We have a fairly similar schedule each day up until about lunch time. Afternoons are fairly busy these days starting with a cello lesson on Monday and ballet in the evening; swimming three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday afternoons & Saturday morning) & orchestra rehearsal on a Wednesday. Last Thursday I decided I needed to carve out some time to get Moozle started on a project. I’ve been encouraging her to do some patchwork & although she has done some in the past it’s been English Paper Piecing, which I enjoy, but it’s too slow for her. I think when you want children to develop a love for something you need to provide a bit of incentive and when it comes to instilling some enthusiasm in attempting a patchwork project, a hexie quilt that takes you a decade to complete just doesn’t do it.
So this is how the modified day went…a bit like a production line:
•Devotional reading – Bible & A.W. Tozer
•Moozle selected her scraps for a quilt the day before & now we cut the pieces to size. I mostly did this because she hasn’t used the rotary cutter much. We tried different arrangements – I left the choice of fabric up to her & just shut my mouth because our tastes are very different.
•Break from quilt to do Maths
•Ironed fabric & set up sewing machine. It’s been a while since she’s used it so I gave a quick overview & she had a practice sewing 1/4 “ seams.
•Break to do a poetry lesson on ‘anapest’
•Back to the sewing machine to start sewing strips of fabric together for her quilt. I ironed the seams after she’d joined the strips while she continued sewing.
•Lunch – folk song, hymn, & composer
•Back to the stitching
•Short break to get changed & gather swimming gear
•Sewing until the last minute before she has to leave for the pool. This was how much she got done up till then:
I realised later that she hadn’t done her cello practice, which she generally does every day, plus we didn’t get anything else done besides the list above, but she obviously enjoyed her disrupted day of sewing and when we got home after over two hours of swimming, she continued sewing her pieces together.
I’ve been wanting to do this with her for awhile but kept putting it off because I knew other work wouldn’t get done. It’s always slow work when you first start teaching a skill but it’s great to see a child become confident in an area & feel like they’ve put an effort in & have tangible results.
The next day we took some time in the afternoon to sew the rows together & cut out a border and sew it to each side of the quilt. Here is the completed quilt top ready to be sandwiched together with batting and backing & then I’ll be showing her how to quilt:
She’s been thrilled to have got this far. I think all the years of seeing me working on hand sewn projects and taking forever to get them finished had put her off attempting a quilt but now that she sees how quickly you can make something if you use a machine, she is very enthusiastic. In fact she’s already talking about making a quilt for one of her brothers who requested she sew one for him.
In The Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer defines ‘Hidden Art’ as the art found in the ‘minor’ areas of life, that of the everyday, as opposed to that found in a career or a profession. She makes the point that all art requires constant discipline, time and energy. The use of our time in developing ‘Hidden Art’ requires balance, and we are always having to neglect one thing in order to give preference to something else.
These fine arts are often the first things to be neglected or omitted in the homeschooling life when the schedule gets busy, but carving out some time every now & again to concentrate on teaching a skill is important. It’s also less frustrating in the long run because you can concentrate on teaching something well.