On an previous episode of No Agenda
, John C. Dvorak was carping (and rightfully so) about how, even as little as twenty years ago, children were mentored. Boys were taught things like woodworking and automotive repair and girls were taught home economics. In fact, these topics used to be taught in high school before it became too expensive due to tort lawyers and insurance premiums.
(Frankly, I think it's because under Carter, the Federal Government took over the education system and they realized that if kids were smart enough to be taught how to manage and keep house they were also smart enough to be taught history and thus would not vote Democrat, but I digress.)
Aside from learning the skills taught in the various classes, kids had adults in the community that they could talk to in order to get a mature perspective on a topic, whether that be career advice from someone in the child's chosen field of interest or a sensitive issue that they didn't feel comfortable discussing with their parents.
In any event, Dvorak went on to make the point that he took woodworking because it was easy. When Adam Curry inquired, "What did you make?" John's response was, "I made a cutting board and a box."GERs
One of the State mandated "general education requirements" (GERs) for my degree is some form of "Fine Arts." I chose Art Appreciation on the basis it would be easy and also because the instructor for the class was my instructor for Photography. Familiarity and all that rot.
The format of the class is a hybrid; we show up once a week for class, but the bulk of the studying and work is to be done out of class, at home via the interwebs.
When I signed in for the first time, all of the materials from the class as taught last year were still on the website, including the syllabus. That syllabus stated that an oil painting as well as a soapstone sculpting would be required for class amongst other assignments such as a two page report on a trip to the local Art Museum.