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3 Ways the Internet Can Teach High Schoolers Basic DIY Skills

3 Ways the Internet Can Teach High Schoolers Basic DIY Skills

Once upon a time, wood or metal shop was a regular part of a high school’s curriculum. Students learned some basic skills through various projects and whether they knew it or not those experiences added to their development as young adults. Since high school is a time when teens are adjusting to a greater sense of responsibility becoming eager to do things more independently, having that knowledge was a plus. Nevertheless, for various reasons most notably financial difficulties in a lot of districts, these non-academic electives are no longer held and as a result some basic DIY skills are lacking in today’s young generation.

What does it matter if high schoolers know how to use a bandsaw or hold a hammer correctly? It’s not like students would go home and reshingle the southern side of the house or fix all the windows and doors so drafts won’t enter but having those opportunities were positive developments that could possibly open future doors.

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That said, bringing these or similar electives back is a must, but schools are financially strapped and even if parents are willing to pick up part of the tab, the costs sometimes outweigh the desire. That’s where the internet comes in. Students with interests in learning various DIY skills can use the web to meet their needs—either in groups, or individually. It may not be the shop of years past but can still be a meaningful experience for everyone involved. Consider the following:

1. After school groups

Students could form a Student DIY Society and meet for a series of extra-curricular activities after school. The society would vote on researching a number of beginner level DIY issues such as how to use hand tools correctly, when to use certain types of machines, or finding solutions to common home-related issues such as how to repair a leaky sink.

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All the information can be researched online and brought before the group. This includes watching videos, contacting owners of certain sites who developed step by step solutions to problems, and training each other on the various ins and outs of certain situations.

As an added benefit the group could seek out several local handymen who, as a public service, could take the time to meet with students to talk about how they got started and how they are influenced today by the many home improvement websites at their disposal.

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2. Independent study for credit

Schools could allow students to create their own independent studies based on a particular area of home improvement such as carpentry, plumbing, or landscaping. After choosing a subject, students would use the internet to research a particular topic and report on it. A local carpenter, plumber, or landscaper could be brought in to help guide the student through the process.

In order to receive credit for the independent study, schools could set up and maintain a website or blog where students document all the information including any step by step how-tos they picked up along the way.

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3. Holding a competition

A third option is for schools to hold a DIY home improvement competition wherein one or two topics are chosen and interested students would be challenged with an issue. The challenge could be as basic as how to fix a crack in cement, to something  like energy efficiency and how to make better use of utilities.

Students would research and familiarize themselves with the topics online and prepare for answering a number of questions. Parents could even get involved, and a home improvement-related prize could be awarded.

The bottom line: When extracurricular activities featuring basic DIY skills are unavailable, innovative ways to expose high school students to these skills can be found through using the internet. The importance of such skills should not be minimized because they are forever applicable, and whether it’s tomorrow or in ten years, they will be beneficial.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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