What to learn with my time?

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With out independent projects, we have the opportunity to learn something outside of the class with our free time. I took a while to think about what I wanted to learn in the past, and if that was something I could do now. I have my grandpa’s acoustic, electric, and steel guitars, and I have wanted to learn how to play them, but I have unfortunately left them in South Dakota. I tried learning how to crochet last year, but another student was using that as their independent learning project! So, for a while, I was at a loss.

I knew I wanted to have something physical as an end result, something that would be ultimately satisfying to have when everything is finished. For example, when I did my quilt several years ago, having the final, physical product was incredible to have and to look at. Not only that, but it was useful (it’s on my bed right now). Woodwork and carpentry is a skill I would like to learn in the future, as several in my family have learned and used what they have learned, but it was ultimately an unrealistic goal for the time being.

Then, I remembered that I had been seeing posts of cross stitch recently, and loving the way it looked. The work that some people had done looked amazing, but I felt it was something I couldn’t learn, or something that would be far too difficult for me. Luckily, I steeled myself and went down to the store, got all of my supplies, and started learning immediately. So far, I have really enjoyed the craft, and it isn’t at all as hard as I had imagined in my mind. It’s a lot of work, and can be frustrating at times, but thankfully, it’s something I can do when watching netflix or listening to music.

This was something I could kind of do when I was making my quilt, but it’s very hard to sit on the couch with a giant table, sewing machine, and chunks of fabric everywhere. Because of this, cross stitching has so far gone by very quickly for me, and I’m already getting to see the fruits of my labor. I’m hoping to finish the entire piece before the end of the semester, and perhaps even try counted cross stitch, instead of stamped patterns, like this one. So, wish me luck!

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How the final product is supposed to look.

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‘Hackschooling’ is the education every kid deserves

In the above video, Logan LaPlante argues for the idea of ‘hackschooling’ vs a traditional education. So, just what is hackschooling? LaPlante explains the method as a hands on learning style, that allows the student to take charge of their education and learn in a way that suits them best. By hackschooling, LaPlante explains that he is able to get rid of writing about things that don’t matter to him and doing away with bland writing assignments in favor of writing about something that interests him. This way, he is excited about the assignment and learns to appreciate and understand writing, rather than being immediately bored with the work, and hating writing as a result.

By abandoning traditional education, LaPlante remarks that he has had a far more rich and rewarding education. He has learned to build a Newton’s cradle to understand physics, learned survival techniques as a part of his physical education, and has built his own curriculum to study the same things every kid learns, but better. By using this creative and free form learning, LaPlante learns in a way that is best for him and his learning style. This way, he stays interested and involved in his education, and learns a myriad of additional skills as well.

I can see the benefits of this type of education almost immediately, and it is certainly the education I wish I could have had growing up. It is no secret that our education system is outdated, and does not fit many kids’ learning styles. Instead of being excited and interested in their education, it makes things scary, boring, and confusing. If we had all had the opportunity to write about things we loved, there would be a lot more creative individuals with a love for writing. If we all learned to spend time in the outdoors and learn survival techniques, far more of us would be innovative, resourceful, and interested in their physical health, rather than remembering times we ran 20 laps around the school gym.

Being able to try new things, try everything, not only shapes our education to our needs and makes us well rounded, but it also gives us the confidence to try new things, to make mistakes, and to be involved in our own education. It is my opinion that this is the education that every child deserves. Not sitting in a desk for 7 hours, watching powerpoints, filling out assignment papers, and taking test after test. We unrealistically expect every child to be able to fit the mold perfectly, and for the system to work perfectly for every student. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

It kills creativity, it kills interest, and even intelligent kids that are excited and interested in their education slowly become worn down and sick of the education system. By doing this, we become drones, just trying to shuffle along from class to class, to fill out all our assignments and memorize all of the necessary information to get the right grade on our tests. This in no way prepares us for the real world, or for our future jobs. In fact, we lose many of the most valuable skills that our employers are looking for by the time we pass through the traditional education system.

Hackschooling is certainly a method of teaching and learning that has the potential to drastically change our education system, as well as change people for the future. We are already aware that our educational system is worn down and out of date, so why not transition to something more modern and realistic like hackschooling?