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16. Will-Developed Intelligence: Handwork and Practical Arts in the Waldorf School Elementary through High School by David Mitchell and Patricia Livingston.

What caught my attention about Waldorf Education is the inclusion of art and what's called handwork. I would have called it the Arts and Crafts, now I call it Handwork. The crafts overall are dying in this country, the surge in popularity of knitting not withstanding. Before finding Waldorf I was planning that all my kids be exposed tot was familiar with anyway. But knitting in the first grade? Crochet in the second? This is cool! I have a latent desire to take Teacher Training and become a Handwork Teacher. So needless to say, this book caught my eye. For two reasons. 1. I wanted a reference book on hand that gave good, detailed descriptions of what handwork should be at each grade. 2. I wanted to drool, and see what types of things I might get to learn someday.

So, the book. Wow.

First part of the book covers the elementary grades. There is a short essay of what the handwork usually is at each grade and then goes into woodworking program (starts in 4th and continues through High School). Then there's a couple of essays on how cool the hand is and how important Handwork is in creating good neuropathways. Handwork essentially builds the brain in places that can't be reached any other way. Basically, the two essays could be boiled down to the phrase "The more nimble the fingers, the more nimble the mind." Which is true.

Second part: High School
Oh my goodness. This part gave me doubts about my ability to homeschool the High School years. Where in the hell am I going to soak an elm log for a year so we can make our own wood strips so we can weave baskets? Seriously. The Practical Arts in the High School years is amazing. There's lots of detailed information on woodworking and metalmaking, including basic instructions on creating your own forge for the school blacksmithy! Ut!

This book definitely pointing out my lacks of art education. I don't think there's a way I could ever help my kids through some of the intense arts, handwork, and practical work that is done in the High School years. I can see why the schools end up hiring specialized teachers. And you know? That's okay. I can do what I can do, and find a studio for the rest!  (Hey! There's a stained glass workshop down the street!)

Definitely a great read and a good reference work. If I don't end up taking teacher training, I'll end up passing it on...but in the meantime, it goes on the reference shelf.

PS also forgot to mention, its picture heavy so lots of examples and things to drool over.



Feb. 2nd, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)
I want to read that book. It reminds me of a short story by Joan Aiken, All You Ever Wanted. In it a girl is raised and home schooled by five or six aunts. She dreads Wednesday because that's when she learns "Essentials" from one of them. She never knows what will happen on Wednesday. It might be boiler making or revolver practice. Because, as her aunt rightly points out, one never knows in this day and age what will turn out to be essential.
Feb. 5th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
Its a really cool book!

Feb. 5th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC)
My latest Dover catalog lists a couple of books by Janet and Issac Asimov; Norby the Mixed-Up Robot and Norby's Other Secret. They're for children. As a librarian and Asimov fan, do you know anything about the Norby series? I ask because I have grandchildren.
Feb. 5th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'm not the Asimov Fan. Joe is. I'm the Heinlein fan. I'll ask Joe what he knows.
Feb. 23rd, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
I read a few of the Norby books, though they came out when I was a bit old for the target audience. I recall them being enjoyable. Probably targeted around 10+, so you can judge the actual age your grandkids would enjoy them.

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