Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quilting as Homeschooling

I will start a series of "quilting 101" posts very soon that follow along as Sierra and I work on our quilts, but today I wanted to take a moment to point out all the things you can teach a child with an activity that might seem little more than hobby:
  • Obviously, there's the practical skill of learning how to sew. Everything from learning what a selvage is to how to use and maintain a sewing machine.
  • Planning and organization. It is very helpful to gather all your fabrics and cut them all out at the same time, before you start sewing and it can be good for a kid to get started with the habit of organizing their project and workspace.
  • Colors: a younger toddler might be able to sit next to you and practice their colors ("hand me the red square") or help find the color of thread that matches a fabric, while an older child can begin to learn about a color wheel and creating color harmonies with their fabric choices (fair warning, we are NOT doing this with our scrap quilt!)
  • Shapes: With all these pieces of fabric around, it's a perfect opportunity to learn the differences between a rectangle, square, triangle or circle
  • Measurement: in the process of cutting fabric, you can teach how to read and use a ruler.
  • Math: a younger child might stand close by and count squares on a ruler or cutting mat or count fabric pieces and sort them into stacks of 10 to help you keep a total count. An older child can begin to learn what fractions are and start adding and multiplying them to make cutting go faster. They may learn to figure area and how much fabric they need to get a certain number of squares. They can learn how many inches are in a yard, multiply the price per yard by the number of yards being purchased and count out money to pay for the fabric.
  • "Real World" practice: they may ask a question of the sales clerk at the fabric shop, ask for the amount of fabric they need to be cut, handle the check out process on their own
  • And every question in between: plugging in the sewing machine might lead to discussion about how electricity works, ironing might lead to a history lesson of what the original irons were and how they were used or a lesson about how an electric iron gets hot or how it removes wrinkles from fabric, looking at fabrics can spur a discussion about cotton vs. polyester and then how cotton is grown and turned into fabric. Kids will come up with an amazing assortment of questions from one seemingly simple task. Don't worry if you don't know the answers, those are good opportunities to teach them how to find information on their own and you can both learn together.

Happy learning!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...