One of the things that I love most about homeschooling is how you can use things that most people would call “extra-curricular” and integrate them into learning!
Really, it all fits nicely into our educational philosophy of having a lifestyle of learning. 😉
I’ve always been the craftsy type. Back in my “BC” (before children) life, my hubby used to call me “the Craft Queen”. Later on, my eldest daughter adopted the “Craft Princess” title, and she has, as I had always hoped, surpassed my efforts…
Which leads me to the message of today’s post: arts and crafts
don’t have to be shouldn’t be relegated to the “hobby” classification! We have used classes like cooking and baking and paper crafts and sewing and scrapbooking…and heightened their educational value to “Home Ec” and “Life Skills” and “Career Exploration” class status. Tons of fun…tons of learning…
Plus, tons of inspiration! For example, our reigning “Craft
Princess Queen” decided to combine her love of paper crafts (specifically, quilling) and travel into creating ALL the bouquets and boutonnieres she needed at her recent wedding. She cut strips out of old maps (and this would be a super-creative use of Bright Ideas’ Wondermaps) and followed a pattern she found online to make these beauties. Take a look: don’tcha think they were quite spectacular? (And yes, I understand I may have just a touch of bias ;-)! )
Doing craft projects with maps is really a wonderful way to bring symbolism and a personal touch to a project. They can incorporate a special place (such as one’s birth city or location of college), bring to mind a memory (the city where you met your spouse or grew up with your best friend), symbolize a dream or plan for someone’s future), or simply emphasize an interest (like one’s love of travel or a particular culture).
(And, since we’re talking homeschooling here, using them in any fun project is a great way to reinforce geography skills 😉 )
If weddings aren’t in your future, or you don’t have quite the motivation to accomplish the afore-mentioned floral feat…here’s another great Christmas/birthday/special occasion gift you can do with maps. Our friend and past contributor Kelly D’Ambrosio made these cute-as-a-button necklaces, using locations cut out from old maps. They were cities where she met her friend, or where she and her roomie went to school, or her hometown. Isn’t that sweet?
And “this just in”… My sweet sister sent me this photo of a map craft I did with my eldest daughter years (and I’m talking 10-ish!) ago! We took maps of the cities where our female relatives lived and made little pins for them as Christmas presents. Boy did this bring back memories!!
This next idea isn’t really a craft, per se, it might be considered more decor (at least for homeschoolers like us 😉 ). I put a world map up in our spare bedroom, which we use as a quiet study room, and added pins to locate the countries where we know/support some of our missionary friends. All strings, of course, start from our home…where our love and finances emanate from…
Guess I must have caught the travel-bug from my daughter, ’cause I’m just obsessed with map crafts these days… While cleaning out my hubby’s office, I found a bunch of old road atlases and did some looking around for some project ideas. So far on my “to-do list” are these:
We’ll see what happens, tho ;-)…
Don’t have maps lying around at your disposal? Ask around if friends or family members have any they’d be willing to part with. These days almost everyone can access a GPS from their phone, or even car dashboard, and may have an atlas or two in the trunk. If you’re really stuck, tho, you can find some beautiful world maps or road atlases on Amazon.
Sometimes I have to watch someone a bit, or at least have them walk me through it once, before I get the hang of a new craft. If you’re like that, take a look at your local Michael’s or Jo-Anne’s or Hobby-Lobby and see what classes they’re offering. Our local Lowe’s and Home Depot offer monthly classes for kids, and I’ll bet in a pinch you could find a child to take to a class that you might find interesting, too!
If you need some inspiration, head over to our Pinterest board…you’re liable to find SOMEthing there to get you going 😉
Now even if you don’t have access to any live teachers, and don’t quite trust yourself to a super-ambitious project going it solo, don’t give up! My daughter and I have enjoyed some online craft classes as part of her middle-school home ec studies ;-). If you’re not familiar with Craftsy (like I wasn’t!), do be curious and take a look at their library of FREE online DIY classes, with lifetime access!
What are your favorite ways to use maps in your home and/or homeschool? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
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