Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Practical Education

So many things that kids learn in school are important and academic, but fail to prepare them for real life.  Do you know anyone comfortable talking about and performing higher mathematics, but can't maintain a savings account or pay bills on time? What about people who know ancient history backward and forward, but can't tell you how much is taken from their check in taxes each pay period?  One who can write a great thesis, but not check the oil in their car?  

Practical education is even more important than academic facts, in my opinion.  Any of these links will give you a starting point for a series of lessons about real life issues everyone should master! There are more skills, of course, that could be listed. What would you add?

Know God.  Life means nothing without Him. 

Get a REAL Education  (so good I printed off and read it before each school year)

The Joy of Practical Learning

Basic Life Skills Teens Need 

Cooking From Scratch

Basic Car Maintenance

Financial Education for a Lifetime of Money Management Skills 

Learn to Repair Anything in Your House

Small Engine Repair 

Very Basic Home Maintenance Tips 

Basic Survival Skills 

Basic First Aid  (please take a course from a professional)

How to Survive a Car Accident

Baby Care Basics 

Elder Care Checklist 

Disaster Preparedness (search for CERT Training in your area)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Reverse Engineering

My youngest son is all about engineering right now.  He wants to know how things work and why they work that way. He wants to be an inventor. He is a master of Lego and Minecraft.  To help him develop this interest, we are doing a course in "Reverse Engineering".  Each week I stop by a local thrift stores.  While there, I scour the shelves for mechanical items. 

He has a nice toolbox with a selection of tools already, so he just need the things to take apart.  The first thing he "Reverse Engineered" was an electric can opener. He took it apart as far as he could, then reassembled it and it did still work!  Then he took it apart and kept pieces like the cord and motor, screws and a few other parts.  He plans to eventually build something from all the useful parts he scavenges from these sacrificial projects. 

Lego is perfect for future engineers and their siblings. We spend was much time as possible with them. 

Reverse Engineering is even better when friends are visiting!  Here they are dissecting a food scale. Lots of learning happening and LOTS of fun!  I have a toaster ready for the next session and have my eye out for a rotary phone. I am also watching for a weed whacker or a lawn mower for small engine repair practice.  Next year, I hope he's ready for appliances! 

Practical skills are SO important in todays world! Seeing how things work is an integral part of practicality.  

Other resources:

The Way Things Work Now (on our wishlist)
How It's Made (I can't recommend this series highly enough!)
Friedhoffer books (this one and others!) 
Engineering for Kids (I haven't used this yet, but we will watch this series this school year.)
Lego Technic (We watch for clearance sales and have even found some in garage sales!)
Lego Mindstorms (if I was rich! LOL)