Contently Humble

A Charlotte Mason Homeschool in a Digital World

Sloyd-Our Homeschool Approach to Handicrafts

I love it when a-ha moments come from simple moments of delightful conversation. It’s even more delightful when those conversations are compounded and reinforced by seemingly unrelated sources.

One such conversation began at a recent church potluck. Lighthearted, fun, enjoyable. The words spoken planted a seed which grew into an exciting addition in our homeschool curriculum.  The topic of conversation? Sloyd. Yes, sloyd. Still feels strange to say the word.


Sloyd Our Homeschool Approach to Handicrafts


The conversation was not homeschool directed, but woodworking directed. A book about sloyd was mentioned. Crickets sounded in my brain as I tried to remember the word from somewhere, anywhere. Clueless. I was completely fascinated. My brain tried to soak it all in.

After one piece of dessert too many, the conversation faded from my mind. It crashed back into my conscience that evening as I read.  A word jumped at me. Sloyd.


The handiworks of Class II. are such as cardboard Sloyd, clay modelling, needlework, gardening, etc. These, field-work, piano practice, etc., are done in the afternoons or after tea.

School Education, Volume 3 of the Charlotte Mason Series


Coincidence? I think not.

Being a research junkie I jumped over to Wikipedia and Google Books to see what I could find. Sloyd, from the Swedish word slöjd means handicraft or handiwork.

Surely it was more than…handicrafts?? Nothing wrong with handicrafts, it’s just we don’t get along. Knitting needles run from me. Craft glue dodges my grip. Molding clay sits and laughs at feeble attempts of design.

Being undeterred in my quest I stumbled upon The Theory of Educational Sloyd.

You know that moment when the lightbulb comes on? The moment when you go ahhhhh. Yep, that’s it.

Sloyd is more than handicraft, it is a philosoply!  I cheered as I read each statement. Yes! Yippee!!


The Theory of Educational Sloyd by Otto Aron Salomon – Google eBook


The words resonated with me. Truth. Now, how does one go about achieving such lofty goals? I know the Charlotte Mason philosophy is directed toward achieving these ideals, but how does it work regarding a handicraft. A craft in which I am most defiantly not handy.

Fortunately, resources exist. “Whew!”

Paper Sloyd: A Handbook for Primary Grades
By Ednah Anne Rich – Google eBook


It might appear in the first lesson that you are merely making a simple envelope, but trust me, it’s not as simple as it seems. One of the rules of sloyd is to not touch the student’s work. My daughter needs to fully own her designs. My hands off meant no shortcuts were allowed. It’s really hard to not jump in and fix minor mistakes. Sloyd is as much for me as it is for her.

Using the ebook “Paper Sloyd: A Handbook for Primary Grades” my daughter made an envelope then placed a letter inside for a special Daddy gift. She took great delight in showing it off and explaining how it was created……herself.

Sloyd. Handicraft with purpose, diligence and ownership.

Sloyd is more than paper, it’s an approach. With the concept of sloyd I even grew brave and entered the woodworking realm. I knew when I entered the threshold of the wood shop nothing would ever be the same again.

I was right, wood chips can now be found alongside paper projects-all the result of a simple conversation.


Sloyd: Or, Educational Manual Training with Paper, Cardboard, Wood, and Iron By Everett Schwart – Google eBook


The Teacher’s Hand-book of Slöjd – Google eBook


Scientific Sloyd: A New Original System Founded on Geometrical Principles …
By Anna Molande – Google eBook


Happy Sloyding!!


11 Replies

  1. This is neat! It’s a fun word to say, but i love the philosophy. I see the merit of the hands-off approach; my daughter has been aggravated in an art class where the teacher “fixed” something for her – because then it’s not ALL her creation.

    1. We are having a blast with sloyd! Ownership is indeed vital…I caught myself today trying to make “math go faster” by helping with my daughter’s project. Uh, oh..I wasn’t “sloyding”…I’m finding it valuable in so many areas of our homeschool.

  2. What a fun word to say, the whole theory is awesome and I hadn’t heard of it before…

  3. Oh Jennifer, this post really grabbed me today, I am crafty and a little ocd about it, so the philosophy of hands-off is better learned now than later 🙂 I am so excited that I can share in your wisdom, thank you. Tara.

    1. I keep reminding myself that telling doesn’t equal learning and “hands on” learning doesn’t mean my hands on the project. I’m blessed that God is gently placing people in my life to whisper wisdom to me, I pray my heart stays focused to his directing.

  4. I was doing research on handicrafts and saw “paper sloyd” mentioned in one of the Parent’s Review issues ( And then found this post! So, where do you think would be a good start for me to begin “sloyding?” And where to find projects? THANK YOU!

    1. Hi Nermari! I love AO’s resources and great question-we started with “Paper Sloyd: A Handbook for Primary Grades”. I’ve edited this post so you can find the link easier. Click on the image for paper sloyd or find the added link in the second paragraph below it. Enjoy!

  5. Janine Dunn Wood

    We have just begun using sloyd with our CM homeschooling. I am reading the supplies I need and I see gummed parquetry and gummed stars. I can not find any resources as to what these are!
    Were you able to find out? I’m wondering if double sided tape would be today’s version.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Janine-I think you are correct that double sided tape would be today’s version. Also, I think “mounting putty” would give you the double side sticky factor along with a stable base for the pinwheel. Have fun!

  6. Susan

    I, too, was perplexed by “gummed parquetry.” I finally figured it out by reading the introductory comments in Paper Sloyd for Primary Grades. “Gummed parquetry” refers to the old-fashioned stickers that had adhesive on the back that one must lick to make them stick. Parquetry refers to geometric shapes that are fit together to make wooden parquet floors or mosaics. Paper Sloyd for Primary Grades says to use circles and squares one inch in diameter (as well as stars.) In our modern times, we can simply use circle, square, and star stickers to take the place of “gummed parquetry.”