Tuesday, November 07, 2017

scarf joints...

Yesterday after school, I cut scarf joints in the plywood for the sides for the Bevins Skiffs. I will scarf the ply for the bottoms tomorrow and begin gluing the scarf joints together into seamless plywood parts. The jig I designed for routing the joints worked flawlessly. In the photo, you will have to look very closely to see the joint, invisible but for the fuzzy edge that will disappear with just a bit of sanding.

At the Clear Spring School I have the most wonderful class of first, second and third grade students, and while it might seem daunting to some to have so many children working with tools, it is a thing of pure delight, seeing what they can make and how much joy they find in it.  They love wood shop and tell me so.

There is something very special about learning through doing real things. And it is disturbing to me that most public education schemes fail to recognize this simple fact. When we (children and adults) are engaged in the creation of useful beauty, whether in music, science or the arts, we are operating at a higher standard and apply greater attention. We seek to excel.

David Henry Feldman recognized this in his award winning essay, "the Child as Craftsman." In it Feldman recognized that children have a natural inclination to strive to excel at things, and we must provide the opportunity and encouragement for them to do so. That's a far cry from the way public schools are managed now. Children under rigid external control are steeped in artificiality that robs them of their natural love of learning.

I will repeat the theory of Educational Sloyd until all my readers know it by heart. Start with the interests of the child. Move from the known to the unknown, from the easy to more difficult, from the simple to the complex and from the concrete to the abstract. These simple principles were learned by watching children learn and remain unchanged through the ages. One further thing should be mentioned. Children (and adults) learn best by doing real things.

On another very sad subject, speaker of the house, congressman Paul Ryan assures us that prayer actually helps in the aftermath of mass shootings to prevent the next. Let us pray now that congress acts on OUR prayers and removes such foolishness from office.When faced with a crisis, a humane individual would use every tool at his disposal, including the law and federal government to prevent such senseless killings of innocent children and adults from ever happening again. To languish in prayerful silence when you have the power to serve God by actually acting in the defense of children is not enough. The government is a collective tool which must be activated in the defense of our nation.

Click on the photo above to see a larger view.

Make, fix, and create.

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