One of my daughter’s classes this year as a homeschooled high school student is a class I’ve tentatively called “Design and Textiles: Fiber Arts.” Okay, I fess up. I cheated. I didn’t come up with that title completely on my own. Florida’s Department of Education publishes a list of all the course titles that public schools could choose to offer their students. The list is long, as in more than 60 pages long. While I know that I’m not required to use their course titles, there are so many titles on the list that I think I could find a title (perhaps with a bit of tweaking) on the list for almost anything my children could study. So why not simplify things and use their list on our transcript since those titles have passed official muster as appropriate high school course titles? In other words, those titles should pass muster with any educational official, including college admissions officers; so why invent completely new titles?
What does her Fiber Arts class consist of? She’s in a 4-H Sewing Class (run by me); so she’s using some 4-H Sewing Curriculum. This is fabulous because she’s been able to submit items she’s created (sewn, knitted or crocheted, and more) to the county fair and has won prizes on several–which means she’s not only won some ribbons and some cash, but can list her prize-winning creations as part of what she’s accomplished in this course. She can also win an award from 4-H for completing a set of records for her sewing projects if she completes a certain amount of the curriculum by the end of the year–winning awards definitely makes her transcript look more impressive. In addition, she’s in a Knitting Club as part of our homeschool support group and just finished her first project for the club; she already knew the basics of knitting, but this year, she’s mastered purling and learned to use circular needles and make ribbing (as seen in the photo of the hat she created). She’s used a variety of library books, none of which were designed as textbooks but which she’s learned a great deal from, to crochet, knit and/or sew from patterns created by others as well been inspired to make her own patterns. And together we’ve watched a number of videos on knitting, crocheting and sewing to learn some new techniques and ideas to try. In other words, we’ve had fun creating things and improving our skills together and she’s earning high school credit for it, too.
One of the fabulous aspects of homeschooling, in my opinion, is the leeway to create classes that fit what the child wants to learn, to create classes that are fun and creative and hands-on. This may not be a typical art (or home economics) course, but I know from talking to the Dean of Admissions at my alma mater that not being typical can be better. He sees thousands of applications every year from students who all seem to have taken the same sorts of classes and who, on paper, all begin to look very much alike. Finding someone who stands apart from the crowd can be a good thing. Besides that, she’s already earning money selling items that she’s designed and crafted which gives her one more option in life for ways to earn a living.