Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why Your Teenager Can't Use A Hammer

As I was running through my blogs, I came across this article about how many of today's teenagers have never learned how to use simple tools. 

Why Your Teenager Can't Use A Hammer

Why your teebnager can't swing a hammer

As humans developed, "The conversation between hand and brain grew more complex, too. We advanced to the unique ability to visualize an idea, then create that vision with our hands."

The article discusses how some engineering students at MIT can't estimate a problem without their computer and the college had to build remedial courses into their curriculum.  It discusses how even architectural courses have had to add back to basics courses.

Our local Jr/Sr High School, due to a shrinking budget, cut shop class last year.  How many of our children will never learn the skills necessary to build a simple birdhouse?  What does this do to the thinking and reasoning process?  What happens to the paths between hand, eye, and brain?  And how can I combat this loss of skills in my own children?  

Easy Carpentry Projects For Children by Jerome E. Leavitt can get us started.  The book lists all the tools required to complete the projects.  Every project is made from entirely from hand tools.  Will it help a child learn patience and lose the need for immediate gratification when they must cut out the base of a simple sailboat with a coping saw?  What about the intense pride of watching your own project float?  The projects in this book are simple and do-able.  It includes 15 easy-to follow-plans for projects like a bird feeder, clock shelf, candlesticks, a cart, and more.

Wouldn't a handmade candlestick holder, bird feeder, flower box, book rack, or shoeshine kit make great Christmas presents!?!   

Lefty loosey, righty tighty?


  1. I confess the one of the surprise blessings of homeschooling was that I educated my children far differently than the schools did. I am pleased to discover that buying a 1965 F100 Ford Truck for them to rebuild was something we could add to the curriculum, as well as building 2 chicken coops.

    We did not gloss over in need of tests, but hands on for everything. We were a military family at first, so as we were reassigned we would go to that place to the capital and learn about politics etc.

    And the phrase I hear my sons say every time they are on the farm helping with a project is "measure twice, cut once!" Yes homemade and skills of old are important!!


  2. Unfortunately, shop class and other hand-on skills like cooking, sewing, etc. are not the only things missing from our schools. As you showed us with the book, it is our responsibility as parents to make sure our children are getting the proper schooling even if they are being educated in a block & mortar building. I can't WAIT to get my daughter out in the shop with her daddy to pound on nails and cut boards into birdhouses! I fondly remember building a birdhouse with my dad, although I don't think the birdhouse was inhabitable for even wildlife, but I still have the memories and skills. Hopefully the skills have been improved on though! :)

  3. It is sad that today's children are more at home with a computer and video games than "real" life and practical skills.

  4. We have failed at understanding the value in those skills that most feel now are beneath them. Yet I have parents who want to visit my farm to show their kids what "Others" do that basically service them. All I can say is my sons know how to hunt, grow and gather their food, live in the outdoors and fix things. They will survive and thrive - what will the rest do??

  5. I agree with all of you. I find it difficult to understand the misconception that hands on work is a "not desirable" skill base.