Monday, August 27, 2007

I did it!

I finally finished my first lace knitting.

Finishing this sucker was a big homeschooling moment at my house. A major moment!

I know, I know, some of you are a bit confused as how something the homeschooling mom creates in her own free time has anything to do with homeschooling, especially in a major way. But it's true. It does. And I'll try to sum it up quickly before the next child comes out of bed complaining of thirst, or growing pains, or noises outside. Are you ready?

  • I taught myself how to do something completely new. And the children watched.
  • I struggled. For months and months, really, while they watched. They saw me start, fail, rip out all my stitches, and start again. They saw me work, really work at something until I mastered it. To completion. Without giving up. WIthout whining, sulking, or throwing things. Honest.

It was a complete exercise in developing my own will forces. Perseverance. And who knows how much of that rubs off on them. How much of that do they breathe in, just from being here and watching?

If you listen to David Albert of unschooling infamy, one of the best things you can do for your children is to, "Learn something new yourself." Especially if you have a child with perfectionistic tendencies like my Moonshine.

In Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery, Albert says that by learning something new yourself:
"Your empathy with, and humility around, your children will increase exponentially. You'll teach them through example that mistakes are part of the learning process... Just as importantly, your kids will see that learning something new always begins with some level of discomfort, and that's really okay. They will watch you progress and come to understand that mastery of any subject matter-- be it mathematics, crocheting, baseball, or singing-- and self-mastery only come by developing sound learning habits and putting in the requisite time, energy, and effort. And then by doing so, self-confidence grows. And what is self-confidence, really, but the feeling that one is prepared to tackle a future replete with exciting new adventures!"

So here she is, my exciting adventure-- the Adamas Lace shawl, in all her glorious detail. Sunburst, in typical fashion, has been begging to start her own lace shawl. The thought leaves me breathless... I mean, it's a load of knitting! It's all about precision and attention to detail and slippery needles. Is an 8 1/2 year-old really ready for that?

I've been hemming and hawing about it, kind of wavering on the fence. But at the Waldorf homeschooling conference this weekend I got the go ahead from Barbara Dewey to let Sunburst go for it. It's not like she hasn't already knit socks on 4-needles (albeit baby socks) and a two-color hat. Sunburst plainly admitted to me that it might take her a year, or even two, to knit a lace shawl to completion. And she was completely comfortable with that. Undaunted.

To read more of my thoughts (and some great quotes) on perfectionism and homeschooling, GO HERE.


  1. Great job! Im proud of you too.

  2. Anonymous6:30 PM

    Awesome! Good work Mama! They will probably remember this 'lesson' forever. : )

  3. Of course this can be considered homeschooling! Congrats on finishing a beautiful shawl.

  4. That's beautiful. I'm very impressed by your stickability and the results.

  5. Anonymous8:58 PM

    Wow, I've always wanted one of those shawls since a friend of mine made one for herself. Your shawl is beautiful. You've written a wonderful post and one I will keep in mind the next time I am struggling to learn something new.

  6. What a beautiful shawl! I am working on a very plain one for myself, using the Tasha Tudor pattern in deep red.

    Maybe someday I will graduate to lace! :)

  7. Anonymous6:51 AM

    Your shawl is beautiful, Sara. I really admire your perseverance!

    You know, Steiner had a lot to say about striving. There are times I look at my kids and wonder if I'm doing the right thing, but then I remember that I'm on a path and I'm at least making strides. You have made big steps down your path! Congrats :)

  8. Wow it is truly gorgeous, well done and I am sure the whole family is proud of you, I wish I was as talented.
    Nicky in New Zealand

  9. oh wow wow wow!!!!!!

    just catching up with your blog and it's inspiring as ever. thank you for sharing this process. beautiful shawl is a bonus!

  10. What a lovely shawl. I liked your post because developing will forces is something I'm spending a lot of time thinking about these days. What a wonderful experience!



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