This week we'd like to let you know a little about us—why we started Harvest Community School and how we have grown as a community. In 2010, teachers and home educators in Clarendon County became interested in the methods of Charlotte Mason. We studied her books and started an enrichment day called The Friday Feast. We explored God’s handwork in the local swamps. We sampled fresh dewberries while dragonflies buzzed over our heads. We fed crickets to banana spiders and collected frog eggs to study their life cycle firsthand. We witnessed a mass aggregation of millipedes leaving their home site, a rare sight even for biologists. We met at a local church for the riches. Even the youngest children grew excited about reading and acting scenes from Shakespeare. They were enamored with Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel which we paired with Genesis. They stretched their minds in the study of Plutarch. In individual homes, our children became avid readers of all kinds of books—classics, nature lore, biographies, and history!
A few of us felt a nudge from God to start a private school rooted in Mason’s ideas. We thought back to our own education and we knew what we had missed in school. Should our children be the only lucky ones? What about students, failing to thrive because memorizing facts from dry textbooks is dull? In June 2013, the founders picked a name and filed legal documents. God flung open doors of opportunity one by one. By the end of August, we had two teachers, two classes, and our very own building. Many things have happened in the six years since we started Harvest. We have grown from eighteen students to sixty-five and now have eight classroom teachers. We modified the building to accommodate that growth and built our final addition last year. We were accredited in our third year and we have handed seven graduates their diplomas. We offer extra-curricular activities based on the interest of students—archery, 4-H, and chorus. You might be wondering why we put the word community in our name.
Harvest is more than a place where children go to school. A well-rounded education ought to make students aware that they are connected to each another and to people in our area. We try to live by what Paul wrote to the Galatians. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” We give students plenty of chances to do so. We visit the nursing home every week and we host and stock a blessing box to help others. Harvesters do chores and community service to practice the habit of doing good every day. When we began hosting violin classes, we opened up lessons to the community. We invite parents, school families, and homeschool families to The Feast and after school clubs. Harvest is part of the local community at large.
Most importantly, we hope to be a place where the uniqueness of each person is respected. Students brimming with confidence can reach out to those who feel weighed down. Children who have felt overlooked know they are appreciated for who they are. We have seen that, when pupils are planted into a different environment, new growth blossoms into flourishing. For the past six years, we have seen a harvest of delight, devotion, and discovery. Hearts have become rich toward God. Lives have changed.
A community called to offer another way to learn for students in Clarendon County