I was completely nervous about this past week. Either this experiment was going to be incredibly awesome or one horrendous flop. We dropped all academics this week and dedicated ourselves to personal projects. Everyone chose something they wanted to work on and spent their time creating. Overall the week was a smashing success and terribly hard at times. I’ve scheduled several “project weeks” throughout the academic year and the kids are already looking forward to the next one.
I dreamt this idea up about a year ago. I wanted the kids to experiment with their own creativity in a safe space but also gain experience in problem solving. I told them they could do anything they wanted (within financial reason) but I wasn’t going to help…very much. I would assist as needed but they had to put most of the work and time into their projects.
I did help Littlest with his projects the most. He made a little monster stuffie that he is calling a Pikachu. I’m not entirely sure what that is but he helped with all of the sewing. He spent time building and drawing mazes and learning Sudoku. He also created several Minecraft perler bead pieces. Some of these he plays with and a couple of them were given as a gift to a neighborhood friend. Littlest enjoyed project week and wants to be more involved next time. I didn’t plan much for him since I wasn’t sure if he would be willing to participate. He obviously was very excited about it and we’ll have to put our heads together to come up with some more things for him to create next time.
Middle Boy had an absolute blast this week. He spent an entire school day gridding a box and then gridding scrapbook paper to create a Minecraft Halloween costume. He complained about
all the work and how long it took him to do all the gridding and cutting. In the end he valued the work and time he put into his project. All of his projects came out of a Minecraft crafting book. He made several perler bead creations as well. The book had a few all graphed out for him but then he branched out on his own and figured out how to make several other figures from the game as well. He had a very successful week and I think came away with a greater appreciation of the work and time that goes into the creative process.
Sparkles had the hardest week. Her week was productive but we did spend a very frustrating day with the sewing machines. I do not sew and she really wants too. She did several projects from a beginner’s sewing book and was very successful. She wanted to make a skirt for herself this week but it is not finished. She chose a three tiered ruffled monstrosity. She had no trouble with the sewing
or the gathering techniques. Her greatest trouble was getting the machines to behave. We started with a child’s sewing machine but the thread kept breaking and then the bobbin needed re-threaded. We figured out how to rethread the bobbin but could never figure out how to keep the thread from tangling and breaking. We got out the adult machine and after getting one of the tiers ruffled she was done. She was so frustrated and I was pretty much useless when it came to troubleshooting sewing machines. We messed with all the knobs and tensions but she decided to bag up the project and finish it during the next project week. I hated the sewing machine in high school when I had to make an outfit in my home ec class. Those machines are so finicky and I may have daydreamed a bit about taking a baseball bat and smashing them to bits. Sparkles likely did too. She loved the hand sewing projects and made a pillow, two toys for her cat, a skirt for her doll, perler bead pieces and a needle case for my tapestry/yarn needles that I keep losing. Now that I have a nice little case for them I shouldn’t lose them anymore.
Oldest worked on a stop motion Batman movie. I think he learned mostly how not to do things. By the end of the week he did have a little movie to show us. He still needs to add sound and do tons more editing work. He loved the experience and was a little surprised that he spent more time trying to solve problems than creating. He plans to continue working on his movie during the next project week but I would not be surprised to find him working on it during his free time.
I worked on a few projects of my own. I needle-felted a bag for all on my knitting tools, knitted two hats and a scarf. One of the hats is for a friend that I need to get in the mail. The other hat is for me and it is the warmest, thickest hat ever. The cat kept trying to play with my favorite (and expensive) ball of slub yarn so I had to make my hat quickly. I will have a very
warm head this winter!!! I’m really rather proud of my hats. I made hats! With my hands!! I want to make more hats…knitting is addictive.
The kids also did some knitting this week. Sparkles and Middle Boy are still working on their hats. My crew took an hour to learn the slip knot. Sparkles and Middle Boy did learn how to cast on but the knit stitch totally slayed them. Oldest had issues. He understood rather quickly how to knit but couldn’t stand the feel of the yarn. His sensory integration disorder totally overwhelmed him. I asked him what the yarn felt like to him. He said it was like spiders were crawling on his hands. That visual did me in. Spiders…yek! I got the knitting looms out and Oldest found these much easier to handle. Everyone is working on hats and scarves and hopefully they will finish these up in the next couple of weeks. Their hands have something to do during read aloud time now!!!
We ended our school day with a documentary. We finished the Human Planet series from BBC. I highly recommend this series narrated by John Hurt..aka the War Doctor. People are amazing and we were just enthralled. Our favorite bits were the shorts about the camera crew trying to adapt to the environment and capture the amazing stories.
Tomorrow we are back to our regular routine. I am looking forward to diving back into our normal academic subjects and books…read alouds and copywork, a bit of math. We finished Pilgrim’s Progress but do not have anything to replace our religious studies for this term. I just could not find anything that I could…I don’t know…endure. My husband told me today that we are going to church next Sunday. I know that will be good for the kids and I will do my best to keep an open mind. I love the words of Jesus but find myself heartbroken when Christians use his words to tear others down and breathe hatred.
linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers