Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Skilled Labor

After I posted the link to Mike Rowe's Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation May 11, 2011 @ The Discovery Channel as well as two of my favorite quotes from The Core, I received this reply in the comments and felt the need to share a little more about why I value classical education for my boys.

Thank you for sharing this article. I am contemplating making the switch to classical education and--I've got to tell you--after reading WTM and others, I have struggled most with the question of whether or not classical ed elevates intellectual pursuits over all else. I firmly believe that our society has promoted higher ed to the point where it's losing it's value (but I still believe in it) and, like the article mentioned, vocational training is frowned upon (it's a necessity!). Thanks for reminding me that classical ed is not just about academia.

Boy 4

I think the key here is that skilled, educated labor is hard to come by. We, as a society, have put thinking and labor in two separate categories. That is what is so damaging.

I want my boys to have a strong grasp of language and communication skills, an insatiable curiosity, a love of reading, strong understanding in math and science, and a view of history from beginning to the present NO MATTER WHAT profession they choose.

I want them to be able to think for themselves, participate in their community and government, be able to handle their own finances (possibly their own business finances even if they become plumbers), enjoy well-rounded conversations and friendships, have communication skills to be exercised in any profession they find themselves in, be prepared for learning anything--including a trade, be able to handle unexpected changes that life might throw at them, and in short--think life is interesting!

Each of my boys (and daughter, of course) will choose their own life, but I certainly will do whatever it takes to make sure they have the brain skills to meet it head-on.

With 8-10 years of solid classical education under their belts, I would have no problem with my boys spending a few years even before high school graduation learning a trade or pursuing a focused interest if they are so inclined. The problem with our modern educational system is that students often *are not* getting that strong foundation in the early years, so by high school it ends up having to be a choice. Either they learn a trade, or they take academic classes. And we've delegated physical work and trades to the 'uneducated.' We have also raised a whole generation of kids who haven't had to work, and don't know how. They don't have to contribute to the family farm or to the family finances, often not even to household chores. Many kids don’t even know how to get dirty.

Okay, rant over. I'm going to send my boys out to dig ditches after Latin today. {grin}


Linds said...

I totally agree with the concept. Still haven't figured out what/how it will look for our family when we get to the age to decide what education route we are taking (although we are already talking about it, even though he's only two).

Precision Quality Laser said...

Well said!

Dawn C said...

That was perfectly said in my mind. I am really enjoying your posts. We have our girls in a classical christian school but i will be homeschooling one of them second grade with C/C next year. I really enjoy your routine and curriculum info. Thank you!

carole said...

My husband listened to the book Shop Class as Soul Craft on CD. It was a real encouragement to him - an affirmation that what he loves to do (carpentry) is a complex, challenging, mind engaging career. I think you'd enjoy the book.

Being married to someone whose profession is in the trades is eye opening. Our culture's belief that a desk job is "better" than working in the trades is truly a tragedy - for so many reasons!

I think the benefit of an education that instills a love for learning is that it simultaneously teaches our children to be confident people. That confidence, and the sense that they can learn whatever they set their minds to, is what will serve them well in the future, no matter what profession they choose.


Windhover Farm said...

Thank you for 'digging' into this topic. I think it is one of the biggest challenges if not crisis' facing our society. We run a farm and it is absolutely disheartening to hire young adults (19-24)who have zero work ethic or skills. I've heard/read of other employers who talk about the young people and entitlement issues. I graduated from highschool 23 years ago and I didn't have a clue that trades were even an option. A university degree or destitution is all I knew. But I figured it out! We now farm and are dirty ALL the time. I am relieved my kids have "blue-collar" skills and a work ethic and a CM based education.

Anonymous said...

I think this is SO important. My husband is one of the smartest men I know, a carpenter and so tired of the stereotypes that come with a labor job. He did say that he believes that most people don't really choose labor but it becomes the fallback when they don't like school. I hope my children are mindful of any job they choose, and are willing to work hard physically, mentally, spiritually.

Anonymous said...

hi heidi.....perfectly said and i totally agree!!!
i love having the freedom to homeschool my boys. reading your insights and talking with other homeschool moms always makes me feel good about the journey we're taking.
thanks so much for sharing.

Renee said...

Well said! Love these words. Thank you for sharing.

Heather said...

I'm glad you addressed this comment. I read it and wondered if you would reply. We've watched Mike Rowe's Dirtiest Jobs when we've been home visiting my parents who have that channel and it's amazing to see what people do for work.
I'm here all the time, Heidi, looking for ideas and encouragement and I find it every time. :)
P.S. Doesn't Lola need another photo shoot soon? :)

Sarah said...

Thank you! I couldn't agree more & never could have put in to words as well as you did. This current attitude to education I feel is a big/huge part of the reason that soon there my not be a middle class in our society. Simply the have's & the have not's as they say.