For those of you who don’t know, Mark Frauenfelder is the editor of “Make” magazine, devoted to do-it-yourself projects including everything from a home-made stereo system to an LED tank top to an origami spinner. He also has a new book out titled, Made By Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, which I have yet to read but which I will be taking with me on our upcoming trip to England. Mark also attends every Maker Faire event. Maker Faire is a gathering of do-it-yourselfers who come together to show off their crazy amazing things. Kids and adults participate, and there are no rules about who can make what. Just have at it and bring it in. Maker Faire’s world gathering is this weekend in Queens. One of the other homeschool parents is doing a huge knit and crocheted installation, and if we can, we’ll be heading out there on Sunday to see it.
Frauenfelder’s attitude is that making things by hand is a great way to learn. He is a fan of Gever Tulley’s Tinkering School (Gever Tulley of the 50 Dangerous Things Your Kids Should Do book), and, as I just found out this evening, unschooling!! A short article in the new Atlantic Monthly is titled “School for Hackers”. Frauenfelder wrote it, and it focuses on the fact that schools do not teach kids to learn with their hands. He talks about the DIY movement as something that now includes people creating their own schools or websites or camps. And although he gets the idea behind unschooling wrong (he says, “Unschooler parents are letting their kids design their own curricula” – really we don’t work with a curriculum at all), I’m not going to argue details with him. At least not now. Maybe if I see him on Sunday, then we’ll talk. No matter. The idea is right. Meaningful learning is almost always DIY. The article is so great that I could quote it in its’ entirety, but I won’t. Instead, here is the link, which also includes a short interview with Frauenfelder that you don’t get in the print version: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/10/school-for-hackers/8218/
Enjoy. And then maybe take time to make something today!