LJWorld.com weblogs Linda's Backroad Musings

Back to the Basics-Ear Plugs and Safety Goggles


The current financial crisis seems over powering even in the midst of cheery Holiday celebrations. One way to cope is to live a more basic lifestyle. Basic lifestyle may vary by individual. With upcoming holiday vacation time, personally completing all aspects of a home improvement project is one type of basic living, which results in a great deal of financial savings. Many of us find ourselves dusting off tools half forgotten in the corner of the garage. Often the old saw brings back memories of the shop teacher yelling above the din. I wonder if young people, amazingly proficient in electronics, have any knowledge of these basic woodworking tools, the skills needed to run them and do something with what they turn out. Or loud shop teachers for that matter. Perhaps this is why there appears to be a change in future state funding for basic education.Recently, the ,Abilene Reflector Chronicle Lifestyles Editor, Kathy Hageman reported, the Solomon USD 393 Board of Education approved moving the wood shop equipment from the Ag shop back into the original Wood’s building that was converted to a tech lab.Mitchell Tigtmeier, Solomon vocational-agriculture teacher said, “What we have now is state funding has shifted back to the basics—to woods and the agriculture classes, Ag education, animal sciences, metals, woods, drafting, project construction and cabinetmaking.”While many school districts have maintained a vocational technical curriculum for students thinking of a career craft, I wonder if other middle or junior high wood and drafting shops were turned into computer tech classrooms. It is this early teenage time when young people are open to new opportunities especially hands on skills in woodworking and drafting. Learning to draw up plans, identify woods, handle power tools and even something as simple as the proper use of a coping saw is best taught in a highly structured setting to both girls and boys at an early level. How many have a junior high woodworking project in their home? It seems Kansas and the Solomon school district are moving in the right direction. It is time to get back to the basics. Most importantly, as Abilene's Hageman reports, "Board member Mark Wallace said, I feel the skills being taught are ones of interest to students.”


Ronda Miller 9 years, 6 months ago

Timely post, Linda. My family decided to stay put this holiday season, bye, bye Florida, so we could not only save money but get some much needed and neglected work around the house completed. I unfortunately was one of the gals who did not take any of the classes you mention when I was in highschool.....I sure wish I would have. My daughter seems to have inherited skills from someone though as she is the one in the family who can put anything together - with or without directions. Regardless, it never hurts to be "taught" or have the opportunity to learn these skills...And it certainly can save a large amount of money. We enjoy watching a lot of the home improvement shows together as they show step by step how to complete a project....making it look quite easy as they go. Nothing quite like the feeling of having completed a job in your own backyard....great feeling of pride in home and heart. :

Linda Hanney 9 years, 6 months ago

Ronda, your statement, "have the opportunity to learn these skills" is right on. It is really the basics such as safety and tool use that we need to make sure each young person has a chance to learn.

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