…we know that the human hand is a wonderful and exquisite instrument to be used in a hundred movements exacting delicacy, direction and force; every such movement is a cause of joy as it leads to the pleasure of execution and the triumph of success. We begin to understand this and make some efforts to train the young in the deft handling of tools and the practice of handicrafts. – Charlotte Mason
I graduated from high school not knowing how to sew, how to cook, or how to fold a fitted sheet. (Would it be surprising to know that I dropped out of Home Economics class? Remarkable inventions like Hamburger Helper were made just for me.)
A redeeming quality of parenthood (and marriage and homeschooling) is that I’ve been granted ample opportunities to learn new things alongside my children as I attempt to teach them a bit more about the basic skills I’ve lacked. The problem is, I haven’t really known what I lack beyond the basics of sewing, cooking, or folding a fitted sheet. Perhaps this is why I’ve so enjoyed the history unit studies we’ve embarked upon as a family? Many times, these history studies have included another element of learning – one that is not just about accumulating intellectual knowledge, but one that includes the use of our hands in creating beautiful things. This certainly was missing from my life before I started homeschooling. (I’m so thankful to these four boys for enriching my life so much more than I ever thought possible!)
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We just finished another history study from Homeschool in the Woods where we not only learned about colonial life and times, but also had the chance to practice the authentic colonial arts of reverse painting, embroidering, silhouette art, stenciling, sewing, cooking, papercrafting…
cross-stitching (or, rather, designing cross-stitching patterns from a boy’s perspective)…
These handicraft projects were all incorporated into the Time Travelers American History Study: Colonial Life, where we learned about the history of America’s colonies leading up to the American Revolution, including the first thirteen colonies, early settlers and colonial farming, the colonial home, colonial clothing (making wool, linen, and dye), colonial food and recipes, family life, colonial games and pastimes, colonial villages and cities, education, faith, artisans, holidays, crime and punishment, health and medicine, and plantations and slavery. The study opens with an archaeology activity and dig (of which I failed to capture photos)… [Read more…]