Date Ideas: Educational Dates

Stargazing

Get a star map (they have an app for that) and a telescope or pair of binoculars, and go to a location at least a few miles out of town after dark and look at the stars. Try to identify constellations, galaxies, and any nebulae you can find.

Audobon Nut

Get a field guide to… anything! Then go to an appropriate location and look up everything you can. They have field guides for all kinds of things: birds, trees, bugs, flowers, animals, edible plants, rocks and minerals—whatever you both might find interesting, go out searching for them, identifying as many as possible. You may want to bring a camera or two to catch your own photos of your findings.

Planetarium

Planetariums can be so much fun when you go with an attitude of curiosity. If they have a lazer/star show, go to it. If they have experiments and gravity suits to try, do it. And don’t forget to check out the gift shop. There’s usually a lot of cool stuff in there, too.

Plant a Garden Together

Plant a garden with both of your favorite items. This is not only fun and educational, but it’s especially good if you’re really hoping for a follow-up date. “Hey, want to go check on our garden?”

Go to an Art Gallery

Sometimes art galleries can seem either boring or overwhelming to most people. Take your date to one, but instead of just passively admiring all the works, go with the idea of finding one piece that especially stands out to each of you. Get a good look around to make sure it’s the one that most catches your interest, and tell each other why that piece is your favorite.

Another fun thing to do at an art gallery is to come up with stories about the paintings. Make up scenarios that “explain” what’s going on. Be as detailed as possible. You may learn a lot about your date from their stories.

Visit the Zoo

Yes, it’s cliché, and yes, it’s still way fun. And believe it or not, most Zoos are open year round.

Go to a Museum

There are dozens of kinds of museums. There are history museums, church museums, science museums, art museums, children’s museums, animal museums (think giant aquarium), and even human museums (I’ve never been to a body museum, and don’t think I’d like to, but just saying). Go to the museum you think your date would most enjoy.

Learn a New Skill Together

You can learn a lot about a person by observing how they learn. Decide on a new skill to learn and use whatever resources you can to learn how to do it. The Internet is the obvious one, but there are also libraries, classes, and experts around that might help you learn a skill. Ask your date if there’s something he/she’s always wanted to learn to do, and learn it together. It could be dancing, karate, origami, microscope study, cooking, auto-mechanics, basketball, graphic design, plumbing, weaving, rock-tumbling, or any number of things. Learn it together. Then follow up with each other on later dates, or practice together.

Go to a Local “Gardens”

Go to a local professional garden park such as the Botanical Gardens, Red Butte Gardens, the Gardens at Thanksgiving point, and many of these gardens have annual events. Visit a local professional garden. You might want to bring a field guide along.

Geek Date

Find out what your date is geek about (maybe they LOVE examining the back of Afghans, or are a rifle nut), and go to a store, show, or festival surrounding that thing. People always love talking about about their own interests, and regardless of what you think of it all, your date will have a great time talking to you about it. Allow them to show you all the cool stuff that you may not yet know.

Taught Somewhat in All the Learning of My Father

What would Nephi’s education been like?

Well one thing for sure, traditional school’s in Nephi’s day were significantly different than they are today. Today the only thing religious that can be taught in school is the so-called constitutional “separation of church and state,” (which, interestingly, is never mentioned once in the constitution in any form). Nephi’s education would have been so immersed in the scriptures that it took precedence over math, science, art, and geography combined. He would have been taught reading, writing, and history intensely, mostly because it’ a vital part of scripture study and record keeping.

The bible dictionary talks about the kind of education Jesus would have received in His time, and I think the basic education system would have been the same in Nephi’s time.

“The divine law impressed upon parents the duty of teaching their children its precepts and principles, but little is known about the methods of teaching that were employed. Up to six years of age a child was taught at home, chiefly by the mother (cf. 2 Tim. 1: 5). The schools that all boys from six years old had to attend were generally held in the synagogues. Until a boy was ten no textbook was used but scripture. The aim was to encourage study by sense of duty rather than by reward or fear. Reading, writing, and grammar were taught, and in order that teaching might be thorough, no class even in the elementary school might exceed 25 pupils. The “religious question” could not exist in Jewish education any more than in Church schools today, for the whole purpose of education was religious. Nothing was regarded as worth learning except as it illustrated scripture. At home probably Bible stories were taught as with us, but the regular course at school began with the first seven chapters of Leviticus, so that a boy might know what outward acts were required of him; then the rest of the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the remainder of the O.T. ”
Bible Dictionary, Education

Wouldn’t that be an awesome way to do school? What I find interesting is that Laman and Lemuel would have received the same kind of education. I guess it shows how much role agency plays in our education – secular and spiritual.

I Live in a Mansion

moon

talltab1I live in a mansion.  There are so many rooms, and so many doors, that it would take more than a lifetime to explore what is in them all.  From one room, I can explore the sciences, and watch the progression of the stars and planets.  I can chart the known universe and discover things that it has taken mankind centuries to understand.
talltab1 From another, I can learn the religions of the world, make connections with things divine, and come to a deeper understanding of why people are the way they are.
talltab1 From another, I can become my own symphony, and follow the practices of the master composers.  I can perfect the principles they have learned and carry them on to new levels.
talltab1 There is a room in my house where I can practice medicine and learn how the human body works.  In this room, I can also learn how to strengthen the powers within my own body through exercise, activity, proper nutrition and rest.
talltab1 In one of the larger wings of my mansion, I can enter a fantastic world with creatures and people that most people only meet in dreams and movies.  I can converse with them, and in essence, leave the world entirely through time machines and spaceships.
talltab1 I have rooms that bare the perfect resemblance of locations all around the globe.  I have been to Egypt, China, South America, and Africa without having to leave my home.
talltab1 In my favorite room, I have met the Savior and His prophets.  I have come to know God, and converse with Him regularly.  I have met Adam, Enoch, Abraham, and John the Baptist.  I have met the reformers and those who took part in the great restoration of the Gospel.
talltab1 I have visited many of the rooms in my mansion, and plan to visit many more.

talltab1 My house is small, and my means are meager.  But in every room, there are books.

The Makeshift Degree: Adlibing an Education without Going to School

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Okay, so obviously the most ideal way to get an education in most fields is to go to college, and for many jobs out, it is required.  But let’s face it, there are so many fields out there.  If you’re like me, you have so many interests that it is impossible for you to get a college education in all of your interests.
Also, many people are not in a position to go to college at the moment.
Here are a few ideas for getting an education outside of the school system:

Internet Sources:

The Internet has an endless supply of phenomenal information in thousands of fields.  You’ve just got to know where to look for it.  Here are a few sites I like – (maybe not Ph.D material, but interesting stuff nonetheless):

  1. http://google.com – good ol’ Google search.  You can learn just about anything with that… *
  2. http://www.youtube.com/edu – you know about Youtube.  Well, this is a branch of Youtube that specializes in good educational material.  Not just anyone can get stuff on here, so it’s a big step up from regular Youtube, and it’s a fun source of learning in all kinds of fields.
  3. http://www.ted.com/ – again, not a place to earn a degree, but if you want to get excited about learning, this is a fun place to go.  TED is a collection of fascinating lectures (yes, lectures CAN be fascinating!) that give an interesting perspective on various fields.
  4. http://www.openculture.com/2007/07/freeonlinecourses.html – if you prefer getting your information from reputable colleges, here’s a directory of podcasts that are done by colleges such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, etc.  Just putter around the site to find the subject you’re looking for.

Books

  1. Check the Thrift Stores: As soon as a book becomes obsolete (by college standards that can mean the book has been published for a year and a half and now the photos in the book need to be reorganized), the thrift stores such as D.I. fill up with college textbooks.  After I paid nearly $100 for an astronomy book in college, I found a stack of twenty of them at D.I. the next semester for two bucks a piece.  Ugh… but that’s good for people who are wanting an education outside of school.
  2. Libraries:  They’re still around, believe it or not.  In this “Google any question” era that we live in, this is easy to forget.  Pick a topic, go to the library, and read all you can on the subject.
  3. School libraries: Most school libraries are open to the public.  You may not be able to check things out without a student card, but you can read what you want while you’re there, and if you take your digital camera, you can get instant copies of pages you want to read more about.

This is NOT a comprehensive list.  Fill us in!  What ways have you found for educating yourself on different topics?

* Clearly there is a lot of junk out there, and one of the great purposes of education is to train you to recognize credibility and bias.  You need to learn to check the sources on information.  Just because it sounds legit, or the information is worded in an educated manner doesn’t mean the content is of any real value.  The best lies are coated in great disguises.  So check your sources!

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