Families that are cohesive and intradependent generate high academic achievers. Families that are child-focused create high academic achievers.

Families that are broken, non-child focused, and full of conflict generate creative thinkers.

I get this information from a paper by Rena Subotnik, titled, Beyond Bloom: Environmental Factors that Enhance or Impede Talent Development.

This makes intuitive sense. Creativity is a response to a drive, and you have to get that drive from somewhere. You have to have a big problem you want to solve. Distress breeds creativity.

There are tons of examples of this. A common factor in the lives of high-achieving men in business is that they are first-born sons of single mothers. And a common thread among kids who go to Harvard is that their parents are not divorced.

So it seems that maybe homeschooling does not really promote highly creative kids because homeschooling families are relatively stable and child-focused.

But wait. There’s more. It seems that what really promotes creativity is leaving your kid alone:

Studies suggest that an important factor in the lives of eminent individuals is the degree to which children fully develop a unique identity and express their own thoughts. Individuals who do so are more likely to produce ground-breaking work within their talent domain as opposed to high levels of achievement. The circumstances in homes or families that create environments conducive to the development of independent identities and thoughts. . .include a reduction in parent-child identification, and emotional distance between parent and child, lower levels of parental monitoring of children, and less conventional socialization of children by parents. 

What I love about this research is that it makes me feel more secure with my unschooling plan. So many people tell me they don’t know how I do it. They ask me how do I work full time and homeschool my kids, too The answer is that I get out of their way. I’m really good at supplying them with what they need to do what they want. But I’m very hands off.

Sometimes I think I’m hands off because I believe that’s what good schooling is. And sometimes I think I’m hands off because I’d really rather be in working in quiet solitude.  After reading this research I think it doesn’t matter. Even if I’m hands-off because I like to work more than I like to talk to kids about their video games, the truth is that kids grow up fine with hands-off parenting. And hands-off schooling.