February 28, 2015

Craft Lack

Lest you think I have all the areas of a Charlotte Mason education under control, let me share what I know from personal experience about handicrafts.


I made some friendship bracelets in elementary school, and made some throw-away crafts at camp a couple of summers.  That's it.  Seriously.  I did draw on occasion for fun and take art class in high school, but I certainly didn't come away with anything worth keeping, or useful in any way.  

Everything I know about handicrafts comes from the reading and researching I've done the past 4 years on behalf of my son, and my short experience knitting last winter.  (I keep meaning to pick that up again, and I WILL, but my finger injury that occurred mid-October is holding me back, as it still hurts to type with it, so needles wouldn't be a good thing, but I'll get there!)

Knowing my own lack, I reached for help.  We started with Boy's Ma, my mother-in-law, who knows all about sewing.  They hand-sewed, then machine-sewed, so that was weekly for a year.  For second grade, I went to his Pa, who knows a bit of leather-craft, so that was weekly for about half the year, then we floundered about.  We tried soap carving with a bit of success but it wasn't exciting, hence the previous post about wood carving.  When he gets bored, I always suggest picking up a handicraft, but he rarely goes for it.  Why?  Possibly my lack (and my husband's lack) of modeling that way of life.  We reach for electronic devices, or sometimes a book.

This lack of craftiness will not fix itself.  While making artwork isn't technically handicrafting, I tend to lump it together in my mind, and am giving myself some credit for making an effort in this area by taking painting classes sporadically.  Yesterday, we attended a homeschool art class (the first in our county! yay, progress!) with Boy and you can see our success below.

However, I do need to be more intentional.  I write it on the schedule at least 3 days a week, and we may get to it one of those times.  I save handicraft until last in our school day, so he can work on it as long as he wants.  It's never very long, though, so I'm considering moving it earlier; perhaps it will be less forgotten.  

Honestly, the reason I let handicrafts fall by the wayside more often than not because I feel my own inadequacy in this area.  I can read and write, and even do math, but ask me to carve some wood or try something new, and I'm on the same level as the Boy.  Its good for him to see me this way, though - I can model trying, failing, trying again, dealing with frustrations and sharing successes.

Are you willing to let go of pride and perfection and learn something new with your kids?


  1. One thing that has been a big help for us (once they are established with a skill) is to let the kids craft while I read. Teacup and Tempest both crochet during reading time. As long as they can still give a good narration, I figure they are listening. Double win because I don't have to schedule it is separate time in the schedule!


    1. He does this very rarely. He prefers to eat, or at least chew, and draw or build or roll around or... I think in another year or two, if he can become confident in something and gets his body more under control, he will be able to do a lot of handcrafting while listening. I hope. :) Glad it works for you all!


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