Saturday, January 14, 2017

Home schooling...

I got a very nice letter from a home schooled boy, Benjamin, who showed me photos of his work on the lathe, and of him using a face mask as I suggested. He took a turn toward woodworking and because he has the support of his parents and grandparents is able to pursue his passion. In addition to turning he has also begun making his own inlay as I showed in one of my books.

While public schools obsess over test scores, what children really need is to be encouraged to follow their interests. This can be done in a simple way. First give them the tools necessary to learn. Then sustain a nurturing environment, in which children are questioned about what they have learned, observed to see that safe practices are followed, and are then encouraged to learn more. The questioning serves in three ways. It causes them to reflect. It shows your interest in their growth. And it provides assurance that they are moving in a direction fruitful to the student's growth, and meaningful to them.

So what's the point in woodworking in a world obsessed with other things?
  • It builds character. 
  • It builds intellect. 
  • It provides a concrete framework in which student learning can be witnessed and assessed both by that student and others. 
  • It connects the student in the real world, inviting an expanding range of additional interests. 
  • And more.

or this.
I saw a friend of mine yesterday morning that I’d not seen in a while. He’s about 10 years older than me but had been my “apprentice,” telling me all the while, that he dreamed of having a wood shop of his own. Finally he has what he had dreamed about, a small shop he built himself with every tool he ever wanted. He is proud of his work and of his tools and the pleasure the gets from making things and sharing them with others.

I’ve been telling my students at the Clear Spring School, that their practice of craftsmanship, the paying of attention, application of will, and care for the outcome of their work are the same skills required for being anything they want in future years, be they doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, inventors, mothers, fathers or whatever. Even politicians and religious leaders benefit from having the opportunity to work with wood and become grounded in reality by the process of creating useful and beautiful things.

Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others learn and grow likewise.

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