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Fall and winter seem to be good seasons for handicrafts. There’s just something appealing about being in a warm, comfortable room and working with your hands while the wind blows outside. Thanks to Charlotte Mason for including handicrafts in her broad curriculum!
- Which handicrafts should I choose?
Charlotte had two over-arching principles for handicrafts: useful and doable. Make sure the finished product will be something that can be used (not just displayed on the refrigerator and then tossed in the trash) and that is also well within the capabilities of your child — challenging, without being frustrating.
- How long should a handicraft project take?
Finishing time will vary with each project, of course. But Charlotte gave us two important time factors to consider. First, teach the children “slowly and carefully what they are to do.” Second, make sure the child takes his time and does his best work. “Slipshod work should not be allowed,” she said (Vol. 1, p. 315).
- Is there some kind of handicraft schedule that I should follow?
It might be nice to have several handicrafts in mind each year in order to keep learning new skills. But we’ve found that our resources, available time, and the children’s interests all come into play when determining which handicrafts we’ll do in any given term, so it’s good to be flexible.
- What if I don’t know how to do a handicraft that my child wants to learn?
Not to worry. Look around for people within your extended family, neighborhood, or church who know the handicraft. Chances are they would love to share it with your child (and you!). You can also check your local library or shop online for how-to books and videos. And you could search the Internet for Web sites that specialize in the handicraft you’re interested in; many of them provide instructions and starter projects.
- Would home economics-type skills count as handicrafts?
In Charlotte’s day the handicrafts were both a way to eventually earn money and to beautify a household, as well as a way to teach industriousness. So we include cooking, baking, sewing, and other “home skills” with our handicrafts. Here is a list of handicraft and home skill possibilities to stir your imagination.