Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SFC #6 Hand Knitting

 When I attended the VA Homeschoolers Convention in March, it was my first face-to-face introduction to the varied world of homeschooling.  I attended as many sessions as I could that told about different methods and styles, to get a feel for what's out there.  One of my favorite sessions was an introduction to the Waldorf method.  I walked away wishing I was sending my kids to a Waldorf school instead of homeschooling.  One of the things that especially caught my interest is the emphasis on art - drawing, painting, metal works, sculpture, pottery, and handwork, or fiber arts.  As part of the curriculum, all first graders learn to knit.

I just about died from swooning.  I learned to knit when I was about 10; I never got very good but I can follow a basic pattern, and I loved it (when I had time.)  The thought of teaching children very young how to do this sounded so right to me, I didn't need the justifications that often must accompany alternative education choices.  Here is a nice article about handwork in the Waldorf curriculum.

So I came home knowing I don't know enough about any homeschool approach to do it properly, but I know a little about a lot of things, so that's how we'll roll.  I definitely put knitting on my list of things to include. 

Then I remembered I'm an awkward knitter.  Somewhere along the way I adapted what I'd learned into a strange and inefficient style, and never knew it until my speed-Euro-knitter friend Kat pointed it out about 12 years ago.  I don't want to teach my kids a stupid way to knit!

So I did a quickie internet search on teaching knitting, and what I came across was even better - knitting progressionMaggie's Rags suggested, first teach hand knitting, then loom/toddy knitting, then needles.  (Waldorf even has kids make their own needles!  Love that.)  Never heard of hand knitting, but nothing a quick YouTube search can't fix.  I made this green sample in a few minutes on Sunday:

Then Monday, for Summer Fun Club, we were off to the races.  A few minutes of instruction, a few more minutes of getting the hang, and voila, independent hand knitters.  

They each made a short scarf length, then we tied them off, and they played with them the rest of the afternoon.  Then today we went to Michael's and picked out a few more skeins of thick yarn so they can hand knit their hearts out on our drive to Massachusetts Friday (visiting my sister's family.)  Talk about a handy little skill, and they love it!


auntie tona said...

Yay, mini knitters! Great yarn shops up here, ladies!!

Shells said...

H used to hand knit all the time, very fun.

You had me at ROAR said...


here is another i dea of something you could make with your finger knitting.

Megan Smith

Rachel said...

Oh I love Waldorf too! Man I wish we could network. I want to homeschool TOGETHER! And also, one thing I love about Waldorf is the emphasis on oral storytelling instead of early reading. Have you heard of Sparkle stories? It is the best $15 I spend a month. Sophia ADORES it and I just am not much of a storyteller myself... They have sample stories you can listen to here. http://www.sparklestories.com/brand/ Sophia's favorites are all the Martina and Sylvia's, Willowbee Trees, and Junkyard Tales. I have other favorites too :)

Please blog your homeschool, I would so love that.

Rachel said...

check this out! http://www.sparklestories.com/blog/2013/09/05/a-free-martin-sylvia-story-about-knitting/

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