By Guest Blogger Loryn Faile, and Redeemer School students
As a child, some of my most distinct memories are those that involved my hands. I remember learning how to sew clothes for dolls with my mother, wrap presents for my loved ones, and plant a garden with my father. I thought it was amazing that my hands were able to create something that someone else could use.
At Redeemer School, we believe that handicrafts — handmade, useful decorative crafts — provide opportunity to glorify God and build important life skills as we bless and serve others. As 19th century British educational philosopher Charlotte Mason put it, handicrafts “employ the creative instinct to good purpose.” Handicrafts are different from everyday crafts meant to keep hands busy. Handicrafts should be useful, created with care, and challenge the artist to greater skill.
There is much to be learned in working with one’s hands to create something of use and beauty:
- Develop the habit of observation and the benefit of neatness. Handicrafts require children to carefully observe, coordinating the movements of their eyes and hands. Charlotte Mason said, “We set them to fold paper, while their fingers are still tiny, and they will soon find how much better one clean fold is than a crumple (and simplicity than duplicity).” This allows our children to experience the pleasure of exact movements and the triumph of success.
- Appreciate and recognize beauty. Carefully chosen handicrafts help cultivate the child’s sense of and appreciation for beauty.
- Encourage the concept of power over material. Children make sandcastles and mud pies naturally, and they can go on to create out of clay, wood, leather, and other materials. Taking delight in creating something new from raw materials builds confidence.
- Create “relatable” learning opportunities. We believe that education is a science of relations. When children experience the messiness of clay, the delicacy of a thread, the precision of a paper fold, we provide natural opportunities that touch imagination and emotions for forming personal relations with people and things.
- Ignite creativity. Handicrafts employ the creative instinct that God has given each of us as we, as Charlotte Mason says, “crave to be given a means of expression.”
- Benefit our neighbors. Practicing handicrafts empowers children by giving them opportunities to create lovely, useful objects.
This twig star is a simple holiday handicraft, reminding us of the glorious light that has come into the world at Christmas and providing opportunity to master a new skill to delight others.
Rustic Star Tutorial
By Redeemer School journalism students Charlotte Duncan, Greta Friesen, Emma Harrison, Sydney Lambeth, Lucy Portman, and Elizabeth Sanders
- 5 sticks of the same length & width
- adhesive dots or glue
- Cross two sticks at about a 30 degree angle and place a glue dot right where the two sticks meet. Wrap twine around the place where the sticks meet and tie the twine.
- Continue to cross sticks to make a star, placing glue dots where the sticks meet and then wrapping the points with twine. Repeat until you have 5 points.
- Trim the twine.
- Tie a piece of ribbon to whatever point you like best and use it to hang the star.
- Use your twig star to decorate your Christmas tree as an ornament or tree topper.
- Make a star with larger sticks to hang as a wreath.
- Make a bunch of stars and string them on a twine for a rustic garland.
- Put a star at each place setting on your Christmas table.
Learn more about Redeemer School and the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason, discover what it means to be part of a covenant school, and tour our campus at one of our Open House events. Join us Saturday, January 22, 2022 or Thursday, February 17, 2022 from 9:30-11:00 am. Please RSVP online at redeemerschool.org/admissions or by phone at 336-724-9460.
Applications are now being accepted for TK-8th grade for the 2022-2023 school year. Apply online: redeemerschool.org/admissions. Priority consideration is given to applications received by January 31, 2022.
*Sponsored by Redeemer School