Made-by-Hand Education By Lindy Abbott

I am so excited to put this article on my blog considering I have my own Etsy business and I also homeschool! (Come visit me! Link at bottom of page.)  

I LOVE the ideas presented here so check it out:

Made-by-Hand Education 

By Lindy Abbott

“It’s better homemade,” is increasingly a sentiment many young homemakers, especially those aged 20 to 30, believe. Thankfully we still have our older generations who happily share their skills with those who are increasingly seeking lessons.

Several months ago it thrilled my heart to have my spiritual mother teach my daughter and me how to knit. As she sat between us on the sofa, she guided us between the giggles and missed stitches. We learned how to knit, and the time we shared together created a precious memory in our hearts. The benefit of knowing that a lot of love goes into a product makes it worth the extra time it takes to have something homemade.

 Teaching home economics is becoming more popular than it was in the 1980s. My generation, in the late 1970s, was probably among the last that was required to take home economic classes in high school. We learned to plan attractive, balanced meals one semester. I actually learned how to make a perfect chocolate meringue pie in a fully equipped kitchen. In the second semester, everyone had to sew a buttoned shirt and a skirt with a zipper. In yesteryear, schools considered these skills as important as academic classes. I think they still are today!

Most colleges still offer a major in home economics, but it has been renamed “human science.” My early childhood education degree was taught within the College of Human Science, along with degrees in nutrition, interior design, and textiles. Thankfully I was exposed to classes in each of these areas. As a homeschool parent you are blessed with the opportunity to teach your children valuable skills to be used in their home, and you can also encourage entrepreneurship.

The virtuous woman in Proverb 31 sold her goods to assist her family, and we can too. Teaching your children home economics naturally fits into homeschooling, and it is much easier to sell your items worldwide with several Internet sites like Etsy ( and Artfire (, which provide very easy-to-set-up shops. I have obtained permission from several shop owners to introduce you to their wares in this article, to give you insight into what others are making. I strongly encourage you to include your children when you plan activities and work together in designing unique, sellable items.

In my twenties, I learned that the Bible instructed women to be keepers of their home. Titus 2:3–5 charges older women to teach younger women to love their husbands and children and to be keepers at home. The Greek word oikourous, translated “keepers at home,” is derived from two Greek words. The first, oikos, means “a house, dwelling, a family or household.” The second, ouros, means “to be a keeper, watcher or guardian.” I simply love that women are called by God to be guardians of the affairs in the home! In 1 Timothy 5:14, Paul exhorts women to “guide the house,” using the verb oikodespotein for guide. Do you see despot in this Greek word? Yes, women are to rule the home in the sense of being wise, diligent managers running households efficiently. Sewing and cooking serve as the foundation of home economics, and individuals can use skills in these areas to produce numerous marketable items.

The Internet provides a wide variety of instructions related to creating quality homemade products with do-it-yourself videos, blogs, and websites. The hardest part may be trying to focus on only one or two projects at a time so that each can be thoroughly developed. Think about what types of products naturally appeal to you and your children, but also try a few things that you have always wanted to do but may have no experience with. I am looking into taking pottery classes this coming year, and after recently seeing all the beautiful pottery in artisan shops in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, I can’t wait to start. Visiting craft fairs and small specialty shops can be a good place to see what is selling.

Hopefully a few examples of online shop owners will spark your interest and inspire your family to create your own unique ideas:

• Kelli of Desert Soapstone started making soap about five years ago after the birth of her first child. She uses only natural oils in her soap. She confesses, “Olive oil and coconut oil are my favorites to work with . . . .” Her husband, an artistic architect, helps her decide on scents and designs. “I am mostly inspired by nature as far as design goes and color combos. There are a lot of amazing designs in nature,” explains Kelli. Excellent online sources about making soap include these: and You can visit Kelli’s store at

• Long before April thought of homeschooling, she had started her home business of sewing homemade items. “Time management is key . . . . I treat my business as a business and not a hobby,” shares April. “It takes a great amount of discipline to keep this business running, profitable, and fun!” April focuses on quality, and therefore her 11-year-old homeschooling son does not help her sew, but he helps with pricing and other aspects of business. I simply love the beautiful materials April has chosen for her products and the wide variety she offers. Her stand-alone website is

• Laurie has a shop called Gifts and Talents in which she sells items that are decoupaged. She says: “I started doing art before I could write. Even at 3 years old I was putting the smallest details into my drawings.” Recipe boxes, key hooks, and light switch plates are among the many items she decoupages, and all can be made to match your colors or patterns. You can find her beautiful array of items at

Your home economics can include beading jewelry, card making, photography, collage art, mosaic tile, woodcrafts, costume design, candle making, creating soup or cookie mixes, and making fresh baked goods. Of course, home repair projects are always available and perfect for home economics lessons; if you have older children, you could complete a building project like making a bookshelf or a stone walkway.

Homeschool families can easily find ways to incorporate a home business into the school day. Today the tools and information to build an interesting course that might just result in a home business are at your fingertips, and maybe you will find a passion or talent you never knew was within.

Lindy Abbott is a passionate follower of Jesus with a strong understanding of the Biblical, Christian worldview. She is a certified teacher and a homeschool mom of three teens. From childhood, she discovered writing as her way to express what she felt and learned. Lindy is a published author, freelance writer, editor of a homeschool newsletter, and avid blogger. Read
her regular post at

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Come visit my Etsy shop!  
Jewelry by Janet Powers
Homeschool Mom
Pastor's Wife/Minister/Worship Leader 

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