It's hard to believe but we are half-way through our second year at Harvest Community School. We started last year with eighteen students in first through seventh grades, and now we have FORTY-THREE from Kindergarten to eleventh grade. That's not including a handful of preschoolers who join us for lunch and an hour of Harvest time after Montessori. I wish I could tell you all their stories because Harvest has been a place for children to know God, to discover God's plans for them, and to find joy.
Pamela and I go there every day. Because the junior high was overflowing, Pamela and I are working together again. She and I join the entire school for morning meeting where we listen to a devotion, recite the pledge of allegiance, sing a patriotic song or hymn, and learn Spanish (which I teach). She and I are working through a variation of AO Year 7 adapted to a private school, modified to scaffold students who have never learned through Charlotte Mason principles.
It is a challenging transition! She and I worked very hard during the first term in between trips to Indiana and Canada. In Ohio, we watched a jousting tournament! And we met Hildegard and other friends in Ontario.
You may think Charlotte Mason is all about reading tons of great books. While we do read great books, we also study things up close and personal. God has sent all kinds of creatures to us. We studied a dead bat, a baby opossum that found itself in our trashcan one morning, and a mud turtle.
We explored two Carolina bays: one at Woods Bay State Park and another at Santee National Wildlife Refuge. Their staff invited us to go on their autumn audit of snakes and salamanders. We saw how they capture and count these critters. Don't worry! This snake is venomous unlike the cotton mouth that stayed in the cage.
The staff of SNWR also gave us a tour of the bird migration fields and told us all the things they do to keep traveling birds well-fed. We learned a lot about the different habitats along our beloved trail and how to apply terms like producer, consumer, and decomposer.
Finally, we ended the term and our study of Hildegard von Bingen with a visit from the author of the book we had been reading. Megan Hoyt shared things about Hildegard that went beyond the book. We passed around herbs, and the children enjoyed grinding spelt. She passed around scrolls with sayings by Hildegard plus something they might be when they grow up. The Kindergartners was so impressed because they knew the book inside and out. When our headmaster told them that the author of the book is here, their eyes grew wide and one little boy exclaimed in surprise, "She's HERE?"
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