Monday, March 09, 2020


As I've been working with my editors to finalize my Guide to Woodworking with Kids, I've been going through years of photo files and finding interesting things. The model of the Parthenon as shown was part of an exercise in geometry and in making a blocks set representing ancient Greek architecture. Looking back, it's amazing to see how many interesting things we've done.

In addition to a collection of photographs and projects I have an interesting collection of old books on the manual arts.

T. W. Berry in his book The Pedagogy of Educational Handicraft, 1912 wrote about the general school effect of manual work.
"Children who are dull at literary work are very generally bright when engaged in manual work, and this interest in what is done, stimulated by its attendant success, is reflected in all the School work. The accuracy and neatness of execution and artistic embellishment demanded in Handicraft is imitated in School work generally, so that the moral effect is very great. The variety of work, both as regards materials and nature of models, tends to make a pupil adaptable to varying circumstances, but always aiming at a high artistic finish to a useful article.

"Not only is the direct influence of manual instruction great but the indirect is even greater. The correlation of studies widens the interest, inculcates the spirit of co-operation and interrelationship, and enables the pupil to express his thoughts not in words only but in models, which necessarily demand precision, thus developing a most useful habit."
Woodworking is not alone in reaching the depths of the child. In fact, when schools make a sincere attempt to connect education with real life by doing real things, children become more deeply engaged. When they've become more deeply engaged, they learn at a faster pace and to more profound effect. Is this rocket science, or do you get it, also? Can you draw conclusions from your own life as a learner? I suspect so. Please tell us about it.

T.W. Berry's book mentioned above is one that I got while my daughter was at Columbia University in New York City. I was contacted at a librarian at Teachers College, who when tasked with throwing out old books on the manual arts, could not stand for them going to waste. She would take them to my daughter's campus mail box so they would be there for me to take home when I would visit New York. As a result, I have a rich collection. It feels as though I was entrusted through special circumstances to play a role in all this.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning lifewise.

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