Saturday, September 15, 2012

Practical Life- Sewing a Button

 Admittedly I love the idea of unschooling, that the child determines what she is interested in learning and the parent-teacher picks up that ball and runs with it, but I have never investigated that idea further or read a book that delves deeper into the logistics and philosophy behind unschooling. Truthfully I need way more control and organization than what I imagine the free spirited unschooling parent-teacher has. That said, when these little learners in my care take an interest in something I try to let them go with it as far as they choose.  Maria Montessori recognized periods of rapid learning in particular topics and called them sensitive periods. This is the thought that a child who has interest and motivation to learn something specific during this period will learn it most easily and thoroughly and that the teacher should take advantage of this time to help the child learn as much as she wants about it. This cannot be planned for or postponed until the rest of the class is ready. We cannot put it off until the syllabus says it is time. Yet we must be prepared for it.

T found a jar of buttons up in our craft cabinet that I bought months ago and forgotten about. It cost me $5 at a thrift store and was truly a gem of a find. This jar has a delightful mix of buttons in it. Big buttons, fancy buttons, wood and leather buttons, buttons with shanks- yes, we now know the word shank and what it means to a button. We also know how to sew a shank button or a four hole button, in a cross pattern or strait and we will be learning soon how to give that four hole button a shank. Yes!! This jar of buttons is priceless. When the jar made its appearance T and R spent over an hour with these buttons looking at them, pairing the matches, choosing combinations that were pleasing to their little button palettes. And when I offered to teach them how to sew a button onto fabric? Pure excitement.

I had purchased This set of sewing activities for Christmas. They were a bit too young for it at the time save for the lacing activity and I was a bit busy with a toddler but in the months since we have covered the lacing and running stitch activities. Rather than rush into the next activity, the button activity, I am glad I waited until they chose this themselves, as this enthusiasm can't be forced. When the opportunity came for this lesson I was ready and being ready to teach when the opportunity arises, that sensitive period as Dr. Montessori would call it, that must be the spirit of unschooling, yes?

So far we have practiced with shank buttons, two hole buttons and four hole buttons. We sewed new eyes on a black crocheted kitty Grammy made (sorry Grammy- I'll tell you that black kitty looks evil with red eyes but I guarantee he'll get more playtime now. You know how R feels about bad guys). We have plans for clothing for all the animals and baby dolls in our care decorated with buttons of course. And this all came in perfect time, I'm stuck in bed recovering from surgery but there is one way I can help out The Dark One while he cares for all of us. Sewing buttons with the kids in bed! 

1 comment:

Jeri said...

So glad you found an activity to do with the kids while recovering from surgery. I have to admit that I like my tin of buttons too, haha. What perfect timing it was that that's where their interest took them. You are a very clever mommy/teacher. I am learning a lot about the Montessori way of teaching, and have never heard the term un schooling before. So I guess you can teach an old Grammie new tricks. No offense taken on them sewing eyes on their stuffed animals. I am just happy they were interested in doing it.