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Handicrafts and life skills are such a great way to spend cooler afternoons. And as the weather turns cold, they provide a wonderfully productive outlet for energetic minds and fingers indoors.
We like to combine handicrafts with life skills because there is a natural overlap and because Charlotte’s students were expected to do house work and garden work as part of their schooling. In fact, many times the handicrafts are listed under the heading of just plain “Work” on her schedules, along with life skills.
I was curious what Charlotte Mason’s students did for Work during the fall months, so I went on a search. Here is the list from a couple of her programmes for September through December, 1924.
- Do some definite house or garden work.
- Paper modeling.
- Paper folding.
- Make six cardboard models.
- Darn and mend garments from the wash each week.
- Make Christmas presents.
- Scouting tests.
- Help with entertainment for a charity fundraiser.
- Boys: stencilling.
- Girls: knit or crochet a baby’s garment.
Do you know what struck me most about that list? The balance of all the outlets for a child to use his hands in order to help and to be productive. The list includes
- Serving the family (helping with household work),
- Personal enjoyment and challenge (new crafts and scouting tests), and
- Sharing with others (making gifts and supporting charities).
All three outlets for creativity and productivity are important. And keeping a balance between all three is the Charlotte Mason way.
Those are great principles to keep in mind this fall—and year round—as we contemplate handicrafts and life skills for our children.
Here are a few other helpful reminders. You’ll find Charlotte’s thoughts about why we do handicrafts and life skills in the article 7 Benefits of Homeschool Handicrafts. Plus some great practical tips in How to Do Homeschool Handicrafts and Overcoming 3 Obstacles to Enjoying Handicrafts.
Those of you with younger boys may also find this discussion from the SCM Forum helpful: Handicraft Ideas for “Little” Boy.
And next week we will share an exciting new resource that will make it simple to add handicrafts to your homeschool schedule. You won’t want to miss that announcement!