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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
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"A Life of Faith Role Models for Girls" is the subject
line of the e-mail accompanying and sponsoring this newsletter.

They Are Not Just Dolls--
They Are Godly Role Models!
     Beloved fictional heroines, Elsie Dinsmore,
Millie Keith, Violet and Laylie, come to life as
lovely dolls.  Faith-based historical fiction books,
dolls, accessories, and girls clubs, help girls ages
8-14 imagine and experience a lifestyle of faith!


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                 Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
    From a Distinctively Christian Perspective of Home Education
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Co-Editors   /

Table of Contents
3-Part Series on Creativity
     Part 1: Exploring Creativity
      •  What Is Creativity?
      •  Where and When Can We Use Creativity?
      •  The Creative Process
      •  How Should Creative Ideas Be Evaluated?
      •  What Are the Prerequisites of Creativity?
Recommended Resources
     Calendator by Frigemates
     Teaching Compound Microscope
     Mr. Button Family Video
     Operation Christmas Child
Sunnyside Up: Humorous Anecdote


     Creativity is a much-admired and sought-after quality.
Homemakers and artists, scientists and businessmen can all use
and benefit from the creative faculty.

     It is not only a desirable ability for enriching personal
lives, it is also a marketable skill.  Some businesses now exist
solely for the purpose of helping other businesses develop
creativity in their employees.  And teachers try hard to plan
learning activities that will stimulate creativity in their

     There are several questions we will consider as we explore this
 •  Should we as home schoolers be concerned about our children's
 •  What is creativity?
 •  How and when can we use it?
 •  Can we foster its development in our children?

     Some of these questions are answered in this issue.  These
questions, and others, are expanded in our 3-part series on

     Our best answers will come as we prayerfully examine the
place creativity should have in our own lives.

     As we use this quality for God's glory and the good of
others, its value will become obvious and we will find ways to
make it a natural part of our children's lives and education.

     May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.

The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian
The Teaching Home is a home-school, family-run business
operated in our home since 1980.


Protect Your Family with a Smoke Alarm
     "In many of the house fires where lives are lost, an operating
smoke alarm could have made a difference.  A smoke alarm
reduces the risk of dying in a house fire by 50 percent," said
Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for
Emergency Preparedness and Response.

Fire Safety Tips:
1.  Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, especially
     near bedrooms.
2.  Test all smoke alarms monthly.
3.  Vacuum over and around smoke alarms regularly.
4.  Replace smoke alarms after 10 years or as recommended by the
5.  Post emergency numbers on your telephone and make sure your
     children know how to dial them.
6.  Organize and practice a family fire drill.

More information:
For children:

Carbon Monoxide Detector
     If you have any nonelectric source of heating, cooking, or clothes
drying (i.e., gas, oil, or wood), you need carbon monoxide detectors.
     Many newer smoke alarms include both alarms.  Be sure you
understand the different sounds and necessary responses.


The Reusable Calendar --
Calendator by Frigemates
     Post all your family's plans,
activities, special days, and holidays
in a central location -- the fridge!
This cling vinyl calendar is durable,
colorful, and easy-to-use with 72 reusable images and dry
erase pen.  See more at


Exploring Creativity
by Cindy Short

What Is Creativity?

     Creativity is the ability or propensity to create.

 •  Creativity is the use of the mind to originate new ideas,
     new ways of doing things, new ways of looking at things,
     or new tools.

 •  Creativity is used to find new uses for old tools or new
     combinations of old ideas.

 •  Creativity is the capacity for making things or solving
     problems, using whatever resources are available.

     Creativity is a natural part of our God-given intelligence
that only faintly echoes His own marvelous creativity as
expressed in everything He has made and done.

     Because of man's fall into sin, some of his God-given
abilities have been limited or misused for selfish and
destructive ends.  Nowhere is this more evident than in
the area of creativity.

     For this reason, God's Word often speaks negatively of the
"imaginations" and "inventions" of godless men.

     While God uses many of our creative efforts for His glory
and our good, we must always remember to "examine everything
carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every
form of evil"  (1 Thessalonians 5:21, 22).

Where and When Can We Use Creativity?

     Creativity can be used with benefit in the following areas:

 •  Creative thought can be useful in almost any area of life --
     arts, sciences, business, finances, relationships, teaching,
     and communication, as well as cooking, sewing, decorating,
     and everyday family problems.

 •  Creativity can add efficiency, convenience, meaning, and
     beauty to our lives, freeing up valuable time, smoothing
     relationships, and bringing to pass seemingly impossible
     goals and dreams.

 •  Changing circumstances sometimes make established methods
     obsolete and require a creative approach to find effective
     new methods.

 •  To achieve our potential of personal growth we must add new
     goals and objectives from time to time.

 •  Difficult problems often require innovative solutions, and
     intense experiences inspire creative expression.

     Creativity is not appropriate, however, when we are making
moral or ethical decisions.  God's Word gives us absolute
standards of right and wrong as well as describing in detail what
loving behavior is.  As His children, we are not free to choose
our own way in these areas.

     We can guard against the pitfall of pride and
self-sufficiency by maintaining a deep love and respect for God
and others.  We must humbly recognize how much of what we are and
have comes from outside ourselves and freely express our
gratitude to each one who contributes to our lives and thinking.

     Also, as members of Christ's Body, the Church, we must value
the differing gifts of every other member.  All are necessary to
accomplish God's purposes.


Teaching Compound Microscope:
An Indispensable Instrument
for Biology and Other Science Courses
     Model OMTM-85, a full-sized microscope
with dual eyepiece tubes, enables you to view
specimens with your students.  Six levels of
magnification; will last for years!  Learn about
and shop for many models of microscopes, including
cordless, at


The Creative Process

     While specifics vary with different situations, the following
steps may be involved in creative thought or activity, although
their order may be rearranged.

1.  Identify a Need, a Goal, an Opportunity, or a Problem.

     You may find it helpful to periodically reevaluate each area
of your experience (one by one, not all at once!) to see if
improvements might be possible.

2.  Take Inventory of What You Already Know
     or What Others Have Tried.

     Do a little research in related areas to broaden your base
of knowledge and skill -- the raw materials for creative thought.

     Sources could include the Bible, library or reference books,
technical or trade magazines, conversations or correspondence
with others, a trip to a museum or factory.  Each project will
suggest its own resources.

3.  Develop New Perspectives or Approaches.

     Reword your question or problem in several ways to emphasize
different aspects.

 •  Ask "what if" questions that stretch your thinking.

 •  Try to imagine various points of view, including those
     opposite from your previous approach.

 •  Ask yourself how various others would view the situation
     (e.g., Abraham Lincoln, the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31,
     your father, Daniel, or your pastor's wife).

4.  Brainstorm for Ideas.

     You may want to write down a word or phrase for each idea
when they start coming thick and fast so you can recall them

     At this stage it is important to refrain from evaluating
ideas (except to rule out any that are obviously unscriptural).

     Record even the wildest for later consideration.  Sometimes
the very newness of original ideas makes them seem crazy at

     Brainstorming sessions with other people can be especially

5.  Explore Metaphors and Analogies.

     To stimulate unusual insights, try choosing an object or
word either at random (e.g., the second blue object you see in
the room, the fourth noun, verb, or adjective on the next page)
or because something about your project reminds you of it.  Then
ask yourself how your situation or the person you are involved
with is similar to your chosen word.

     To illustrate this point: The other night I was contemplating
how to manage all my duties as home-schooling mother, wife,
editor, etc.  I quickly identified eight areas of responsibility.

     The number 8 reminded me of an octopus.  In remembering
what I knew about the octopus, it occurred to me that this
animal moves forward by jet propulsion, expelling water as fast
as it takes it in.  This suggested to me the thought that I need to
deal with situations as soon as they arise.  Procrastination when
a child needs discipline, a nap, or a meal soon brings all
productive activity to a halt!

     Of course, most analogies break down at some point, so they
should not be pursued past their usefulness.  And the insights
that occur to your may not even make sense to someone else.  The
metaphor is not magic.  It is only a catalyst that stimulates
your own creative thought.  Rather than getting stuck on one,
move on to another fairly soon.

     For example, I no sooner figured out my octopus metaphor
than I remembered four more duties that I had not included in the
original eight.  Did that mean my insight was not valid?  No,
examination of the principle showed it to be true.  But now I had
a new number to work with.

     The number 12 suggested a dozen eggs.  How does one juggle a
dozen eggs?  Answer: One does not juggle eggs.   One places them
carefully in a carton, each in its own place.  So maybe I need to
work on planning a time for each duty instead of just hoping they
will all get done if I keep flitting from one to another.

     You may observe that my two insights almost seem opposite to
each other.  Not to worry.  Truth and reality often involve a
seeming paradox.  But it is only by accepting "both sides of the
coin" that we can achieve balance in our lives and thinking.

6. Use Your Intuition.

     We get "hunches" for which we have no logical explanation.
Can we trust them?  Yes and no.

     Our minds are so wonderfully designed that they are capable
of synthesizing disparate information from a wide variety of
sources to arrive at a conclusion much faster than we could
figure it out with step-by-step logical thinking.  This does not
necessarily mean it is an illogical conclusion.  It may be that
long-forgotten experiences or knowledge stored in our memory
banks or very subtle clues in another person's behavior have been
observed or recalled almost unconsciously.

     Intuition, far from being mystical, may be a precise logical
process that simply uses data not available to our conscious
minds.  For this reason we can often come up with a better plan
after "sleeping on it" than if we limit ourselves to a one-time,
direct confrontation with a situation.

7. Another Source of Creativity.

     There is one more source of creativity that is available
only to Christians.

     We who have been born again into God's family are indwelt by
His Spirit.  Whenever we are engaged in the work He has given us
to do, we can expect His help.

     God declared of the man He called to help create His
Tabernacle, "I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom,
in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of
craftsmanship, to make artistic designs . . ." (Exodus 31:3-4).
     Creativity seems to be closely associated with wisdom, which
we are invited to request from God with the confidence that we
will receive it.

     "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who
gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be
given to him" (James 1:5).


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How Should Creative Ideas Be Evaluated?

     An important part of the creative process is the evaluation
of original ideas.  While premature criticism of new ideas can
stifle a creative impulse, this step cannot be postponed

     Sooner or later each idea must be assessed for its
practicality, appropriateness, value, and even morality.  This
may require the use of an outside source.

     As Christians, of course, our first consideration is that
our idea should be in harmony with all scriptural principles and
that it should be honoring to our Lord.  Only a thorough
knowledge of God's Word can guide us here.  If we are lacking in
this area, we can ask for counsel from those who are more
knowledgeable and then study the Scriptures they show us.

     We can compare our plans with the biblical standards
expressed in such passages as:

 •  Philippians 4:8
     "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things."

 •  I Corinthians 13:4-8
     "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does
not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does
not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a
wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices
with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all
things, endures all things.  Love never fails."

 •  Galatians 5:22-23
     "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."

     The practical feasibility of an original idea depends on
various physical, financial, and relational realities.  However,
in actual experience you may find that you meet with an
unexpected obstacle.  Or that an expected problem may have a
solution you hadn't thought of.

     For these reasons, don't be too hasty in discarding an
otherwise good idea.  Focus first on the positive, then keep
criticism as constructive as possible.


Operation Christmas Child:
Teach Your Children
the "Gift of Giving"
     Bring joy and hope to children
in desperate situations around the
world through gift-filled shoe boxes
and the Good News of God's love.  National Shoe Box
Collection Week is November 14-21.  Order your materials
online at


What Are the Prerequisites of Creativity?

     Creativity is not a gift that certain people are given and
others can never possess.  It is a latent ability in all of us.
We can each choose to develop and use our creative capacity or to
get "stuck in a rut," moving through life as mere creatures of
habit and thus impoverishing both ourselves and those around us.

     But creativity does not spring from a vacuum.  It depends on
the raw materials of general knowledge, experience, and skills.

     It also requires an open-minded attitude -- a realization
that in nonmoral, nonlegal, nonethical areas there are many
"right" ways, not just one.

     Character qualities, such as diligence, self-discipline, and
dedication, are essential, as are well-developed powers of
observation and concentration.  Add to these a sincere
appreciation of beauty, a love for excellence, and the enjoyment
of hard work.

     These elements all contribute in one way or another to the
creative process and can all be cultivated in our own lives as
well as in the training of our children.

     In our next two issues we will present practical ways to
encourage creativity in our children.


Please Thank and Support
Our Sponsoring Advertisers!
     These free newsletters are made possible financially by the
fine suppliers who advertise in them and in the accompanying
e-mail.  Please consider those that advertised in our last issue
(below) as well as the ones in this issue.

Wreaths of Maine
Sing 'n Learn
Piano for Life
Library and Educational Services
Math Fundamentals: Complement any Math Curriculum
Money Camp at Home Curriculum


Sunnyside Up: Top-of-the-Line Bandage
     Our 3-year-old son got burned when he accidentally brushed
the hot iron.  As he was crying, I explained how I would put on
a very special bandage.  While I dressed the wound, I went into
a lengthy explanation of the attributes of gauze bandages and what
they are used for.
     The next day, our 4-year-old fell off his bike and got a large
scrape.  He ran sobbing to me, "Mommy, I'm going to need a
God's bandage for this one!"
     Submitted by Katy H., Brazil


God Loves You.
     Because we have been separated from God by sin, Jesus
Christ died in our place, then rose to life again.  If we trust
Him as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
     "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).


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