One of the biggest benefits to homeschooling CM style is that much of your afternoons are free! During this time your kids can be kids and play to their heart’s content – Charlotte Mason suggests outdoor play as much as possible. Or you can take nature walks, read living literature together, practice musical instruments, complete artist study, and more. One of the coolest “afternoon activities” we do is handicrafting.
Handicrafts are things you produce using your hands. The list below doesn’t cover nearly everything, but some handicrafts include:
- jewelry making
- flower arranging
- cake decorating
- flower crafts
- wood burning
- rubber stamping
Along the same vein are life skills. These are things your children really should know before leaving home, but might not be covered in academic lessons. A short list of examples includes:
- caring for animals
- household chores
- household decorating
- care for a lawn
- building projects
- computer skills
Both handicrafts and life skills are things every child should have the opportunity to learn, but sadly many children don’t. They’re often so busy “doing school” they never have the opportunity to really cultivate the skills that seem less necessary. I have to tell you that I’ve watched my children find some of the Lord’s purposes for their lives as I’ve allowed them opportunities and time to dive into handicrafts and life skills!
In my home, I’ve been very proactive to offer my children opportunities to experience as many handicrafts and life skills as possible. When 4-H offers a sewing class, we take it. When a friend arranges a trip to the local florist, we go. When co-op has a woodworking competition, I’ve encouraged my children to join in. For someone like me who isn’t naturally gifted in most handicrafts, these opportunities have opened the eyes of my children to something they would not have seen/learned otherwise.
When one of these handicrafts “sticks”, the enthusiasm of my children takes over and they push themselves to learn more or find other classes or people to help them.
Where to go for help with learning handicrafts and life skills? The answers will depend on what’s available in your area, but some of my suggestions include:
- In my county, 4-H has offered many, many wonderful classes like sewing, cooking, basket making, art, crafts, horticulture, beginning electricity, service projects, livestock care, gun safety, and more!
- County Extension Offices
- 4-H is associated with the extension office, but we have taken several classes offered through their adult education programs like Landscaping 101, Garden Q&A’s, and (hopefully) soon a Jr. Master Gardener course. Although we haven’t taken the time yet, we would be very welcome at knitting, quilting and canning classes, too.
- Field Trips
- Get together with a few friends and take turns scheduling informative field trips in your area. Fun choices might include the florist, a bakery, an art studio, a business that handmakes any product from candles to soap to clothing, a scrapbooking shop, a veterinarian’s office, a farm, a contractor’s jobsite or an interior decorator’s shop.
- Pay for Classes
- Whatever your child is interested in, there’s a class or teacher somewhere!
- Find Family Members or Neighbors Who Love To Teach a Skill
- My daughter has learned to knit and crochet from her grandmothers and a sweet 90 year old neighbor. The neighbor was a huge asset to us, but my daughter’s visits brightened her day once a week as well.
- Start a Keepers of the Faith (for girls) or Contenders of the Faith (for boys) Club
- When my daughter was a preteen, we started a small group (about 5 families) for girls who were all the same age. We met monthly and the moms took turns planning classes to teach “girlie skills”. These were precious times together for the moms and daughters. The girls learned to decorate cakes, arrange flowers, sew potholders, make nice scrapbook pages and so much more. We used the Keepers of the Faith book as a guide for ideas, but didn’t follow it as a program. You can see more from our Keepers classes here.
- Get Dad Involved
- Dads generally have knowledge about various skills that are unique and priceless. Encourage him to invite the kids along as he goes about his “manly” business.
There’s no way to give you a comprehensive list of resources for handicrafts and life skill since it depends on the interests of your children. However, I will share a few that have become treasured, well-worn helps in our family.
As for life skills, my children have worked alongside me at the house (and my husband on the farm) from the time they could walk. Household chores, gardening, canning, working cattle, fixing broken things, etc. are just normal and won’t surprise my children when they start their own homes.
You can see some of my handicraft and life skill posts here. I would love to hear how handicrafts and life skills have enhanced your homeschool!
We’re almost to the end of the series. I hope you’ll hang in there with me for two more days! Tomorrow we’ll discuss Habit Training.
Be sure to visit these brilliant women in this 10 days adventure between February 7th-18th!
10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
10 days of classical education | Milk & Cookies
10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
10 days of homeschooling girls | Homegrown Mom
10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling Montessori | Fruit in Season
10 days of preschool | Delightful Learning
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