Where I come from, many people are homeschooled. Life lessons and practical skills take precedence over the traditional focus on the three Rs of learning: reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic. Living in a frozen area, it’s more important to know how to start a fire, or to hunt for food than doing math or taking notes on a science experiment. Fixing a broken snowmobile is a more handy skill to have then doing fractions, it turns out, and using the stars for guidance in the woods can get you farther than knowing how to write cursive… I say all of this because my best buddy can’t read, and yet his abilities with heating, trapping, and field cooking are life skills that go beyond general education. I often read to him from beside the huge stone fireplace he helped me build, which he really enjoys. Using scavenged materials and parts of old snowmobiles, he even helped me construct a rudimentary system of air duct! Now I can pump some of the heating from the fireplace into my bedroom, which is a nice addition to my cottage’s primitive furnace. Although he had never been to school or taken a math class in his life, he was able to measure and build this fireplace, with complete precision and run all the numbers in his head. Some people are just born smart, especially when it comes to survival instincts, making shelters, and providing heating. Even though I could teach him many things, he has just as much to offer in return when it comes to this priceless life skills.