A little background:
I grew up in a small reservation border town in New Mexico where my grandmother started her own business as a florist. During my life, I have watched my whole family work their own individual magic in this store. My grandmother's craft opened up a world of possibilities for her family. While she created, my mother and her sisters ran the front of the store. They were always taking orders, decorating, organizing, cleaning, and managing the bookkeeping. My grandfather completed the deliveries along with my cousin who often repaired the delivery truck. We all found what we were good at to contribute. I remember the many times we would excitedly watch commercials at home and ask for new shiny things only to have my grandmother say: "Hey! You can make that! All you need is a little..." and she would rattle off all the items we could use to make our own version for FREE! Over the years, I didn't realize how important these moments would be for me.
A little education:
Because of my grandmother, I learned how to sew, craft, and tinker. I learned how to take things apart. She taught us how to look at things and to understand how they are made, improved and repaired. Of course, I didn't know she taught me all this. It was just our life. So, I always found it a little silly when kids in my California middle and high school would be so tickled about the little things they made in elective classes. As a teen, I didn't fully understand the rich opportunity I had to live a life of crafting. When I started teaching in the classroom, I began to see how important it was for children to create in order to connect information to their lives. And once I began homeschooling my own children, it became imperative that they learn these basics of life. There was just no getting around it.
Crafting is life:
At the beginning of this year, we all began sheltering in place. While everyone worried and fretted through those first few weeks, my childhood memories swirled to the surface. When masks were needed, I gathered with some friends and we organized our first craft. Then bread was low, so we began sharing recipes. No playgrounds? Crafts! And on and on it went. Just like the days I spent with my grandmother. Every week, I took out a new craft for my kids and we began to rebuild the world at our kitchen table. Many times, making creations so large that we could not eat there for days at a time. So I was excited when HSC asked me to host virtual craft sessions at their annual conference. And I knew that everything had come full circle when they asked: "Do you think you could do crafts that can be made only with supplies that people typically have in their home?" Challenge accepted!
As time goes on, I hope that all the world uses this moment at home to align with their ability to create. Whether it is crafts, dance, writing, or art of any kind. Lately, I've been telling my husband about how happy I am that my children know this life now. That they are aware of how much we can make in our own communities. How we are all important. And how we can all help each other. This month in my home, I have finally started to learn how to crochet- a pastime in my family that has been around for generations. I was also able to purchase a child-sized loom for my daughter so she can begin weaving basics. My son is creating in other ways, mostly using technology. While my husband works on things in the garage. I know that we all want the world to get back to what it was before the pandemic hit us. But in a small way I am happy that this time has given me a chance to share all of my grandmother's knowledge with my children.
-Laurie Gracia-Alikhan, editor The Homeschooler Post
Have crafts that you would like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to share what you have created with the world.
How are you spending your time sheltering-in-place?