Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Homeschooling Gift Idea: DIY Supplies

Homeschoolers are notorious "DIYers" (do-it-yourself). They love hands-on projects, getting dirty, making messes, ulitmately creating something of worth out of all that chaos.

Try shopping at the local hardware store for gifts. After checking with the parents for age-appropriateness and ability level, take a cruise down the aisles and discover all the tools of creativity.
If you are not comfortable in large hardware stores, shop at a small hardware store: a place where the employees are experienced carpenters, plumbers, and the like. These folks will gladly listen to your ideas and needs, and guide you to the tools and implements that would best suit the gift recipient. If your only option is a large box store, go when they are slow (not in the early morning when the construction trade is there, and not on weekends when homeowners are there). Go to the information desk and tell them what you are looking for and that you want someone with a working background in that area. You may have to wait a bit, but having a person who knows what they are doing is well worth your time.
If you are a handyperson, give a woodworking book along with a note telling the child to choose a project from the book. Then, have a special outing where the two of you go and purchase the supplies, then return home to make the chosen item. What a special gift!

If you do not know which end of a hammer is which, participate with the child in one of the many free kids workshops at Home Depot, or check with the local recreation department for woodworking/DIY classes.
Or, perhaps you have a talented friend or neighbor who is willing to help you with the gift by helping the child build something. Remember to thank your gift assistant by first paying for all supplies, and then present them with a special gift just for them.
If the homeschooled child is also in scouting (Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts), check with the parents to see what belt loops, pins, achievements, patches, or merit badges your gift could help fulfill. The child would then receive a gift, the cool item they built, and well-deserved recognition at their Pack or Troop meeting.
Working with tools gives children confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and a useful skill, as well as reinforcing math, reading, and listening skills. The sounds and feel of working with one's hands provide wonderful tactile, visual, and auditory experiences. What an incredible gift!
Article by Sarah J. Wilson

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