Many of my friends know that I intend to write and develop my own curricula as we go along, though we do have to use some purchased materials according to our state laws. For the academics, we’ll use the purchased materials. For the extras, I will completely write my own. As I learn new things on my own, I make mental notes of what I want my kids to learn and what materials should be used for teaching them. For instance, I’m in the process of learning to deep-cleaning my house, and truly learning to clean it properly. I have learned a lot from my mil, as well as various neat-freak friends. Before dh and I married, I purchased a wonderful book (at the time, I had no idea how wonderful it was, as it is a pretty dry read but was well-recommended by a friend) that I have begun to refer to when I need to know how a particular task is done. Don’t get me wrong; I do know how to straighten things up, tidy, vacuum, clean the bathrooms and kitchen, etc., but there are many other things I really don’t know about that can save us money, time, and our health. Please read on. “Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House” by Cheryl Mendelson is a great book that I plan to use as a text/reference book for when we get deeper into Life Skills.
Another thing I hope to do when the kids become old enough is to teach them the practical arts, meaning handwork. This encompasses sewing, knitting, needlework (including embroidery), crochet, etc. Once they reach the age of 12, a few long-term tasks will be required of them. They will each be expected to begin hand-copying the Bible from Genesis through Revelation (perhaps a chapter per day, excepting the really long chapters such as Psalm 119, which, of course, shall be broken down into smaller portions). They will also begin writing to their future spouses letters about their lives. A friend once told me that an old friend of hers had her daughter do this from the age of 12, and on the day she was married she was able to present to her new husband a box full of the letters she had written as part of her wedding gift At 16 they will build their own cedar hope chests (even the boys, as cedar chests really are practical pieces of furniture). They will also begin compiling items to put in it, from home items which they have personally made to dishes, glassware, bakeware, cookware, utensils, etc. As the children become proficient with various handwork skills, they will all (including the boys) save some of their better pieces to put in their boxes, and until those boxes are built I’ll hold onto them. Obviously, the boys won’t have to use all the frills that the girls will, but they’ll still know how to make a tablecloth and napkins (and how to use them!), knit socks/sweaters, crochet hats, and other useful and practical things. Knitting an i-cord can come in handy when one needs a rope, no?
I’ve started compiling a list of things for them to work on to put in their boxes, but I left my list upstairs and will add it later on another post. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to add them. 🙂