Today is the first day of school. We’re so excited for many reasons.
We had a wonderful response from volunteers who have upgraded our playground, cleaned up the yard, provided mulch and spread it, made a brick path to protect the mulch near the crepe myrtle tree, potted plants, replaced a chunk of the porch, spruced up the boys’ and the girls’ bathrooms, and tacked down the carpet in that part of the building. So much can be done when a community comes together!
We had a fantastic turn out for Open House! The teachers were excited to see their students and, in some cases, meet families for the first time. We answered a lot of questions and sent home paperwork to make our first day of school as smooth as possible. Seeing so many families gathered together is a good sign of forging new bonds in our community.
The first few days of school serve many purposes. We want each class to become a little community and the teachers have icebreakers and team-building activities planned. They will be issuing school books and have the class set up their notebooks. Because we do not rely on worksheets for the majority of their work, knowing how to manage notebooks is a big transition. If you would like to see your child’s notebook during the school year, let the teacher know. Since we encourage students to start on the next blank page, the notebook becomes a record of the child’s progress during the year.
Another thing we do in the first few days is the laying down the rails of habits. They learn how to do their daily chore which is rotated so that, by the end of the school, your child will have a variety of skills and they can help around the house. They learn how to conduct themselves in the hallway, in the big room for morning meeting (or in their classroom during home room), in the classroom, and on the playground. They are assigned their memory work and due dates. Students in elementary and above begin to use their agendas which you must initial every day. They start their home reading. The teachers introduce Harvest unique habits: group singing, Swedish drill, Spanish, daily devotion, oral narration, copywork, studied dictation, written narration, and notebooking. They will also begin talking about important habits: the habit of attention, remembering, obedience, and self-control. You may have seen them listed on the walls of classrooms when you came to Open House.
Once your child becomes comfortable at narrating, you should be able to ask how their day was and get an answer. Sometimes, a very long answer! Have them tell you their favorite book or what they drew or what songs they are learning. If they are new to Harvest, you might want to help them practice their memory work. If they did their home reading and tell you, “I’m done,” have them tell you what they read. If they are able to string together sentences that make sense, they probably did read the book.
Here are a couple of housekeeping notes. The family handbook and high school addendum are posted. Please read them with your child before signing the form sent home. Please log into MySchoolWorx which is our new tool for improving communication between school and home. You should have received a flyer in the mail but, if you have not, contact the office (803) 574-1004. Have a wonderful week!
School starts in one week and Open House is on Monday. Please come! You get to meet teachers and new families. You can see classrooms and leave school supplies to make Wednesday morning easier. We have information for you and we can answer questions. We have sign-up sheets for extra-curricular activities.
In our third year, the 4-H agent for Clarendon County, Mary Margaret McCaskill, helped launch our annual incubator project. She brought equipment, trained us, and loaned a dozen eggs. We are all in for nature study! On hatching day we rotate through classes to watch the eggs in fifteen-minute bites. Students observe and collect data. Last year, we hatched duck eggs.
We also learned how well 4-H fits our mission. “I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking, my HEART to greater loyalty, my HANDS to larger service, and my HEALTH to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” Tina Proffit did 4-H in her youth and she stepped up in the fourth year to start our 4-H Friendship Club. She organizes meetings, plans activities, and keeps adults informed. She helps students involved with the 4-H Livestock Club learn how to do their projects and show at the fair. Tina models the spirit of 4-H and our club members are blessed by her giving and encouraging spirit.
Our archery club also launched that year. We had a parent with no experience take on a big job. Kristie Anderson cleared obstacles, got equipment for the school, and became certified by South Carolina’s NASP. She comes twice a month to set up the field and instruct our students. She organizes volunteers and coordinates field trips for participation in tournaments. Last year, another parent, David Strickland, built an archery shed. Our high school students took a unit on archery as part of their P. E. credit. We are thankful for many volunteers who have supported archery and Kristie, who is driving force behind it.
The halls were alive with the sound of music in our fifth year when concert violinist Johanna Pressley joined Harvest. She started a violin ensemble for the community. Her enthusiasm and patience are boundless and we are thankful that God sent her to us. Students who like to make a joyful noise with their voices asked why we didn’t have a chorus club. The staff referred them to Tammy Glaser who tuned her vocal pipes through a phenomenal music program at the U. S. Naval Academy. She and Johanna collaborate so that both musical groups perform together.
One ingredient that makes our clubs successful is you! People like you have come forward to volunteer. Some leave their comfort zone to try something new. Your child’s enjoyment of the full Harvest experience depends upon generous donations of time. Every week, we offer activities cut in most schools and our ability to share the riches depends on volunteers. Parents, grandparents, and extended families are most needed Tuesday and Thursday after lunch. We offer training at the Large Room meetings to help you feel confident in what to do. The only expertise required is a warm smile and an encouraging heart.
A community called to offer another way to learn for students in Clarendon County