January 07, 2008

Dangerous things

The last TedTalk to make a big impression on the home education blogs and groups was Ken Robinson's, on how schools educate children to become good workers rather than creative thinkers.

The next TedTalk to start making the rounds and already making a splash is Five Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do by Gever Tulley of The Tinkering School, a summer program to help kids ages seven to 17 learn to build things. The talk comes from Tulley's book in progress, Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do; click the book link and you'll find some of Tulley's labels which should be familiar to Make fans; we here at Farm School are always keen on subversive labels and stickers. As I once quoted Charles Darwin,
"Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life as one can, in any likelihood, pursue."
Gever Tulley and Matt Hern, author of Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn't Always Better (and whom I wrote about here) certainly seem to be on the same wavelength.

Oh -- those five (really six) things? Not including playing with power tools at age two, which Tulley mentions at the beginning of his talk (and one of these days I'll have to write about my daycare program for Laura when I was pregnant with Daniel; it consisted of sending Laura to work with Tom, her father the builder, six days a week to build a house for a client. Power tools, scaffolding, ladders, and openings to the basement without stairs, were a given. Needless to say, they're all whizzes with power tools by now.)

1. Play with fire

2. Own a pocket knife (better yet, two or three or four, one for each pair of pants)

3. Throw a spear (or a paper airplane, or a baseball)

4. Deconstruct appliances (Tulley suggests a dishwasher, but radios and toasters are great good fun, and if you don't have a dead one of your own, you can find them cheap and ailing at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store)

5. Break the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (which we apparently do routinely)

6. Drive a car (or truck or tractor if you have no cars about)

Some helpful related links

Interview with Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept

Kitbashing in the homeschool with Willa at Every Waking Hour and Mama Squirrel at Dewey's Tree House

GeekDad, where I first read last week about Gever Tulley's TedTalk

Boing Boing

Make Magazine and Maker Faire (where the motto is "Build, Craft, Hack, Play, Make")

Make Blog

Craft Magazine

Craft Blog

And, of course, the usual Farm School ramblings about childhood fun, danger, acceptable risk, responsibility, and independence.

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