It’s March – also known as National Craft Month. As children advance through the grades studying art provides lots of options.
As they got older, I wanted to introduce my children to the beauty of handcrafts – crochet, knitting, needlepoint, card making, and sewing to name a few. They could make items for dolls or cosplay costumes. They could find ways to decorate their rooms based on their interests or create seasonal decorations or cards. So, I made them part of our curriculum.
You can have your children participate in the local 4-H fair or State fair. They can enter their projects into the fair and receive constructive feedback. Take a picture of the project in the fair and place it in your homeschooling portfolio along with any ribbons and/or awards that they receive.
Not into knitting? A local quilt shop offered to teach a group of young girl scouts how to sew a pillowcase. She allowed them to pick out their colors for the case and taught them to sew on great sewing machines. The mothers enjoyed the break to look around the shop while the girls sewed in another room. Other options for the arts include wood shop. The same one that sewed a pillowcase built a hydrogen fuel cell car a few years later.
One of my children participated in Cub Scouts and built a car for the pinewood derby. We snapped pictures of the car building process and incorporated that into the portfolio for homeschooling review. A few years later he worked on a team to build a solar powered car for a science bowl competition. It was wonderful for my children to learn these basic skills. Need to hang a picture – get hammer and nails. Need to assemble a bookcase? Show them how to read a diagram, get out the screwdriver and screws and build it. A button falls off of a shirt. Teach them to sew it back on.
How do you document this? Take pictures and list any items that you used in the process. Let’s look at knitting as an example.
Practical arts – Knitting
Student knit a scarf (take pictures of yarn and needles. Take pictures of child knitting at the beginning, middle, and end of the project). If you used a video, website, and/or book for the pattern and technique, list them. Done.
Practical arts – Woodwork
Student built a bookcase. Take pictures of pieces of wood as well as tools used to assemble it. Take pictures of the building process – beginning, middle, and end. Show final project. Done.
So when you are thinking about other ways to incorporate art into your child’s curriculum, think outside of the box and think of the handcrafts that you may have been exposed to as a child. I view handicrafts as practical arts – skills that can last a lifetime. Happy Crafting!