25 Jan

Homeschool Crafting: Rhythm Rainbow

Glossing over an awkward introduction, my name is Sara Evans and I will be bringing you a semi-weekly article about Crafting in the Homeschool.  This is a new addition to Homeschooling inDetroitand I am thrilled to be here!  It’s my hope that I can offer crafting ideas specifically tailored to homeschoolers, and ones that are fresh and new.  As a self-proclaimed professional crafter, I believe that homeschooled children have the opportunity to break out of the traditional crafting molds typically used by public education and curriculum.  To that end, you’ll find no cookie-cutter-cotton-ball-snowmen in my articles.  It’s not that we don’t do those things now and again.  It’s more that; on principle, we tend to stretch all types of projects into more meaningful and functional crafts.  Being at home affords us (and you!) the ability to pass over the mundane and do only those crafts that bring enjoyment and personal satisfaction, rather than a tick off of a skill on a checklist.

Think of the crafts you may have done in public school.  How many of those did your parents keep?  What percentage of your crafting ended in a trash pile somewhere?  This is a harsh but honest question.  There is real merit in crafting for crafting’s sake, but in our home the majority of crafts done here are keepsake-worthy.  Not because we are just that darn good, no!   You may also think this means we are teeming with projects here, or that we could stand to do more random haphazard crafting, even.  You may be right on either account – after all, everyone holds different standards on that sort of thing.  For instance, all children arguably produce immense quantities of drawings on loose 8×10 paper.  Practice makes exceptional, after all, and the more you sketch the better you get (if that’s your thing).  Here if a drawing done on a loose sheet of paper is keepsake-worthy, it may go through several generations of existence:  It may first be hung from a clothespin line or framed.  From there perhaps it goes into a box to later be placed in a scrapbook, but more likely its picture is taken and it is given a somber goodbye.  The children get to decide which of these stay or go.  If something is scrapbook-worthy that’s cool but what’s even more fun is scanning it and printing it onto a Tshirt iron-on.  Sometimes the scanned drawings are secretly collaged to create a timeline of progression for the artist to look back on.  {To any parent who has had a child frustrated with a lack of drawing capability, this can be a super effective tool – talk about an ego-boost!}  In my opinion, no project should ever only live once.  I’m a die-hard recycling fool like that.

All that said, you may wonder then – “What makes a good craft?”  Again, totally up to the individual.  For me, it’s all in the stretchability.

Before I delve into our first craft projects of the year, I’d like to touch on one of the family art projects we’ve just done.  I want to share it because:

  1. Things like this mean so much to us in our home,
  2. It’s the New Year so perfect time for a project like this and
  3. I hope that someone else out there is able to benefit from it.

More important than any individual’s work is the ability to work as a team together.  In our home this is best accomplished by flowing with a rhythm that we all bob along throughout the day.  The idea to illustrate the rhythm sprouted from something that a friend and fellow homeschooler shared with me recently.  She created a rainbow chart to aid in anticipating what kind of rhythm her week generally has (revolving mainly around chores).  I’ve seen similar concepts across the web, and perhaps you have too.  Our version is a unique to our family, and yours would be too.

First, I drew a simple rainbow on our chalkboard. I then asked the girls helped me brainstorm the different activities we generally do at different times of the day.  What kinds of things do we do when we wake?  What comes first, dressing ourselves or playing outside?  Grocery shopping or cooking dinner?  Simple questions and yet I could see that it gave them such confidence to actually spend thought on their daily activities and interactions.  Here is our completed Rhythm Rainbow, which I colored in with the awesome Bistro Markers
(a set of which every crafty homeschool mom should have – more on that in a minute)

We made our own magnet which hops from DOT to DOT if we feel like tracking our activities:

The rainbow is not a set of structured agendas though!  It is a set of principles and offers ideas on how to make our time flow more smoothly.  For instance, if the girls seem rowdy I ask them “Where are we in our Rhythm right now?  Where would you like to be?”  As we tend to stay awake later than daddy, it’s nice to be able to kindly remind them that we are “in the blue”.  This rhythm lends to cooperation, happiness and a feeling of self-regulation for everyone.

As for the Bistro Markers – they are those neat markers you see cafes and stores use to make elaborate chalkboard signs, and Yes they are liquid chalk!  They look amazing, and the best part is that they wash off with water; so you can use and erase regular chalk around a more permanent installment such as this without messing up your awesome artwork.  Which is nice since the point is that they are long-lasting while still being interactive.  But alas, eventually the fancy will strike to create something new on your board and pictures of the art will be all you have left.  Here are some of our previous chalkboard installments:

And of course, every good crafter ought to have a travel board, for yard sales and craft shows, as well!

So, what would your Rhythm Rainbow look like?

 

Join me next time for a post about an upcoming homeschooling conference we are attending, and the crafts we plan to bring there!