Crafting our way through second grade

One of our goals in life is to make learning fun for Little Moon (aka Beadbaby) so that she becomes a self-directed learner – someone who takes initiative to educate herself.

Our efforts have proved to be worth it so far. Let me share with you a project she made this year – all on her own. She was taught the basics of sewing by her Lola Mommy Merilyn, my mom. The rest, she learned by studying the craft books we provided her, without any help from me. She has learned to make her own toys. This is what she does in her free time.

In our household, academics and crafts are both important. More often than not, our academics are injected with hands-on arts and crafts projects because this is how Little Moon learns best. She is a kinesthetic learner – she needs to move, touch, and do. So we reinforce all lessons through a craft project.

For instance, for Geometry, we did origami when we discussed the types of angles and triangles. Then, instead of a written exam at the end of the quarter, I asked her to create a bloom ball (a dodecahedron) with each side enumerating the geometric concepts we tackled for the quarter.

I am also teaching her multiplication and division through beading. We calculate how much her beaded projects cost. Later on, I will teach her how to compute the selling price of her beaded earrings and bracelets because she wants to  sell her work in the Ber months.

Our method of teaching all subjects in a fun, engaging, and off-the-book approach seems to be working so far. She is technically an incoming third grader, but she tested at the fifth grade level in some academic areas.

But won’t all this fun and play have a negative effect on her in the long run, some parents might ask. How can she learn discipline and the value of hard work? Laro laro lang yan, some might say.

Crafting has taught her frugality and resourcefulness – she only has a finite set of materials, and this pushes her to work with what she has. When she is running out of fabric, she thinks of a way to budget her remaining stash. She often recycles “junk” like tissue paper rolls and cardboard packaging to make her thingamajigs.

When she doesn’t have a certain toy, instead of asking us mom and dada to buy for her, she decides to create it herself. This is her version of Twisty Petz – a toy you can transform into a bracelet. She saw a theater classmate wearing one, and she made this the following weekend.

Crafting is teaching her self-control and time management. Because she has a gazillion projects she wants to make, I ask her to prioritize and finish what she started.

And most of all, crafting teaches her patience, perseverance, and grit. It takes a lot of time to finish a plushie. From the cutting of the fabric, to the sewing of the pieces, to the stuffing – I don’t think I’ve ever finished a sewing project as intricate as the animals she sews. I think she has sewn five plushies so far! Sewing teaches discipline and hard work.

When a project doesn’t go the way she planned it, she learns to be patient with herself and tries again. She repairs the plushies that she made when they get worn out from play.

At the tender age of 7, she taught herself to knit – a craft her Lola Mommy and I have never learned to do. She has offered to teach me how, haha. I am inspired by her determination and can-do attitude. I look forward to all the craft projects this little girl will come up with. I look forward to crafting our way through elementary and through life.


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