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Thursday, August 11, 2011

I am an Opportunist

Just when I was liking the idea of Elle being tutored, and Elle was actually cooperating, along comes another twist. Years back, right after Hurricane Charley, Elle attended pre-K at a nearby school. Set in a beautiful rural environment, it was meant to provide the kids opportunities to garden and raise small livestock. Theoretically it was great. Practically it never came to be, and a few years later the school eventually closed.

Now, however, the county has taken the property over and is reopening a small, "progressive democratic" public charter school. The progressive part comes from the mixed age groupings, portfolio reviews versus report cards, and focus on mastery. The democratic part is that every student and teacher has an equal say in decision making. The curriculum is project based, working closely with 4-H, and will feature Florida history. All produce raised at the school will be used in the food service and any extra is to be sold to the public. There are peace studies with each family required to attend a 6-hour conflict resolution class as part of the admission process. Right now it only goes up to Grade 7 but they will bump it up each year until it ends with Grade 12. It was no surprise to hear from the director that many area homeschoolers have expressed interest in enrolling.

Elle has mentioned several times since we've been back from Australia that she really misses being on a farm. And since that's no longer part of our plans (as much as I ever really plan anything), she is thrilled with thoughts of dressage, raising a steer for the fair, and having some chickens and rabbits to care for.

And I am thrilled with thoughts of traveling and incorporating it into a school project. We didn't have the time to wander the Smithsonian the last time we were in DC, so I'm looking at building a visit around the Reason Rally in March and working it into her studies.

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