Natural Fibers-the Fabrics of Our Lives

I keep reading blogs about the dreariness of February.  According to these blogs, many people experience homeschooling hardship during this month.  Maybe it is the cold weather? Or the fact that others are looking at new school for the next year?  Whatever the cause, I can completely relate.  However, this is our third year homeschooling and I was prepared for this month!

In January, I felt overwhelmed with all of the work-teaching three kiddos at different levels and with three different learning styles.  I knew that I needed a break.  Thus, I decided to do a textiles block with all three children.  We took a break from our Waldorf Essentials and did a block on our own.  I guess the block was more like a unit study of sorts.  I varied the work load and the difficulty of the work based on the child’s level.

Overall, we studied three different types of fibers-silk, cotton and wool.  We used lots of picture books that gave the history of each fiber, the harvesting of each fiber and the process of taking the raw material and producing something wonderful.  The older kids had the task of finding appropriate videos for each fiber and the process.  They are all looking for the fibers throughout their days.  What did they learn?

The history of each fiber such as where it comes from, how its trade effected the world, and how its development changed the world.

How was it used in the past and the present?

The “life cycle” of the fabric.

How the climate and geographical position of its harvest affects the product.

The chemistry behind dying fibers.

The physics behind turning a raw product into yarn or thread.

The final projects included lots of main lesson pages, papers, tree weaving, ginning and carding cotton, spinning wool into yarn, a field trip to a cotton and wool farm and dyed fibers.  The best part was a relaxed month without too many meltdowns by mom or kids!