Tuesday, May 31, 2005


After many years of private schooling followed by four years of college and a few graduate classes after that, I found my self contemplating how I used this education. This weekend, I laughed, wondering what classmates would think about how I spent some of my time: dismantling a rabbit hutch, cleaning house, and a good deal of time cleaning horses' sheaths.

Okay, if you are not a horse person you may not want to know anymore, but it is a nasty job that someone has to do. In my family, I am that lucky person. It's not a talent you talk about in polite company, something that you brag about at a party lest someone thing that you have a psychological abnormality. Dh laughed at me when I crowed because I had found a "bean". He said I acted as if I'd found a pearl. In essence, I had, because this dirt, which forms a kidney bean sized stone on the inside of a horse's penis can cause him a great deal of discomfort, as you can imagine. Enough said.

I would say that today, I was thinking about one thing my education did give me - the sense that I could figure about anything out. That's good and bad. Good in that I can often repair appliances myself. This past year, I took apart the dryer and fixed a broken fan. (Okay, so it was broken because I left nails in my jeans pocket from working on another project.) This morning, I had to take the washer arm apart and super glue it together after an unnamed party jammed the rack into the dishwasher despite objects impeding it from closing. (Hint: if the rack won't shut, there often is a problem that isn't solved by shoving harder.) Now, on to the oven/range. Bad in that I often think I CAN repair it myself, when really I should call a repairman on my oven. It's still F2-ing me, and I know that means that I have a bad sensor or maybe welded contacts, but I'm of such small stature, I can't get the blamed thing pulled out to look at it.

My engineering education empowered me to know I can try to do just about anything. I used to think that being in engineering failed me, because I, like many, many other engineers never became an "engineer". In continuing to read Ready or Not, Here Comes Life, I ran across this passage:

p. 237
"I was once given a tour of a superb vocational high school in Lexington, Massachusetts. I asked the principal, "What percentage of your auto body students go on and do auto body work for their careers, and what proportion of your electrical students actually become electricians?" I was somewhat surprised by his answer; "Very few of our students have ended up doing what they specialized in while they were here, but in the process of focusing at this school, they picked up skills like decision making, brainstorming, collaboration, and time management. Then they were able to apply these in whatever trade offered them the best opportunities at the time." His was indeed a growth process school. Early specialty education should never close out any options for a student...."

While homeschooling, I hope to give this sense of empowerment to my kids. Instead of spending hours learning useless facts, I hope to teach them to learn, to have the spirit to figure things out, and the strength to keep going when the going gets tough. Now, back to figuring out how to pull out the oven.


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