Apprenticetown and Crankin Engines introduced our first joint project, the Basic Four Stroke Engine Course at the North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE) annual conference in Winston-Salem, May 22-24, 2014.

This vocational curriculum provides students with a hands-on approach to learning the Four Stroke Internal Combustion Engine. Using the popular Briggs and Stratton engine, students with varied learning styles explore engines and basic mechanical principles. They tear down an engine, learn how the pieces work, and re-build it.

Course author Rankin Barnes of High Point, NC, has 30 years experience teaching automotives at state and community colleges. He owns and manages an automotive repair business and has established apprentice programs.  Rankin and Peggy homeschooled their two children from K-7 and K-12.

Rankin told conference attendees about his experience delivering this course to enrichment classes of ten students, ages 9 through 14. Opportunities for hands-on engine and mechanical instruction are under-served in the homeschool market. This course added to the diversity of valuable offerings in the 45,000 square foot NCHE book-fair. Customers who bought the course at the conference included moms and dads for family use, instructors who will present the course at homeschool co-ops, and leaders of several scout troops.

The course is designed to equip the instructor. The printed manual and extensive library of videos prepare the instructor prior to each of the 10 lessons. On the other hand, the students’ learning experience is totally hands-on.

Rankin Barnes next plans to develop challenging and professional-level course for automotives. From his experience teaching in the college system, he thinks there are valuable contributions that still need to be made. Rankin and Apprenticetown believe this course is an important step towards the reintroduction of apprenticeships in the automotive and engine repair trades.

 A wrench in the hand, a smudge of grease and the roar of an engine: these are signs of progress.

Who can deliver the Crankin Engines course to young people in your county?

What course is needed next?   And who can develop it?

Let us hear from you.