Elizabeth des Roches is a Wild Waldorf Mama & a Vintage Crafts Explorer.
Just over 3 years ago – she & her husband decided to sell their house in Toronto after buying a beautiful old house in the French countryside. They packed up her books & materials, his tools & their 2 youngest kids decided to live on the wild-side! Elizabeth homeschools her 2 children (9 & 5) using a curriculum she writes by choosing from the many Waldorf theories & techniques that appeal to her, mixing them in with a bit of Reggio & add a dash of her own style. She calls it “worldschooling”. She blogs at Handwork Homeschool.
Children are learning all the time.
So much is new & exciting for them.
These days, much of their education, from a very early age is focused on teaching them to read, write, do math & figure out how to “be” in the modern world. But there's often a missing piece in their lives… true creativity.
How often is a child expected to finish something that someone else started for them? Filling in a colouring book page, completing a work-sheet, playing a video game, watching a TV show. Of course, academic subjects are necessary for a child's lifelong success but the art of making things should be what balances the learning scales.
Those who can think for themselves, easily solve problems & create beautiful things from the simplest of materials will be able to bravely shape their future.
Creators who will craft their lives to suit their true heart’s desire. They will be the independent ones who always seem to be a step ahead of crowd.
Vibrant colours, inviting textures & interesting materials should be a part of a child’s everyday life. By engaging their minds, enlivening their senses & filling them with lasting memories, they are building a foundation for becoming inquisitive learners.
How can you do this?
By gently guiding them into the amazing world of handwork. Working with fibre is one of the oldest human activities & handwork of some form has been practiced by every known civilization. Its history reaches back into the mists of time & its story will stretch on for generations to come.
What is Handwork?
Handwork is a gateway into the world of creating- a place where your head, heart & hands can work in unison to coax materials into something that didn’t exist before. Simply put -it is making something out of fibre with your hands.
Why does Handwork matter?
There are 3 intertwined ways in which engaging in handwork affects us all – via our
• head (neurologically)
• heart (emotionally)
• hands (physically)
Some proven academic benefits of handwork include:
• strengthening math & reading skills
• increased memory function and retention
• improved hand, eye and brain coordination
But that’s not all!
Handwork adds so much to a child’s life:
• a sense of self-worth because sometimes handwork is incredibly challenging !
• a playground of an endless array of beautiful colours, textures & patterns.
• a feeling of joy while making gifts for loved ones.
• an easy route to physical relaxation & a sense of peace.
• excitement & anticipation while they imagine future projects !
Handwork has been my passion since I can remember. When I make things, I believe that part of me, my energy & dreams, is worked into them. While transforming basic materials into beautiful & useful items – I change too. I feel more relaxed & centered. Over the years, I started to wonder why I felt this way. I always knew that I would teach my children how to work with fibre. I had been making things since I was a child so it would be easy… or so I thought.
Teaching a child to do something you love (as you know) can be extremely rewarding but it’s not as simple as sharing your skills with an adult. Children absorb information differently than we do, new ideas affect them more deeply & they certainly can’t sit still as long as a grown-up can!
As a professional designer, maker & teacher for over 30 years, I’ve taught hundreds of people of all ages many kinds of handwork & how to get their creativity flowing. It’s taken me years of reading, teaching & experimenting to find ways to get beyond the initial learning stages of a craft so that my kids can quickly get to the good part – the making ! Now, I am finally sharing my own approach to bringing handwork to children in The Making Lessons.
What are The Making Lessons ?
A Live, Easy & Inspiring Course
This unique course is designed to lead you through clearly outlined steps which will help you feel more creative & confident when teaching children to “think with their hands”. Delivered over 4-weeks, this self-paced course is taught via easy-to-follow lessons; each brimming with inspiring ideas to get you started on your own projects & supported by up-to-date research about the fabulous effects handwork has on our children’s brains & bodies. During the course, join homeschooling mothers & professional teachers from around the world as we explore the many benefits of bringing handwork to children. See how children of every age (even very little ones) can enjoy wonderful projects, even before they are able to master many of the traditional fibre arts skills.
We'll delve into these questions & so much more…
• Why is handwork absolutely NECESSARY for boys?
• What key roles does handwork play in our children’s growing brains?
• When should different handwork skills be introduced to children?
• Where are the best places to look for inspiration & great materials?
• How does handwork calm & centre children with sensory issues ?
• Who benefits more from handwork – the children or us?
you’ll learn the key benefits of doing handwork & WHEN to bring various skills to your children.
you’ll learn HOW to create & teach inspiring lessons!
Want to know more?
Hillary Jesse, who teaches her 3 young children in the US, was a very engaged student in the Summer 2013 session. She enjoyed many aspects of The Making Lessons – her favourite was the Handwork Skills & Benefits Lesson –
” because it broke down this amorphous concept of ‘ … HANDwork…' (cue mysterious/ominous music)into doable, realistic bits. I could see clearly HOW children progress from banging pots to knitting scarves, and so it wasn't as overwhelming”
“At first, I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to use the lessons, as I am not a Waldorf Mama. Once we got to the Planning Lesson, I learned how to easily plan projects for my sons that will teach age-appropriate handwork skills & match MY curriculum . I really appreciated the step-by-step “how-to-do-it” methods & [Elizabeth's] teaching experience… I feel much more confident about teaching handwork & melding it with our daily lessons.”
Mix + Match + Create = Enjoy
I hope to meet you soon !
P.S. Go ahead & EMAIL me if you have any questions !
P. P.S. I’d like to send out my heartfelt thanks to Sally for sharing her beautiful spot in “blogland” with me. She is such an inspiration to me & many, many others!!