Now, there is some good info in this course, but nothing that couldn't be picked up by reading a few good books and getting into a shop and doing some work. The hard part is that 35% of the questions on the "TESTS" are complete opinion, and based on what the author believes to be correct. You don't have to be an educator like me to know that is not the best way to test someone on a subject.
But, don't think that all the grading is just online tests. Oh no, they actually send you tools and boards through the mail to do some "hands on skill tests". Yeah buddy, lets get cookin'
Now, the first at home work comes from the Layout section of the course. The few tools that they send you are, well, crap. But I guess they will do for this part. The board is cupped, not an issue for this I guess, but it does concern me for future projects.
What do they want you to do, well, look to the right. That is what they want you to layout on the pine board they sent you. Not a bad exercise, but I wouldn't consider it "practical woodworking skills". But, if you have never done anything, maybe it would be good for you.
The part that gets me is two fold. One, both boards are cupped, so, those are going to be some nasty dovetails. And I haven't even checked the ends for squareness yet, but I doubt they are as good as I would like.
The second part that concerns me are the tools. These are some bottom of the barrel dollar store tools here. Now, I understand we all have to start somewhere, and if they send better tools the course would cost way too much money for anyone to take, but working with tools like this is a recipe for failure. If you want to teach people and have them succeed, they need to be equipped with decent tools and materials. The saw I think concerns me more than the chisels, and lets not even talk about how someone is going to chop into pine with dull chisels like these. Oy Vey
I guess my conclusion is this, and it should come as no surprise. PennFoster is not there to "teach" people , they are there to make money. They have dug in like a tick into today's online market. They market themselves as a way to further your education, help you get jobs, or be better at the job you have. And, though you may get a job from one of these courses, I would be a little suspicious as to what kind of education you actually get from them. Now, I do plan on completing this course and I am sure I will add more details as I go, but I thought I would just throw something out there into cyberspace so that others would know what they are getting into if they take this course.
Again, it's not all bad. There is quite a bit of good info in this course, but there is quite a bit of something else. And there are definitely better ways of spending your time and your money.
And if you are a woodworker, please let people know, so they don't waste their money on a course like this thinking it will teach them to be a furniture or cabinet maker, because its won't.