Monday, September 27, 2010


My hobby of the past several years has been knitting, which led me further into fibrey pursuits when my husband bought me a bargain spinning wheel at a garage sale. (I wonder if he sometimes thinks he should have just kept driving. It's become a bit of an obsession.) I have two spinning wheels, a variety of spindles and more wool than you might think possible.

I never really intended to make wool and spinning part of our home education, but inevitably the interests we pursue lead to new discoveries. I did not know that at one time exporting Merino sheep from Spain was punishable by death. I did not know that the linen sails of Columbus' ships were made from thread spun on hand spindles, since spinning wheels had not been invented at that time. I had a vague understanding of the central role of textile manufacturing in the industrial revolution, but I did not know that the precursor to computer technology was weaving looms that could be set up to create complex patterns.

I am not saying that fibre arts is the best foundation for home education, even though I could make a pretty good case for it. (Without spinning and weaving we'd all be wearing leather or naked. I think that alone establishes spinning as an essential of civilization.) What I found out through learning about wool, linen and cotton is paralleled in any other area of interest. Whether it's model aircraft, or photography, or rock hunting, or woodworking, there are rabbit trails to follow that might lead to many other discoveries in history, geography, science, language or the arts. When we integrate our interests into our children's learning, we expand the possibilities.

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