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Overcoming 3 Obstacles to Enjoying Handicrafts: Handicrafts, part 3

child and grandmother painting for homeschool handicraftWhat do you picture in your mind when you read the word “obstacle”? How large of an obstacle do you imagine?

Obstacles can be of various sizes, you know. For example, you might encounter an empty tissue box sitting on the floor right where you intended to sweep. That tissue box is an obstacle, but you can easily pick it up and remove it.

On the other hand, the Rocky Mountains were quite the obstacle for Lewis and Clark to overcome on their trek across America. That size of an obstacle is not as easily removed.

We’ve looked at the benefits of handicrafts and given you some ideas for getting started. Today let’s talk about three common obstacles that might appear in your mind whenever you think about handicrafts. And hopefully, you’ll see that those obstacles are not insurmountable.

  1. No Skill

    As I mentioned last week, I am not an artsy-craftsy person. But that obstacle has not stopped my children from learning many handicrafts through the years. We overcame this obstacle with four different resources.

    • Relatives, friends, church members, neighbors—people from all of these categories have come alongside at different times to share a particular handicraft with us. They have been eager to see their favorite handicraft passed along to another generation. Look around you for people resources.
    • Classes at the local craft superstore are usually available. We have attended some and have learned some handicrafts in this way. Check nearby stores for classes.
    • Local shops also offer learning opportunities, as well as enthusiasm. For example, a quilting store near us offered a Block-of-the-Month club for several years. They would give guidance and encouragement every month when we went to pick up the fabric for the new blocks and show them our finished blocks.
    • Online videos are a relatively new and helpful resource for learning a handicraft. You will find a wide variety of projects and skills explained in detail if you take a little time to look for some videos on the handicraft you’re interested in.
  2. No Time

    Handicrafts are often put on the bottom of the to-do list because they can take up a lot of time. Here are some ideas that might get you started thinking of creative possibilities that will fit your schedule.

    • Remember the benefits we talked about. We make time for things that we think are valuable to our children’s education.
    • Start with once a week, and schedule your handicraft time after the book work is done so you can spend as much time on it as you would like. It’s frustrating to spend half of your allotted handicraft time pulling out and putting away supplies. So try to schedule a larger block of time once a week when you don’t have an obligation waiting for you to finish up.
    • Schedule a project week. Take a week that you would normally count as a break and use it to focus on a handicraft or life skill project instead. You will still have a lot of spare time during the week, but you will also be able to enjoy learning and practicing your new skill without the added pressure of we-must-get-this-done-today constraints.
    • Schedule a project day. If you can’t take a whole week to enjoy a handicraft project, try scheduling one day for no book work, just handicrafts. Maybe this day will occur once a month or once every two weeks. You decide what will work best for your family during this season.
  3. No Money

    Handicrafts don’t have to be expensive. You can start with inexpensive crafts or start with just the essentials. For example, you can learn to carve using a bar of soap and a knife. Knitting needles and crochet hooks cost less than $10. Clay can be used again and again. We recently got a kit of watercolor paints in tubes for $12 and have been using them for months now.

    We have also asked for specific art supplies as gifts. Grandparents and other relatives like to know that their gift will be used and appreciated. Plus, they usually like to know what your children are interested in. Asking for specific art supplies accomplishes both goals and helps you save money on handicrafts.

Come to think of it, anything worthwhile presents some obstacles to overcome. In the case of handicrafts, the benefits are definitely worth the effort!

New Video: Choosing an E-Book Reader for Your Homeschool

There has been so much discussion on the SCM forum lately about e-book reading devices that we decided to help everyone sort out the options. Doug Smith—homeschool dad, self-admitted technology geek, and SCM’s webmaster and more—has put together a video to help you understand the differences between the various e-book reader devices and how they can be used in a homeschool setting. If you’re considering an e-book reader and trying to decide which would be best for your family, take a look. Doug is famous for explaining technology in a user-friendly way. As one mom on our Forum put it, “I am always amazed at technology and am grateful that you took the time to explain it all in ENGLISH so we can understand!”

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3 Responses to “Overcoming 3 Obstacles to Enjoying Handicrafts: Handicrafts, part 3”

  1. Thy Hand December 31, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    This series has been helpful and so timely. I’m not a “crafty” mom but I can get excited about handicrafts with purpose. I just recently bought a beginner’s sewing book for my 5 year old’s upcoming birthday. She’s our middle child and I plan to set aside time on Sunday afternoons to work on the simple projects with her as she gets less undivided attention than her 3rd grade brother or year old sister. Thanks for the encouragement- I’m looking forward to spending time with her in this way and teaching her a life long skill.

  2. Angela January 6, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    I don’t have kids, but I taught myself to quilt and tat by first buying little booklets on the subjects from a crafts store. For more advanced techniques in quilting I eventually needed advice from seasoned quilters, but with tatting there are plenty of YouTube videos to see techniques demonstrated (also, the tatting booklet came with a DVD).

  3. Amy D. May 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Like homeschooling itself, handicrafts are intended to be seamlessly integrated into daily life. Of course, when we’re not accustomed to doing them, it takes a little getting used to and they’ll need to be scheduled into your day.

    Down the line, however, you should find it easier and easier to spend leisure hours with your handicrafts. For instance, knitting during a quiet evening… wood carving after dinner.

    What’s more… you don’t need to have huge chunks of time to do handicrafts. Got 15 minutes until you need to leave for an appointment? Sit down and sew for that period. Just do a little sanding on that component of the wooden ship.