Friday, January 29, 2010

A Kid's Education - Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands

I've said it before and I'll say it again... it is more and more apparent that our schools are failing to reach boys in the classroom. According to this article in the Washington Times nearly 58 percent of bachelor's degrees and 62 percent of associate's degrees go to women. That is a sad statistic for the future well-being of the country and the eventual consequences will be paid by all if a correction isn't put on fast forward soon.

Could it only be coincidental that at the same time of these alarming statistics our schools nationwide are also cutting hands-on and adventure/experiential education programs from the curriculum? If your child is attending a public school with a strong hands-on program then it's probably the exception these days. Strong education programs are most likely found in private schools because these institutions very survival depends on "real" results. Growing up I also never experienced a woodshop program during any grade through twelve but fortunately I had a dad who not only had a strong interest in woodwork but he also had his own sawmill, so I wasn't left behind by missing these valuable childhood experiences. Most kids today aren't as fortunate as I was.

For the time being parents might need to take matters into their own hands when it comes to a full-circle eduction program for their children. You don't have to be a professional woodworker, woodcarver, or a marathon runner to be effective but it is important to have an intense interest in learning together with your children. There are tons of how-to books and magazine articles available on woodworking and woodcarving projects that you could achieve together. With even basic search skills you can find enough wood oriented projects  for a lifetime by browsing  the internet.

Adventure/experiential education is another critical area that every boy should have exposure before and during their teen years so if you're not a fanatical long distance hiker, paddler, or bicycler like me, then may I suggest the Scouts. The Boy Scouts offer one of the best youth programs in the world providing parents and their sons an opportunity to learn together valuable hands-on/adventure skills from woodcarving to camping. The Boy Scouts will be celebrating 100 years of Scouting in America during 2010 so I can't think of a better time than now to get involved.

If you have children or if you just care about the well-being of the next generation then there is plenty you can do to make a difference. If you are waiting for your local school to provide a well-balanced educational experience for your child then you might be waiting a long time. If you believe that politicians and government are the answer then you are most likely being led by the blind. If you think that putting your child's future in the hands of anyone else other than yourself then your child could get left behind.


  1. Dave, It sure did not help when the schools eliminated "shop" for the boys and Home Ec for the girls. Schools now have replaced Industrial Arts with Technology Education. One only has to look at our manufacturing sector and see what happens when a workforce cannot compete.Unions cannot be blamed for everything.

  2. I too believe that ripping Shop and Home Ec out of the schools does a great disservice to our children. These are programs where more absract skills like Math and English can meet the practical hands on world with the result of strengthening both.

    However, unlike TomH I do not believe that this is why out workforce cannot compete. That has more to do with the cost of living/labor. Pretty hard to complete with folks who can live on $10 - $100 a day in wages. Whether this is to be blamed on Unions or not is beside the point.

    In any case, your sentiments are dead on Dave.