Normally when I think about educating the children, I focus on the academic: science, math, writing, history. Sure, M1 is on the swim team and has his banjo, and sure, M2 plays violin and takes swimming lessons also, but those are still, in large part, academic pursuits, albeit of the elective kind.
There are, however, other pursuits that are still equally worthy of their (and my!) time that sometimes get overlooked. I readily admit that sometimes I forget to look at the forest because I'm too busy focusing on the trees.
M1 has his K'Nex and science projects to keep him busy, and he occasionally wanders in the kitchen to cook; M2, while she does enjoy the odd cooking project, is primarily my little hobbyist/crafter. She adores going into the school room and working on some elaborate project for a few hours. She constantly wants to learn new skills, too. She's begged me to find someone to teach her to sew (she doesn't want to take a class, despite my urging; she wants one-on-one instruction from a close friend or family member). She found a book on patchwork at the library and wants to learn to quilt. She has even asked if she can use food as a craft item, which I'm okay with as long as the food stays in the kitchen/dining area and doesn't migrate upstairs.
There's a fair amount of precedence for her myriad hobby interests. My sister is a wizard with a sewing machine and even made her own wedding dress. My mother has sewed since before I was born and once took a knitting class. Oz's grandmother knitted professionally for many years and can knit a sweater to fit the person in mind without taking a single measurement. Oz's mother learned to knit and sew and does quite well at that, too. Me? Well, I cross-stitch and went through phases when I was younger where I made beaded jewelry and tried calligraphy; a couple years ago Oz bought me a pysanky kit that unfortunately hasn't seen the amount of use I'd like. So obviously the women in our family tend to stay busy with something or other.
One of the gifts that M2 got for her birthday was a small knitting loom. She tried weaving at a recent homeschool event and enjoyed it, but Oz thought that perhaps knitting would be better suited to our wee girl's interests.
He was right.
The loom is small, but it's the perfect size for her. The instructions were easy enough to follow that I could help her get it set up and going without any problems, and she took over from there. She made just a little piece to begin with, but she already wants to make her brother a scarf for his birthday this fall. It's cute to watch her discuss yarn color choices and create a 'knitting box' where she can store all her paraphernalia.
She's planning, working, and happy. The domestic arts may not be formal education, per se, but they certainly still have their uses, and I can't wait to see the results!