Do-It-Yourself Learning: How a Sixteen Year Old High School Student designed and built his own wooden home on wheels for $12,000.

As they used to say on Monty Python, “And now for something completely different.” I wanted to write about something else as a break between techniques for learning languages.

I saw this article  at Off Grid World while looking for something else. This is a great story about 16 year old Austin Hay who designed and built his own house on wheels.  He says he will live in it during his college years.  He only had one shop class in high school, which he said wasn’t very helpful.  He attached the floor to the trailer, he put up the frame, insulated it, built the roof, wired it, bought and installed the appliances.  Of course, he had help along the way, but that doesn’t negate the learning experience.  The article describes him as the youngest member of the Small House Movement.  While I show the first video above, make sure you see the other video after Austin completes the job.  That video is at the article link.   His ideas are eccentric but he did his research and was able to finish his dream house.  Highly recommended.

Of course, a cheaper and simpler alternative would be to buy a used motor home.  In this New York Post story, a New York Rabbi who got kicked out of his apartment did just that.  He bought a used 1984 Chevy Pathfinder  Motorhome  on eBay for $8000.  Now, he  parks it on the street.  The neighbors are not pleased.  He had trouble starting it, but said ” It runs like a top.”   LOL.

Nevertheless, Austin Hay learned valuable lessons and skills that will serve him well no matter what he does with his life.  I strongly support the return of the shop classes.  Even better is having your children learn shop skills from a dad or  uncle who is a knowledgeable “tutor.”   I would like to also recommend a book written by Matthew B. Crawford  who learned construction skills at a tender age. Bring back the shop classes.

Update:  I discovered an additional story about Macy Miller, a 30 year old woman in Idaho.  Ms. Miller is  an architect, who built a similar structure as Austin Hay.  (I don’t know who came first.)  Like Austin Hay, her house was built on a flatbed truck frame.  Her story was an Instapundit item and was featured on Yahoo Homes.  I recall offhand first reading  about the “tiny house” movement on the Althouse blog, quite a few years ago.  Check it out at the link.


About Richard Rollo

I am a retired Community College Instructor. I taught Political Science 1 American Government for 22 years in Southern California. I am originally from Northern Minnesota. My earliest years were spent in the living quarters of a rural Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railway Depot. Then my family joined the great 1950's migration to Southern California where I joined up with fellow baby boomers in overcrowded schools.
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