Long Live the Library

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A quick post to show off a picture of our children’s craft time at the library last summer, during one of the workshops for the Summer Reading Program. I cannot say enough about how much we enjoy going to the library, getting books and doing crafts throughout the year, not just during the summer.

Boy and girl working on a craft at the library

My children working on crafts at the library

This winter will be interesting, as we say good bye to our long-time children’s librarian, who is retiring. Continue reading »

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60 Ideas for Arts and Crafts

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Many people use “I’m not a teacher” as an excuse for not homeschooling. It’s a mentality they grew up with. I did too. I understand. I got out of it when I felt called to homeschool my children, slowly but surely.

The Industrial Age has turned all of us into specialized professionals along the assembly lines of the world. Each of us has been instructed to take care of only one job and so we go through life assuming teachers teach, bakers bake, pilots fly planes and architects design.

60Ideas

In fact, you CAN teach your child. You can! It’s as simple as picking up a teacher’s manual and reading the lesson the night before. In this post, I am illustrating the point by giving you 60 ideas for arts and crafts. I’m no artist. My kids can draw better than I can. But I teach them art with the right tools.

Even if you yourself are not that great at art you can teach your children art. To teach means to educate. And “educate” come from the Latin word “educare,” which means “leading out, taking somebody from here to there, guiding.” So you can guide your children through the process of discovering art. Take my case: I am not an artist, but I appreciate art. And, I discovered, it does not take much to expose my children to arts and crafts.

Here is a list of 60 arts and crafts you can do with your children:

1. Visit your local Museum of Art. For us, it’s Arrowmont in Gatlinburg and the Knoxville Museum of Art.

2. Visit your local children’s museum. The closest one to us is in Oak Ridge and we have not been yet. I have only heard good things about it, but it’s just been a little out of the way for us.

3. Visit your local science and technology center. Check this list out to locate one near you. They are bound to have craft tables, among all those scientific projects. If you travel, it would make sense to invest in a membership. That way, you can visit everywhere for free. We got a membership at The Muse in Knoxville and have already visited another science center for free (the Discovery Center in Charlotte, NC). That’s what you can do any time you travel.

4. Visit your local natural science museum. They usually have programs and tours for children which end up with a craft. We go to McClung in Knoxville for their free stroller tours.

5. Visit your local artisan shops. Sometimes they have artist at work demonstrations. Exposing the children to the creating process inspires them. We go to the Arts and Crafts community on Glades Road in Gatlinburg – 120+ shops to explore.

6. Visit the National Gallery of Art website for kids and virtual shop. You will gain four things: knowledge, inspiration, ideas, and pretty things to share with friends and family.  Continue reading »

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DIY Sewing: You Won’t Believe How Much You Can Save!

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Considering learning to sew? Go for it! Not just a fun hobby, sewing can also help save you money. Here are just a few of the ways you can save by sewing:

 

 

Mend clothes

Sewing machines won’t just save you money — they’ll save you time as well, there are lots of different models to choose from, so take your time! Who wants to run to a seamstress every time you pop a button or tear your jeans? Mending clothes yourself will save you some cash and give you the satisfaction of doing it on your own as well.

scissors, needle, thread, sewing

 

Craft it up

No need to head to the toy store for every birthday or Christmas present anymore! Sew your children dolls, stuffed animals and dress-up clothes. When the kids are old enough to use the machine themselves, teach them how to make a simple patchwork quilt or pillow.

Continue reading »

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5 Days of Homeschool Essentials, Day 5 – Craft Materials

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(This post on craft materials as homeschooling essentials contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.)

Even high school students need poster board, right? And some fancy-schmancy markers? But when you homeschool elementary and preschool kids, like I do, craft materials become an essential. I would even put this before a few others I have mentioned. So last, but not least, here’s my #5 homeschooling essential: craft materials.

A simple Google search will reveal all sorts of ideas for crafts. For those of us who are craft-challenged, a curriculum like Home Art Studio will be worth every penny. Some of the projects you see here came from their DVD. I plan to do a full review on this curriculum in February.

Children mix red and yellow paint to obtain orange.

My kids mixed red and yellow to make orange, then painted small paper plates orange. They were so proud of their creations.

Small children love crafts and they develop so many skills through cutting and pasting, threading and buttoning, matching and measuring. Crafts are the perfect activity during which they have fun and learn at the same time, without realizing they are doing so.

Happy Sun - a simple craft project

Crafts don’t have to be difficult: paint a whole paper orange, let it dry, draw a circle, cut it out. Also, cut out triangles and mount on blue construction paper. Add details like eyes, mouth and clouds.

Your craft cabinet should contain inexpensive items (Dollar Stores come to mind) like:

  • scissors
  • glue
  • construction paper
  • scrap paper in different colors
  • card stock
  • crayons
  • markers
  • paint (different types)
  • brushes (different sizes)
  • stickers
  • play dough
Purple play dough flower, with stem and leaves

My daughter and I made purple play dough. It’s her favorite color. Then, we cut it out with our flower shape. We rolled the stem. For the leaves, we flattened bits of play dough.

Simple household items you already have will come in handy, like:

  • egg cartons (make sure they are clean)
  • paper plates
  • scotch tape
  • a stapler
  • cereal boxes
  • yarn
  • a hole puncher
  • brown paper bags
  • raffia
  • manila folders
Hand prints in primary colors

Another simple project: kids love tracing their own hands. Then, have them paint them.

Here’s my suggestion: bite the bullet and invest in the ultimate Crayola Play Doh set. Then, the only thing you need to do is make your own play dough every six months. It’s certainly cheaper than buying it. Bonus: you appear even bigger and wiser to your children for producing play dough right in your kitchen. By the way, they will love to help you measure and knead.

Need a simple play dough recipe? Here it is:

1 cup flour

1/2 c salt

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon oil

food coloring

Cook in saucepan over medium heat until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and becomes like play dough in consistency. Knead until cool. It will stay soft in airtight container. No need to refrigerate.

For more essentials, check out these blogs from my friends at the TOS Review Crew below:

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Julie @ Nurturing Learning

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures

DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor

Lori @ At Home: where life happens

Nicole @ Journey to Excellence

Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool

Meg @ Adventures with Jude

Sarah @ Delivering Grace
5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

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Thanksgiving and Homeschooling

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This time of the year, I reminisce about how, just before Thanksgiving, when my son was one, my heart told me I would homeschool. I did not understand it right then. Hindsight is 20/20. But I should have seen it coming, this desire to homeschool. I should have known it was going to grow and take over my life like few things have conquered me.

You see, five years ago, I scoured the Internet for “Thanksgiving crafts.” I made a list of supplies and bought them dutifully. My son watched me as I printed, measured, cut and pasted construction paper. Of course he could not help. He was one. I made this:

Pilgrim Boy Thanksgiving Craft

Pilgrim boy Thanksgiving craft I made in 2008

A pilgrim boy. I also printed out two Indian children – a boy and a girl – for him to color. Hopefully, they are in the box of early craft projects I decided to keep. My son grabbed the crayon and scribbled all over the coloring page like only a one-year-old can. I felt so proud.

That should have been my first clue that I wanted to homeschool. No preacher or friend pressured me into it. Alas, I don’t read my own heart-directed actions well. At the time, staying home with my child for a few years seemed like the most I could do before running back into the work force. I grew up thinking that exchanging my skills for money was the only dignified way to live my life. Motherhood fulfilled me, but I was programmed to want a career, too.

I discovered that the more time I spent with my son, the less I wanted to leave him. Then, I felt the desire for a second child. We welcomed our daughter and, by then, the little bud, my desire to teach my own, had grown into a plant I could not ignore. And yet, I did. I pushed it to the side, sleep-deprived and up to my knees in diapers and bibs.

The pilgrim boy graced our Thanksgiving table every year. I protected it from chubby hands by placing it on top of a book shelf the rest of the time. It collected dust. I felt it held a secret message, a prediction for the future, but I was not ready for it.

Two years ago, the plant – my desire to homeschool – had become a small tree. God asked me to stop pretending like it did not exist. I researched homeschooling thoroughly. The pilgrim boy craft, with its enigmatic smile, revealed its secret.

I will always treasure this Thanksgiving craft because it was the first inkling my heart gave me that my children have turned a PDA-wielding professional into a craft-seeking, cut-and-paste project preschool teacher. At home. The other grades will come in due time. Wait. Kindergarten already has. We are still at home. I would not have it any other way. This post has been linked to Blog and Tell with @hsbapost Show us your Orange

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