I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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Learning life skills?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 374
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I have been a bit skeptical about government-funded education for a while, even before I had my own child. I feel like the education system is mainly a training ground to teach our kids how to fit into our consumer culture; in fact, I feel like the education I was given shaped me into the ideal consumer: not aware of how to manage money, urged to spend on credit, expected to buy things to make me fulfilled and happy. I didn't learn many (if any) skills for getting well paying job. Here in my mid-30s, I'm still in a menial job earning peanuts, and the only useful life skills I learned at school were the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. I didn't even learn good people skills, like how to make friends! Either I completely failed at school (while on the honor roll throughout my school career, and with a BSc in IT and math), or they failed me.

Erm, that sort of turned into a rant. Anyway.

I have a five year old son, now in full time school. He's learning reading, writing, and arithmetic, and he loves school. I don't blame him; I enjoyed school at that age (and probably until about age 12 or 13). I certainly want him to learn the three Rs, and learn how to interact with people other than just his dad and me. But I also want him to learn actual useful life skills. Some of these skills I have learned or taught myself as an adult, such as cooking, gardening, sewing, frugality. There are other things I don't know much of, but wish I did. Skills like building, carpentry, plumbing. Auto mechanics. Money management. Basic survival skills. Critical thinking. Housekeeping. How to climb the career ladder, even.

I want to know how he (and I) can learn useful life skills when they seem to have been largely forgotten by society, or a closely guarded secret available to the elite. I know that throughout our history, up until recently, humans learned everything they needed to know in order to succeed in life from their family and tribe/village. We seem to have lost most of that. I was taught how to participate in society, but not how to succeed in it--I still don't know how to succeed in it! And I don't know how to live outside of society either, though I'm trying to learn, painful and slow as it is.

Are there ways to learn and teach these--and other--life skills simply and naturally, as our ancestors might have done, instead of reinventing the wheel? I'd welcome any thoughts or ideas.
 
pollinator
Posts: 323
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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"I feel like the education system is mainly a training ground to teach our kids how to fit into our consumer culture; in fact, I feel like the education I was given shaped me into the ideal consumer..."

Take a peek into the origin and purpose of age segregated education. Truth comes from Authority is the basic idea. The trouble is, 'Authority' is not God, nor the parent. "Authority" is the state. Do you believe your set of morals are correct? Your child will be taught a different set if you farm out his education.
http://teachersjourneytolife.com/2014/05/20/john-taylor-gatto-blowing-the-whistle-on-the-education-system-85/

"But I also want him to learn actual useful life skills. Some of these skills I have learned or taught myself as an adult, such as cooking, gardening, sewing, frugality."

Did you learn these skills from a series of tests out of a textbook? Or did you learn them from doing it and making errors, learning from your mistakes? You have learned them, and you can continue learning. Now having these skills, you can teach them as you go about your tasks. How did your son learn to walk? Did you require a textbook to teach him? Mind, textbooks have their place. Like math. ugh. But you clearly like math, and surely can make it more fun than that textbook does.

"There are other things I don't know much of, but wish I did."

I have heard a teacher and a professor state that they were just a lesson or two ahead of their students in a new curriculum. We don't have to be experts at what we teach our kids, and learning together is fun! I think one very important lesson is that parents don't know everything. This does not make us incompetent. It teaches our kids not to fear the unknown. They have watched us solve mysteries. Now they know they too can learn about the unknown and how to tame it, or conquer it, or circumvent it. Whether that unknown is a fan belt, or aphid infestation, or fox. Teach him that life is a continuous learning process.

"I was taught how to participate in society, but not how to succeed in it--I still don't know how to succeed in it!"

I was in the same boat. We must decide what success truly means. I have come to the conclusion that if we can provide a roof and a full tummies we are doing ok. If we can teach kids how to think for themselves, as opposed to what to think, we have succeeded. Gobs of money surely must make life easier, but I've seen many rich shipwrecks. Our kids must decide what is success for themselves.

I find myself constantly re inventing the pre-wheel... sigh.
 
Posts: 555
Location: Mid-Michigan
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For me and my wife-and-three, I think you'd sum up the subjective feeling as, just do things the hard way.

That seems to form the most effective decision-making criterion for us.

For example, this summer, my chimney leaked and ruined the wall behind the woodstove. I put this roof on, but I've never taken a piece of the roof off and replaced it. I've never built a chimney flashing. I've only done a tiny bit of drywall work. I've never installed rockwool insulation. This was intimidating, and the easy route would have been to hire somebody. But we don't do that. We do things the hard way.

So I tackled it. It was hard and it was stressful, but now I've reset a standing-seam roof, now I've built a chimney flashing, now I've done more drywall than before, now I've installed some rockwool, and before this is all the way done, I will have built a beautiful sheetmetal heat shield behind the stove.

That's what works for me. Whenever I face something where there's an easy way and a hard way, I mostly do it the hard way. It stretches me, and I gather up skills, one little piece at a time. The kids see me and copy it. They do things the hard way, too. They're not old enough to be on roofs, but my daughter does have a decent little egg business. She saved up birthday money and bought some hens. She borrowed money from us for feed, and promptly paid it off once the hens started laying. Now she's setting aside $30/week or so (which is real decent money for age 8, if you ask me).

So, as far as a practical approach, how exactly do you DO it, learning life skills... that's how we do it. When we have a choice, we do it the hard way.

The roof:
 
Posts: 344
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Public education is not an education in life but in busy work, obedience & hierarchy. It works exceptionally well at creating a system of control, fear, & scarcity.

I'm so glad my children don't have to deal with any of that & instead can naturally develop with nature & decide their own patterning.
 
garden master
Posts: 2077
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I feel like I'm in much the same boat as Galadriel, not knowing the social skills to succeed in society (the social skills, how to climb the ladder, etc), nor the knowledge to subsist on our own land. I was thankfully taught frugality and how to work hard from my parents, and much academic knowledge from school. I still miss school--I loved it and was successful at it...but that success did not equate to success in "real life."

As for "doing things the hard way," that's hard to do when you don't have the money to mess up, nor the foundational knowledge to figure it out by yourself. Construction and handiwork does not come naturally to me, and so while I do not mind putting in the time to do it myself, without someone there to tell me when I'm doing it wrong, I know I will mess it up. My husband is the same. Our learning style is such that we need a teacher, at least to give us the foundational knowledge to build upon. We don't have the money or time to afford to mess up something like a leaking roof or a broken window, and so we have to hire someone. And then we learn nothing, and it's frustrating.

It's almost like how the rich can get richer so much easier because they have interest and connections. Those of us with foundational skills and people to learn from can gain more skills and knowledge easier than those without. I love forums like this to share and gain knowledge from, but I still hate every mistake that I make and the fact that I don't have a "teacher" to guide me along... Perhaps I just need to stop being a perfectionist, but it's hard when the survival of our finances and lifestyle depends on me figuring out how to grow food...and then nothing really grows and ducks stop laying eggs.

Edit: Goodness, I'm a downer tonight. Sorry! Perhaps I shouldn't be typing so late at night....
 
Posts: 3363
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Fear of failure is one of the biggest obstacles to success.

Yes, mistakes can be costly, so you need to learn on cheap things so you can feel free to fail. Maybe not your roof as your first construction project. Maybe build a doghouse or chicken coop to learn.

The way people learned was to watch from the time they were babies until the time they were men/women. There wasn't a TV or a classroom or little league, so they watched mom, dad, and grandparents do their work. Then, if they didn't follow in their footsteps, they would apprentice with someone else to learn more. It was total immersion.

Regaining it is hard.
 
Matt Powers
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Mike Cantrell wrote:For me and my wife-and-three, I think you'd sum up the subjective feeling as, just do things the hard way.

That seems to form the most effective decision-making criterion for us.

For example, this summer, my chimney leaked and ruined the wall behind the woodstove. I put this roof on, but I've never taken a piece of the roof off and replaced it. I've never built a chimney flashing. I've only done a tiny bit of drywall work. I've never installed rockwool insulation. This was intimidating, and the easy route would have been to hire somebody. But we don't do that. We do things the hard way.

So I tackled it. It was hard and it was stressful, but now I've reset a standing-seam roof, now I've built a chimney flashing, now I've done more drywall than before, now I've installed some rockwool, and before this is all the way done, I will have built a beautiful sheetmetal heat shield behind the stove.

That's what works for me. Whenever I face something where there's an easy way and a hard way, I mostly do it the hard way. It stretches me, and I gather up skills, one little piece at a time. The kids see me and copy it. They do things the hard way, too. They're not old enough to be on roofs, but my daughter does have a decent little egg business. She saved up birthday money and bought some hens. She borrowed money from us for feed, and promptly paid it off once the hens started laying. Now she's setting aside $30/week or so (which is real decent money for age 8, if you ask me).

So, as far as a practical approach, how exactly do you DO it, learning life skills... that's how we do it. When we have a choice, we do it the hard way.

The roof:


I quoted the whole thing because it needed to be reposted this is the truth. If we are not ready to try, we will find it very difficult to move forward & when the opportunity does come to learn from a great teacher, we will not have prepared ourselves to learn from them & we will only be able to learn from their derivatives as scaffolding to the original lessons which can sometimes turn into a game of telephone.

If you have no $, then permaculture is ideal. It's the way you get by without money! It's been the way I've been able to save & acquire things in my life & how I've built my entire business from scratch.

It is easy & safe to be told what to do, but it is not ideal for the mind or spirit of human beings - we do not reach our greatest expressions of humanity through being told what to do. We do not inspire others by following orders. We will not change the world by doing what public ed has taught or using their patterns. They've wrought the world that is failing.
 
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