I’m readying activities that the kids can do while I read aloud this year.  I haven’t set up something like this since Tias was small, but they have often found things to busy their hands and free their ears – knitting, colouring, drawing, etc.  This year, as we try Sonlight for the first time, our reading time will increase rather a lot and it seems prudent to give them something to choose from.  It’s the ‘spoonful of sugar’ approach.

We’ll be doing Intro to American History (Core 3), to which I am adding at least 4 units on Canadian history.  I’ll use Ivyjoy’s colouring page search engine to have a few colouring pages on hand that match our topics.  And playdough will be made this weekend for the first time in several years.  Tias is discovering  a real pleasure in tactile expressions of that nature.  He seems to set his own timelines for all these things that books set out with prim and steady Ages and Stages.

Sandra will have access to those, of course, but we’ve also talked about embroidering a sampler.  It’s such a Sandra project, and it ties into the historical period so well I could squeee. (Alright, maybe I have already squeeed.)  Samplers are flexible things, but we want to have a hint of authenticity in terms of history.

Some of the resources we’re looking at:

Two books we have that we’ll consult often:

As I flip through the books and think about how much embroidery is like knitting in its quiet satisfaction, I wish more and more for a mama to read aloud to me! I’m particularly drawn to the blackwork I see.  The designs that employ bold borders outlining flowers or animals and then fill in the spaces with geometric patterning are so striking.

Matthias also likes embroidering and may pick up a project of embroidered sushi he has on the go, or perhaps he’ll be inspired by another of the Sublime Stitching patterns we have.  Handmade gifts, after all, do need to be thought of even though snow isn’t fluttering in the air.


16 thoughts on “Samplers

  1. coffeemamma says:

    We are lining up similar projects for our family-time afternoons. My 11yos loves playing with modelling beeswax while I read. He has sensory issues, and he finds the combination of the smell and texture of the beeswax very relaxing.

  2. Kika says:

    Sounds like great fun – especially the “pulling together” of great ideas and resources! My daughter decided last night to sew (another) barbie sleeping bag for her little sis. She worked on it again this morning as I read Heidi (which I meant to have finished over the summer). This time she is using a zipper in her project. Do you ever feel like your kids have projects on the go EVERYWHERE?! My middle child is like this – so idea oriented and creative but needs help finishing her projects.

  3. Lisa says:

    A Sampler is the perfect thing to make while reading, say, “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” or “Johnny Tremaine” or other colonial/precolonial era story. [I’ve looked at Sonlight, but don’t remember the titles.] In my Mom’s laundry room hangs the one she made in school in 1948–both girls and boys had to make one. Tell Tias both King Edward VIII and King George VI did needlepoint and Edward VIII also liked to crochet in the car!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Oh geesh. You had to go and introduce me to blackwork, didn’t you? I did needlepoint as a kid but as an adult have found that I really like cross-stitch best…blackwork looks like an interesting cross…

    Now I have a new interest to pursue! I assume there are blogs for this? LOL!

  5. inneedofchocolate says:

    I’ve always thought it would be fun to make a sampler but I’ve never done it. My 5yo has been listening to the colonial era American Girl, Felicity, books on CD so we’ve been talking about samplers. Thanks for inspiring me to check out the resources you’ve listed 🙂

    And speaking of books on CD I bet you could find a good audio version of one of the Sonlight Read Alouds to listen to while you all sew or create with clay.

    I’ve also been gathering things for my girls to do with their hands while I read. My 5yo loves to be read to. She’d be happy to listen for hours every day but she needs to move. Sometimes she bounces around on her hop ball while I read to her. I’ll be interested to hear how you like Sonlight. Please keep us posted!

  6. AC in SC says:

    Oh how I love Doodle Stitching – I just don’t have the time to work on any of the projects in it. (I have been working on a pillow from there ever since my 18 month old was a newborn.) I wonder if it’s possible to ride an exercise bike and craft at the same time……

  7. Chrissy says:

    My kids love to color mandalas while I read. I have one that is kids mandalas (they are easier) and one is a Dover kaleidoscope book. They children love it. I just copy them on my printer so we always have the originals.

  8. Candace Shaw says:

    Hey, thanks for linking to my sampler!
    I used to work at a living history museum, and had a lot of young volunteers to occupy, so I designed a little bookmark-sized sampler for them to work on. I wish I had learned how to do textile work as a kid – my mom was always into craft projects, and she knitted, but was never much of an embroiderer.

  9. Sarah@HomeschoolinRealLife says:

    I am quite curious about giving kids handwork while listening to stories or lessons. Given the way both my husband and I are, and the way our children appear to be, it seems the attention would be absorbed entirely by the handwork. I know that I always have to pay careful attention, echoing what ever is said silently to myself in order to catch almost anything.
    How has this worked out for y’all?

    • Sarah says:

      That’s interesting – I’m the opposite: without activity to anchor my monkey brain I’m lost in thought in seconds. I can only listen to something if I’m either active with my body (housework or walking) or busy with my fingers.

      It’s probably a learning style thing.

  10. Kika says:

    Sarah@HomeshoolinRealLife: in our earlier years of homeschool I had a hard time believing my kids could absorb what was being read while they drew, built lego, etc. So I’d simply stop every so often and ask them a few questions. Amazingly, they really had heard everything. In fact, my middle daughter would become distracted (and I think start daydreaming) if just sitting and listening, but letting her hands stay busy works like a charm. She’s a visual learner and in the early grades had a hard time remembering names/details from what we were reading so I’d get her to draw what we were reading about, sometimes adding the main characters’ names, and this too made a huge difference. The only downside with handwork could be if the kids are in a huge learning curve and want to keep asking how to do things (therby interupting the flow of the reading).

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