Tuesday, April 17, 2012


J. H. G. Heusinger (1766-1837), was a university professor of philosophy and education whose writings had influence on Freidrich Frobel's invention of Kindergarten. It is said that Heusinger's books in Froebel's library were all marked with many notes in the margins. Heusinger wrote:
"From the sixth year on, the children are taught from books. Is it at all surprising that they think it is from books alone that knowledge is to be obtained? A bright child has therefore no other desire than to get books and to study out of them. The acquisition of knowledge by his own observation, by his own efforts, is something that our present education does not teach him. This is left for after school hours, because it is still believed that the teaching of facts should be the main feature of all educational systems."
Heusinger believed that schoolwork and instruction should be based on experiences gathered by those closely observing the growth of children, and that manual work should be the primary means of education, as "it satisfies the child's natural desire for creating and imitating." These days, children are being taught that the internet is the source of all knowledge, though many of us know that personal observation of physical, cultural, intellectual and emotional realities should not be ignored. We may in time end up with schools that resemble big box stores and through which you will check yourself out at a register, no real teacher required. But we would be better served with lives and educations based on real observations. Put a tool in a child's hands and he or she will learn many real things, even about self and more.

On another note, my Building Small Cabinets DVD is now in the warehouse at Taunton and I'll be receiving my first copy in days. It should be available through Amazon.com and other sources including direct from Taunton Press. The cover is shown above.

On still another subject, Tim Killen has offered a sketchup demonstration on designing a project for young woodworkers on the Fine Woodworking Website. He makes sketchup look very easy, and it might be a project for you to do with your kids.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Love this new, yet old idea of learning. I am left-handed and always felt my thinking was different from that of others, years later, I am convinced it is. I am grateful for this and feel blessed to be so unique. I am now a successful adult with an online business make ORGANIC skin care products. It was no coincidence that I loved reading, learning, and experimenting with creativity,