wear it?