Today we're featuring illustrator Sabrina Vincent (of SLOVLY) to hear how her family learns and creates together (and separately!)
Tell us about your family!
I am an illustrator, I love to read and I take a ballet classes. Mr. Vincent is a computer programmer. He loves to read and golf. We have four children. Luke, 14, loves video games, video game history, plays video game scores on the piano and is learning computer programming. He is a dreamer. Isabel, 12, loves learning Mandarin Chinese and is an amazing pianist and athlete. She is determined. Sylvia, 9, is a natural at her aerial silks class and loves to ride horses. Everyone laughs when she laughs. Hazel, 5, loves puzzles. With her confidence and leadership skills, I think she is going to lead a country some day. We are a homeschooling family. Although I don’t like that term because we don’t really do “school” at “home.” Maybe we do more of a child-lead learning approach or unschooling. But those terms don’t sum it all up either. Basically we all live our lives and try to follow our passions along the way. With six very different people living in the same house it gets very interesting.
1. By following my own interests. I read an article about a study (yes, all very vague) about how the biggest factor of what determined how a child eats as an adult, is how their parents ate. That really rang true to me and I’ve applied it to everything. Several years ago when my children were very young, it was so difficult to find time to draw or paint. What kept me at it was that I knew I was being a good example. It’s important for them to see that I put my creativity, art, passions as a priority. After I painted a mural, Sylvia wanted to paint one too, so we got out all of the paints and all four kids painted an amazing mural in our chicken coop.
2. By holding my tongue. We now have two teenagers in our home - we are learning the art of silent encouragement. For some strange reason my two oldest act like my brilliant suggestions are, let’s just say, not so brilliant...go figure! Even with young children, I feel that the second you give them one of your “brilliant creative ideas” such as, Maybe the monster you drew could have sharp teeth! or even Maybe this yellow block could go on the top of your tower, you are immediately making it not their own authentic creation. As parents we always want to be teaching, but where creativity is concerned I think it’s important to be a supporter and let our children be inspired naturally. Around the home we have art supplies and tools handy, along with making books and opportunities readily available for when any such inspiration strikes.
How do you get your kids involved?
My two youngest are up for anything. If Mr. Vincent or I are working on a project, I know we need to have enough supplies for our little helpers. It’s not so simple for our older two. They have figured out more of who they are and know what they are interested in and what they are not. Sometimes they do not want to be involved in what we are doing and that’s okay. My 12 year old, Isabel wanted to sew. Since neither Joey or I sew, we got her a sewing machine and put her in a sewing class. We let our children know that we want to try to facilitate what they are interested in.
Do you have any creative traditions in your home? If so, what are they?
Late Night Up with Dad! Four children, four nights a week. I don’t know how Mr. Vincent does it or how he keeps the momentum going, but I love that he spends an evening a week with one child doing what they want. It makes them feel so special and it’s amazing how much different that child is when away from their siblings.
What advice would you give to families hoping to live a more creative lifestyle?
It’s great to get creative ideas from other people but at the same time, never think about what is in style. Do what feels right for you and your family. Don’t be afraid of change...or paint.
Thanks, Sabrina, for your thoughts on fostering creativity within your home! I, for one, am inspired. Readers, how do you live a creative life, and how do you encourage creativity within your homes?