From Cocoon forth a Butterfly
As Lady from her Door
Emerged—a Summer Afternoon--
~ Emily Dickinson
One more day until Harvest Community School emerges!
Already, we have enjoyed hearing your stories of why you long for something different for your children and grandchildren. We are delighted to let them figure out how to set up the pond and what sorts of life to put in it. We are eager to see where they will hang bird feeders and bird houses. We are looking forward to seeing the budding photographer share photos taken during nature study and to hearing the Emily Dickinson fan recite poems. What will the artist draw in her notebooks and the historian soak up to share with his family? What stories will enchant the bookworm and which animal tales will warm the heart of the nature lover? What sorts of birds and bugs will the naturalist find for us? What discoveries will the mathematician make? What ever will they grow in the garden this year?
We have stored sweet memories of seeing students, parents, teachers, and members of the community clean, paint, move furniture, tidy up the yard, and set up classrooms. We loved meeting your families at the Drop In and Tour. Tomorrow is our first day of school, and we are delighted!
We will be pouring the foundation of engaged learning the first week. Foremost is the habit of attention: learning to retell a story after a single reading without looking at the book, noticing new features of creation during nature study, learning the background information needed to delve into their historical periods, and connecting what they read to timelines and maps. Students will set up their notebooks and practice the habits of memorizing and reciting Bible verses or poetry, copying a sentence in their best handwriting, writing a dictated sentence with correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and writing about or drawing something they learned. They will learn what sorts of things go in their math, science, nature, and drawing notebooks. We will also introduce them to this month's hymn and folk songs as well as this term's composer, artist, and poet.
The teachers and staff will assess where the students are in their abilities. Who needs a refresher in printing and who is ready to learn cursive, italics, or calligraphy? Who draws well and who needs some guidance? What books can students read silently and what books require reading aloud? Where are they in mathematics so they will be neither bored nor frustrated when studying the language of science? How long is their attention span in one subject versus another?
On Friday, we will kick off what we call The Feast, a time for homeschoolers to join us! We will walk Wright's Bluff Nature Trail at Santee National Wildlife Refuge and begin our study of van Gogh, Egypt, citizenship, wool felt, Shakespeare's Henry V, and flight.
We are ready for the adventure to begin!
Jesus focused upon relationships when He concisely stated the entire Law in two simple truths: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Like Him, we treasure relationships, too. We put the word community into our name because we are longing for more than a school where families simply drop off their children. Two short months ago, we never would have imagined in our wildest dreams to see such an outpouring of community in the debut of Harvest.
Parents, teachers, administration, and even our very own students have joined us in painting, cleaning, etc. We have gone home with sore muscles from pulling rotting plywood from a perfectly good porch to pressure washing grime off the sides of the building. Extended family has joined us by doing the dirtiest jobs—emptying the muck from the pond and filling a trailer with debris from the construction job. Those unable to do serious hard labor have donated furniture, a refrigerator, money (which is much easier now that we have online donation), encouragement, etc.
We are especially excited that people who may not ever directly benefit from our school have gotten involved with Working Party 2013 (the title of our photo album in case you would like to see some pictures). Days and days of painting and cleaning. One man donated two costly outdoor tables for fresh air lunches. One of our county's coupon divas came by with a bucket full of cleaning supplies that only costs five cents, including the bucket! Carolina Tree Care took down a tree for us, and we have a rain check for them to do a few more next month. Others have stopped by to drop off books, science equipment, puzzles, and games!
We have hired experienced construction workers to do jobs beyond our ability: replacing sheetrock and a few porch floor boards, making minor roof repairs, priming the walls, painting two rooms with twelve-foot ceilings, installing carpet, and converting the kitchen to a classroom. They have been working extra hard for very reasonable wages to help us get ready for our Drop-In and Tour next Monday (August 12 at 6:30 p.m.).
Today someone stopped by who saw the condition of the building when we first turned on the power. He was bowled over by all the progress we have made to get the school ready to open its doors. He asked Angie how we had managed to do so much work in so little time. She smiled and told him how God has been sending so many people to us, even if only for an afternoon. He agreed with the clear evidence of His hand in our little school.
How blessed we are to see this verse from Paul's letter to the Galatians in action: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”