How Making a Homemade Quilt Teaches Problem-Solving


Write Your Own Homeschool Curriculum

I’ve wasted a lot of money over the years on prepackaged homeschool curriculum…much of which we discarded as useless or irrelevant to our needs.  Why did I waste my money?  I could have pulled together the learning objectives, knowledge, and taught the material myself! In fact, the longer I homeschooled, the more pride I felt in my own DIY (do-it-yourself) classical homeschool curriculum.

It’s really very easy to create your own homeschool curriculum when you consider two criteria.  First, what reading, thinking, writing, or speaking skill does my daughter lack?  Secondly, what are her passions, interests, or natural inclinations?  In other words, ask yourself 2 questions:

# 1- What SKILLS does she need to learn?

# 2 – What TOPIC is she interested in learning more about?

How Making a Rag Quilt Teaches Critical Thinking Skills

To illustrate, let’s say your daughter needs to work on her critical thinking skills (question # 1), and she enjoys working with textiles (question #2).  Why invest in an expensive, boring critical thinking workbook when you can teach her “how to arrange data into systems” by making a handmade rag quilt? Every one of the detailed skills under this particular critical thinking skill (arranging data) can be mastered by making quilts!

  1. classify into categories
  2. describe attributes
  3. recognize similarities and differences
  4. recall and relate patterns
  5. reorder elements in a set
Now watch what I do as I create my imaginary DIY rag quilt while using it as homeschool critical thinking curriculum.  Here’s what my daughter and I would do together.

Teach Step by Step Process

Go to the fabric store, and select four different fabrics  and some batting Use an 8" quilting square and a rotary tool to cut the four quilting fabrics (or use a ruler and scissors) Do the same with the batting except make the squares 6" each Place the batting between two pieces of fabric Sew a diagonal X across each padded square Piece the quilt on the floor or table according to your taste (or teaching objective) Leaving a 1" seam allowance (for the rag effect), stitch the squares together Once all the squares make a full quilt, stitch the outer edge perimeter 5/8" Snip all the hanging seam allowances about every 1/4" for a fringed look Pop the quilt in the washing machine (no soap) then dryer

When you’re making your quilt, you’re teaching her critical thinking skills about arranging data including…

  • classifying  colors
  • distinguishing textures
  • organizing patterns
  • reordering motifs

In addition, she’ll learn even more critical thinking skills like how to accurately measure, how to regulate the sewing machine foot pedal for even stitches, and how to mathematically plan for the right number of colorful squares to achieve the finished quilt-size.  So far, that’s 7 critical thinking skills you taught and she learned!

Crafting your own homeschool curriculum (like this free science lesson plan on molecules)can be immensely satisfying, extremely effective, and more fun that a boring textbook. The possibilities for fun, productive learning and skills building are limitless for both mom and daughter, and all you did was chuck the expensive, prepackaged critical thinking homeschool curriculum workbook for a real-life DIY project that endures for generations.  [To learn how to make your own darling rag quilt, go to Lisa’s blog,  Pickles and Cheese, and look for the “Colors of Provence” entry.]

You probably have many skills that would be put to good use in your homeschool while there are other things that you’d rather “hire” out to someone who does it better.  Don’t exchange the fun and camaraderie of making memories with your child for convenience….your creative, imaginative “do-it-yourself” homeschool curriculum will definitely meets the needs of trivium skills mastery.

Bless you,


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