Running a homeschool woodworking class is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance - even if neither parent knows anything about working with wood or what to buy. It does make it easier to teach the class if at least one parent has experience working with wood, but concepts can be learned together during the process. Sometimes that is even part of the fun. Hands-on practice often produces the best of lessons, as does trial and error. There will be plenty of both in woodworking.
Part of homeschooling is the opportunity for one-on-one teacher/child interaction, as well as learning together as parents and child. Another benefit to homeschooling is the unique opportunity to incorporate any class that the child is interested in. There is virtually no limit on choices, as there is no worry about whether it is offered at your child's school. You are your child's school, in more ways than one.
If you need wood shop lesson ideas, visit your local home improvement store, where free do-it-yourself guides can often be found. Another way to find ideas is by visiting wood shop and woodworking websites. There are plenty of them all over the web. Just doing a simple search for "wood shop projects" will yield a great variety. To get you started, here is a list of basic materials, as well as instructions for 10 simple, fun, and useful wood shop projects.
Homeschooling Wood Shop Materials
Not every project will require the same materials and you may sometimes find yourself purchasing additional materials for certain projects. However, the below tools and materials are commonly used in wood shop or woodworking classes.
c-clamp, workbench, wood saw, staple gun, hammer, screwdriver, 14v power drill with bits, screws (assorted sizes), nails (assorted sizes), wood glue, safety glasses, safety gloves, sander, sandpaper, wood-burning kit, Dremel kit, wood (various types - as needed per project), scrap wood (keep after projects for practicing with), scissors, hobby knife, table saw, measuring tape, contractor's pencil
Basic Homeschooling Wood Shop Safety
Safety in a wood shop first starts with knowing your tools and materials and how to use them properly. Also be sure to wear safety glasses and a dust mask during every project, even small steps. You never know what is going to happen. Watch fingers around electrical devices and cutting devices. Adults should operate any heavy machinery or power equipment. Also check age guidelines. Adhere strictly to manufacturer's safety guidelines on any electrical or battery-operated tools and devices. Ear muffs are also a good idea. They will keep out saw dust, as well as cancel out some of the noise from the machinery.
A safety class should be held before giving any other classes. It is also important to test on this, as well as follow up on it periodically and hold a safety session before each project on safety related to that specific project and the tools required for building it. Always be sure all equipment is turned off, unplugged, and out of reach of children. Keep cords rolled up and out of the way. Keep chemicals, like turpentine out of reach of children. Many materials and tools used in wood shop can be dangerous, so be sure they are not easily accessible to a child. Be sure all sawdust is swept up and anything else used is cleaned up right away. This is not intended to be a complete safety guide. Always follow safety guidelines of each tool or material you are using and use your best judgment.
A bulletin board is a very simple woodworking project that beginners can try their hand at. With the help of a free lesson plan from UniqueProjects.com, homeschooling dads can teach their kids how to make a bulletin board. A bulletin board is a great wood shop project, as the completed product can be used for class. To make the simple version, materials required will be fabric, plywood, paint, thumb tacks, ribbon, brads, hobby knife, wood saw, staple gun, measuring tape, and scissors. For measurements and complete instructions, view the free guide.
Jewelry Trinket Box
A jewelry trinket box makes a great Mother's Day or Christmas gift for that special woman. With the help of a free lesson plan from U-Bild.com, a homeschooling dad can help his son create this wood shop project. Materials include maple, maple molding, butt hinges, small box lock, wood glue, and finish. Measurements are given in the free downloadable lesson guide.
Have a little one who's potty training? Maybe someone's just a tad too short to reach the kitchen sink or cabinets. CanadianHomeWorkshop.com has free instructions for building a simple step stool that a 2 year old actually helped construct. Materials for this project are a sander, a handsaw, a coping saw, screws, a drill, linseed oil, turpentine, tung oil, and pine. Measurements and specifications can be found in the instructions.
Toys starting to overfill their current location? How about making them a new toybox? Courtesy of azwoodman.com, homeschooling dads can get a free project plan for a wooden toy box. Tools and materials required are a handsaw or circular saw, combination square, screwdriver, drill, finish sander, bit set, jigsaw, 3 pieces of lumber, plywood, strap hinges with screws, corner braces with screws, sandpaper, wood glue, finish, four plate casters, thick and soft rope, and furniture gliders. See the free project guide for measurements and specifications.
Tired of accidentally smashing your bread inside the pantry? A bread box can fix that problem. Am-wood.com has an easy and free step-by-step project plan for a simple bread box. Tools and materials required are a drill, sander, router, jigsaw, pine lumber, plywood, dowel, and a knob handle. Measurements and specifications can be found in the instructions.
If mom's lost her keys around the house one too many times, you may consider making her a key holder. At LeesWoodProjects.com, homeschooling dads can find a simple keyholder project to use for wood shop class with their kids. If something more complex is desired, Lee's Wood Projects also has another design that doubles as a mail and key holder. For the simple key holder, materials required are a small piece of walnut wood, metal key hooks, poster board, scissors, hobby knife, drill, sand paper, and file. See the free project plan for measurements and specifications.
Books starting to stack up everywhere but a shelf? This is a handy project that can help clear some clutter around the house when it's finished. Homeschooling dads can download a free wood shop project plan for a simple, traditional book shelf in PDF form from MinWax.com. Clicking on the link will open the PDF file. Materials and tools required for this project include a small crosscut saw, pine lumber, plywood, screws, brads, shelf pins, finish, a block plane, pipe or bar clamps, combination square, carpenter's square, screwdriver, nails, pencil, wood glue, hobby knife, sander, saber saw, router, table saw, and a drill or power screwdriver. Measurements and specifications can be found in the free PDF.
Paper Towel Holder
Paper towel racks are useful in many households. Unfortunately, it is a hard to find one that isn't plastic these days. So, why not make one? It's simple and fun. FreepaperTowelHolderPlans.com has a great free wood project homeschooling dads can enjoy using with their kids. It can be viewed on the website or downloaded in PDF form. The choice is yours. Materials required are lumber, dowel rod or towel bar, screws, finishing nails, leaf hinges with screws, router, sander, double-stick tape, bandsaw, lathe, and drill. See the free guide for measurements and specifications.
Tired of magazines being scattered across floors, furniture, and countertops? A magazine rack is a great , helpful project. Instructables.com has a fancy, but simple free project plan for a magazine rack. Homeschooling dads can appreciate presenting this one to the kids because it is not your ordinary magazine rack. Materials required are plywood, white paper, square, meter, pencil, modeling saw, hammer, nails, wood glue, elastic bands, heavy objects to use as press, and 4 pivoting wheels. Measurements and specifications can be found in the free lesson.