When thinking of kids education models that I have seen, I never enjoyed craft supplies, craft ideas, the thought of nasty messes and cheesy projects.
Since Naomi has become of learning age a few years ago, I have found some things I love about teaching little kids, working with them and most recently, naturally crafting!
A big part of my belief system is that all things should be done as local and as natural as possible. Cutting corners and going the 'easy' route does not appeal to me and even demotivates my creative spirit.
Two years ago, we began playing school with Naomi. Mostly we read books and made drawings, sang songs, played music, ran around, etc. Last year we began to study Waldorf schooling methods and I fell in love with the book Seven Times the Sun (Book Information Can Be Found HERE). We fell in love with finger-plays and also began to study Montessori methods of teaching as well as reading A Child in the Family by Maria Montessori (An essential read for any parent).
In our schooling last year we collected natural plants and flowers and pressed them, making Thanksgiving cards for our friends and family (I still have a few to send out...woops!). We worked with 100% wool yarn and knitted with huge antique knitting needles while singing. etc.... We played piano and sang as loud as we possibly could, improvising songs and learning Elizabeth Mitchell songs and folk songs from around the world, in more languages than one....Naomi often played her pink ukulele and the violin.
This year I am thankful to be inspired to delve deeper into a natural way of crafting and education. Over the summer, while being involved in a kids program, I got so tired of seeing throw-away and junk materials being used. People do these things because it's 'easy' to order and kids know what to do with them. I am SO guilty of doing this myself in many kids programs I've been in charge of over the years. I left that event determined that there is not only a cheaper way, but a more beautiful, more natural, exciting way to get the kids involved in a closed-system of crafting. Crafts you'll want in your home. Ones you won't want to throw away. Beautiful crafts with meaning.
They create the craft supplies, then they create WITH the craft supplies. We use inexpensive sustainable materials. We re-use, recycle, up-cycle and honor a very real system of creativity within us. This is a nourishing and deeply gratifying approach to crafting, and for once, I am excited about arts and crafts!
Here are some great links I've found recently:
www.weefolkart.com - Lots of great craft projects, mostly natural materials, wholesome season-based homeschool curriculums, etc...
www.icanteachmychild.com - Many homeschooling resources, beautiful website, printables, crafts, natural minded...
http://artfulparent.com/2012/06/35-homemade-art-materials-kids-can-make.html - Great website! EVEN YOUR GLUE CAN BE MADE AT HOME!
You bet I will be spreading these resources as much as I can to people who I know who help to plan children's activities. Please do this as well. Don't let your kids hate art like I always did because of the cheap, nasty art supplies that are normally used. My deeper senses have always told me to stay away from them. Now I can't stop thinking of crafting! Give me some wool, beeswax, hemp, wood, even natural watercolors!