“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Accordingly a genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.” Thomas Edison
The New Year 2014 has started off well for Stronghold. In this month’s blog, we want to talk about homework…Stronghold style!!
Statistics are rapidly proving that the hours of busywork sent home with schoolchildren is of little or no value in a student’s learning. Another big problem is the rising number of high school and college graduates who are without jobs due to lack of employable skills. Stronghold addresses these issues with real-life homework!
Two of our students (10 and 15 years old), were they in public school, would be in elementary and high school. At Stronghold, they spend 4-5 hours every day hitting academic subjects hard across the board, and then it’s out into the world for some real world skills, and the learning and demonstration of a solid work ethic. Each student is setup in part-time jobs and internships that are suitable for their age and ability.
The 10-year old, in the nine months he has been with us, started out doing part-time work, a few hours a week, for his father’s landscaping company in order to gain a little experience and demonstrate that he could be responsible. As he has progressed through the program, the old habits of emotional meltdowns, inability to listen, focus or follow directions fell away, and he now has TWO internships. One is working with Guard Dog Eyewear, a local company that manufactures and sells very cool sunglasses and goggles. At age 10, he is learning how to work on an assembly line, make sales calls, and do inventory. His second internship is at a large, local organic farm where he assists with stocking and keeping the farm stand clean. Yesterday, he was asking for yet a third internship with a local dog training and day care facility to fill the remaining two afternoons of his week!
The 15-year-old, being closer to deciding what he will pursue as a career, did his first internship with an up-and-coming women’s fashion designer in Hollywood. He demonstrated exactly why starting internships early are so valuable, by realizing it was not what he expected. He moved on to a screen printing business, and to ACE Hardware, where both owners loved him so much, they offered him paid positions after a few weeks. While watching him in the classroom, we saw meticulous detail orientation in his work, and arranged for an additional internship with an auto body shop. Here he is gaining exposure to a craft where he can apply his own inherent skills and learn about running a small business. After only a few afternoons, the owner of the shop has not only begun teaching him the finer details of the business, but also began paying him for his work!
One of our greatest joys is hearing from our student’s employers’ how good their attitudes and work ethics are, especially compared to other young people they have employed. It’s not too early in a young person’s life to expose them to the joy of hard work, dedication and a good attitude.