Charlotte emphasized the importance of educating the whole person, and part of that total education involves working with your hands: “Another elemental relationship, which every child should be taught and encouraged to set up, is that of power over material. Every child makes sand castles, mud-pies, paper boats, and he or she should go on to work in clay, wood, brass, iron, leather, dress-stuffs, food-stuffs, furnishing-stuffs. He should be able to make with his hands and should take delight in making” (Vol. 3, p. 80).
As we continue in our Subject by Subject series, let’s take a look at handicrafts and how to teach them.
Handicrafts and Life Skills
There is much to be learned in working with one’s hands to create something of use and beauty. Charlotte understood that and selected a handicraft for her students to learn each term.
We like to combine handicrafts and life skills in our home school, because there is often overlap between the two categories. For example, sewing—is it a handicraft or a life skill? Both. So we try to select handicrafts and life skills for our students to learn.
Whichever skill we are working on, four main principles apply.
- The children “should not be employed in making futilities.” Make sure the project is useful.
- Teach the children “slowly and carefully what they are to do.” Allow plenty of time for the children to learn the skills step by step and to do them correctly.
- “Slipshod work should not allowed.” Encourage careful work and best effort right from the beginning.
- “Therefore, the children’s work should be kept well within their compass.” Select a handicraft and a project that will challenge but not frustrate.
Handicrafts don’t always fit into the short lessons we usually schedule during the morning hours. In fact, Charlotte recommended scheduling handicrafts during the afternoon when the children would have plenty of time to get out the supplies, learn the next step, practice until they were satisfied they were doing it correctly, and see progress on the project. Oh, and clean up!
You’ll find lots of ideas in this list of possible handicrafts and life skills to teach your children, as well as these articles on 7 Benefits of Homeschool Handicrafts, How to Do Homeschool Handicrafts, and Overcoming 3 Obstacles to Enjoying Handicrafts. Plus, here are some ideas and tips for fall handicrafts.
New Knitting Handicraft DVD
We know what it is like to wrack your brain, trying to figure out which handicraft you can teach your children and what projects they might make and what supplies you need to get. It can be so overwhelming that handicrafts too often take a backseat and you never get to them.
That’s why we created the Handicrafts Made Simple series. Each DVD gives you
- Step-by-step instructions with close-up details,
- Fun projects that your children will actually use,
- A complete list of easy-to-find, inexpensive supplies,
- A handy booklet with a suggested schedule, tips, and ideas for bonus projects,
- And an opportunity to learn right along with your children.
And now we’re pleased to announce a new handicraft in the line-up: knitting. Yes, knitting is appropriate for boys, as well as girls! It’s fascinating to read about the men who helped knit socks and scarves and other items for the soldiers in World War I. Even governors took up their knitting needles to contribute to the war effort! And the projects presented in Handicrafts Made Simple are useful for both genders. Your children will learn to make a scarf, a hat, a dishcloth (Makes a great gift!), and a pair of socks.
With the new Handicrafts Made Simple: Knitting, handicraft lessons have never been easier!
This is part of the series: Subject by Subject
How to teach each school subject in a Charlotte Mason way.
- A Generous Curriculum: Subject By Subject,
- Three Basic CM Principles: Subject by Subject, Part 2
- Teaching History: Subject by Subject, Part 3
- Teaching Geography: Subject by Subject, Part 4
- Teaching Spelling: Subject by Subject, Part 5
- Teaching Bible: Subject by Subject, Part 6
- Teaching Handicrafts: Subject by Subject, Part 7
- Teaching Science: Subject by Subject, Part 8
- Teaching Foreign Language: Subject by Subject, Part 9
- Teaching Music: Subject by Subject, Part 10
- Teaching Writing: Subject by Subject, Part 11
- Teaching Literature: Subject by Subject, Part 12
- Teaching Grammar: Subject by Subject, Part 13
- Teaching Beginning Reading: Subject by Subject, Part 14
- Teaching Art: Subject by Subject, Part 15
- Teaching Poetry: Subject by Subject, Part 16
- Teaching Math: Subject by Subject, Part 17