Weekly Wrap-up Feb 21
Off-campus activities continue!
We continued our busy off-site learning schedule that was planned for this month with two more great field trips. Check out our February Calendar Corral, to see what’s left this month. Many of our activities are open to the homeschooling community as well. Come join us! Also, be sure to check out the “resources” section at the bottom of the page under the photo gallery for links to things we mention in these posts.
School was closed in honor of President’s day! Our students enjoyed the day off while we did some landscaping and other work around the farm.
A normal day on the farm school that began as usual with light chores, the morning walk, and our regular meeting followed by outside scheduled work. After lunch, we continued our writing class, sharing last week’s assignments and worked on additional practice using keywords and iconic notes to re-write something in our own words. Our graphic design class dove futher into Photoshop by starting a final assignment to pull together what we have learned so far plus a few new techniques and tools.
We met early Wednesday morning at our alternate location – out on Hull street near 288. From here, we traveled south on Rt. 360 to Halifax for another VSU workshop. This time, for a mechanics workshop. Students were presented with a small, 4-stroke engine. Working in pairs, we took the engines completely apart and then rebuilt them. As we did this, we learned about the engines and how they work. We had to stop at various point to use a special torque wrench to make sure certain bolts were adjusted to a specific tightness. When the engines were rebuilt, we put in some oil and gas and started them up!
There are several things I like about having our students involved in these VSU programs. Firstly, the students are exposed to college level learning opportuntities. Some of the workshops are led by professors at the college. They present information in a lecture format, generally with a slideshow in a classroom setting. Usually, these lectures are followed by an opportuntity to either get hands on learning or by exploring expamples of the program outside the classroom.
Another benefit to these workshops, in addition to being exposed to the world off-campus, are the variety of folks who also attend. Our students get to work and learn alongside folks of all ages with varying levels of experiences in many different fields. The learning oppotunities are endless in these enviroments, as are the opportunities to make connections that could have a profound impact on their future.
For many years we have hosted foriegn exchange students in our home. This year, we have an Italian girl and an Estonian boy. Sometimes in the afternoons, on “early release” days, or on some of our field trips, LSUHS students have an opportunity to interact and spend time with them. This week, we all got together with other exchange students from all over Virginia, to spend the day at the Virginia Capitol and Legislative Offices. We met the Stafford Representative (Mark Cole) in his office, listened as he described his work in the legislature and asked questions. We spent some time in a sub-committe meeting on social services, so they had an idea of how bills are introduced, discussed, and handled. We toured the grounds of the Capitol building, visited the Governor’s Mansion, sat in on a House Session, visited the Senate (they were in recess) and toured the Capitol building.
Highlights of this trip centered around the food, I think. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation was setup on the street conveniently located between the legislative offices and the Capitol building where legislators passed on their way to the Senate and House sessions, as did we. They were there, with a local oyster farmer, to raise awareness for the Bay and the watersheds that feed it. Everyone enjoyed a sampling of boiled oysters on the half shell. Most of the exchange students were trying it for the very first time! Another highlight was “Meriwether’s at the Capitol,” an eatery in the Capitol underground.
It was a busy, off-campus week! I think we were all tired by the end of it, but the experiences and knowledge gained were well worth it.
—Resi Connell, Headmaster
Links to things and places referred to in this article:
- For more February events check out this month’s Calendar Corral.
- The Virginia State University’s Small Farm Outreach Program offers a variety of workshops relating to agriculture, sometimes in conjunction with Virginia Tech’s Cooperative Extension Program.
- Adobe’s Creative suite includes Photoshop – the first software application we are covering in our graphic design class. This is available to students at a very low rate!
- We are using the Graphic Design 1 Curriculum from Leyden High Schools, Franklin Park, IL.
- Our family has hosted full-year international exchnage students through Academic Year in America as well as summer students through 4-H for many years.
- You can visit the Virginia State Capitol anytime. Call your representative to schedule a tour.
- The Chesapeake Bay Foundation works tirelessly with citizens and legislators to clean and restore the bay and its resources.
- The House Mace has a rich history!
- Meriwethers Market offers local, fresh, sustainable foods. It’s delicious!
Richmond Times Dispatch - "When a Farm is Your Classroom"
Goochland Gazette - "Local Farm School Making Move to Charles City"
Cheryl Tan Media Podcast 49: [Strategy] Re-engage Your Tribe with Resi Connell
Richmond Magazine – Private School Report 2017
NBC12 – Farm-based high school offers alternative for students
Goochland Gazette - "A new view of school"
Educators Challenged to Increase Interest in Agriculture