Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A fun day of quilt teaching!

As most of you know, I chose to homeschool Stephen (my first grader) this year.
As a mom who has homeschooled for years now (my oldest is 26 yrs old and also homeschooled), I know the importance of homeschool coops and activities.

Sadly, Stephen wasn't allowed to join any local homeschool coops. Why? Because his father is disabled and his mom works. Yep. It's true. Because it is a "coop" you are expected to help at said coop if you want your child involved. I simply cannot take on such a burden right now and my husband can't even navigate the stairs usually at a coop much less help all day. No way he could. So, after much looking and Stephen being denied multiple times, I finally enrolled him Discovery Homeschool Academy.

It's a great school. He goes once a week, is in a class with other children his age, ( the coop is popular enough that it has 3 classes of just first grade alone and a waiting list to get in! ) We have to drive an hour to get the Academy so it is a good thing it is only once a week, but well worth the drive. He takes classes for Science, Social studies, PE, art, music, and Spanish.

The primary social studies teacher (she teaches 1st-3rd grade), is just starting a unit study of pioneers. She plans to do several hands on projects the same way that the pioneers would have and she wanted to kick off the unit with a study of quilts. I was invited to teach what quilting was like for pioneer families. So, today I taught 6 different classes of 1st - 3rd graders; 120 children. It was a perfect fit for me since I piece by hand!

I took all the supplies to show them the process, but didn't end up having time to do that. Rather, the teacher started off the lesson showing the kids photos of things children used in the old days, having them guess what they were. Then she turned the class time over to me. Remember all those wonderful hexagons you all sent to me when I had my shop? Well, I used several bulletin boards in the room and hung the hexagons on them. This one was neat because the word friends was already there and I just added the blocks around it.

Then I handed out paper pieces for each child to create their own block. Yep, I used ahhhh packets from my shop.
It was a challenging puzzle for most of them. We stuck to 'beginner' level and the teacher had me giggling because she was challenged by the 'puzzle' multiple times over! That actually made my day because it shows that quilting can be much more challenging than it looks!
After they had their block glued down to a back ground, they colored them.
This was one of the easiest blocks they could choose from.
Some chose harder ones, and some chose to create their own design from the pieces I provided.

I could have hugged the boy that made the block in the photo below.
He raised his hand as he was working. He asked if I had ever heard of Star Wars TIE fighters.
Then he showed me the block he had designed himself, telling me that it is a TIE fighter:

Do you know I hugged him right then and there, and walked over to my sewing bag and grabbed out my own TIE Fighter? If you are doing the Space Journey mystery, then you will know that is EXACTLY what I called this block .

 Seriously. In fact, here is the blog post telling about it:
It made me so sad when the little boy was packing up to leave class because he cried since his teacher wouldn't let him take his TIE fighter home. She is going to put all the blocks into one big laminated quilt and hang it up for the parents to see at the Christmas Program and Art Show in December.
I ran over to my supply bag and grabbed him some more pieces so that he could re create his TIE fighter at home. He still had tears because he said that he couldn't remember exactly how he made it, so I drew it up for him real fast, showing him exactly what pieces he used. That helped and he left with a smile. I'll go to sleep tonight smiling about that boy and how proud he was of his TIE fighter, especially when I showed him the one above that I just happened to have with me!

Below are a couple of photos of some of the finished blocks that the kids made.
I will try to get a photo of the finished quilt too.

I had originally dreaded teaching today. I am not much into working with children below the 4th grade level and prefer teens more than any. But, the kids were great today and they had such a fun time putting their blocks together.
It made me miss the days of being a full time quilter/blogger/teacher.
I am praying that SOMEDAY I can return to that.
I would simply LOVE to travel the country and teach at guilds, schools, etc.
Oh and to design a lot more than I get time to do now...
Yes that dream is huge for me.
Today revived the dream. I needed that. Badly.

For those of you wanting the next clue of the mystery, it won't be until tomorrow night. I normally sew on Tuesdays but I taught these quilt classes all day and then my body went into another allergic reaction as I was driving home from the Academy. I took a heavy dose of drugs and put myself to bed at 6 pm. I actually slept for three hours straight. I couldn't sew when I woke because my hands were super swollen. Typing this post has been a challenge and I took several breaks while typing. I have  very fat hands right now.
I just took another dose of drugs and my eyes will be closing again shortly.
I've had multiple reactions since Sept 9th, resulting in 5 ER/or urgent care visits. But, I am now under the care of a specialist. I've been doing much better of late, and I am quite happy that this current reaction has been better controlled than previous ones. Regardless, in the past two months I've taken a dangerously high amount of steroids, so it is good things are getting under control.
Anyway, I work during the day for the next two days, but I will try to get your clue tomorrow night. Unless the reaction is still messing with me, then it will take until Thursday night.
So, sorry about that.


  1. How fun! And you are so generous with the ahhhs

  2. Tanya, my daughter has made something for you. (My daughter has Cerebral Palsy) Where would be the best address to send it so you can enjoy it? My email address is:
    My YouTube channel is 2LadyHomesteaders Hodge. We live 100% off grid and grow about 90% of our food. Your son or the group might be interested since we live like the pioneers.

    1. I will email it to you, thank you!! That is very sweet of her.
      I envy you. You all must be so much healthier living off the land as we all should be doing.

  3. The last year I taught in Illinois, my second graders hand pieced a nine-patch quilt--one block each. (Boy, did their handwriting improve!--and they got their photo in the district's newsletter.)

    1. Wow that was an undertaking! But young kids can do it and they enjoy it.