What do you do?
Students may arrive as early as 9:00.
Starting at 9:30 we gather together to take a few moments to share our thoughts and plan for the day.
Around 10:00 we launch into our quiet study time. During this time slot we work on fundamentals from our weekly individual playlists. A playlist is the agreement between the student, parents, and "teacher" of what skills need practicing. As much fun as STEAM can be, reading, writing, and math are basics that need to be mastered. Playlists might include "draw a picture and story", "phonics games", "reading time", "clay table", "keyboarding", "work through chapter 2 of a math book", "copywork", "finish screenplay", "group math", "storytime", "Lego time", or even "online curriculum". If current homeschoolers have a curriculum they'd like to bring in great but MSM will also supply suitable materials. This is the flexibility we have as a small school with a great student to adult ratio. If parents lean towards Common Core we can help them use that and if they lean towards a Sudbury Valley School model of 100% child lead learning we can help them with that too.
Around 11:00 is time for moving. Preferably outdoors! We may walk to the park, or play games out back. However, if weather is too foul we will use the gymnasium downstairs. Visiting instructors can add to our options in the winter time.
Lunchtime follows and is followed by movement time. Students need to bring a bagged lunch. Currently, we have no refrigeration or microwave so students should bring a sack lunch and drink. Speaking of food, we eat together because it is fun to eat together but so long as we don't have a hazardous situation children may eat, snack, and drink as desired.
Around 12:30 to 1:00 we start our group activity. This is a big block of time devoted to hands-on, active projects. This time can also be used for walking field trips about town. Or guest speakers. Or service learning projects. But mostly we will dive into an extended session in the STEAM fields. While we do have a chalkboard, please don't think it is used for college style lectures, instead we construct our activities to be more exploratory, more Socratic, and active. Learning happens best as a by-product of fun (and if you need proof think of all those song lyrics from your youth that you still know!).
Following our group time, around 2:00, the students will be able to continue on with the group project task, or if it doesn't hold their interest they have various "centers" to find something stimulating. Centers are set up to be self-directed learning spots. With our low student to "teacher" ratio and empowered older students we make sure that all questions get answered. Centers are updated/changed over time to rotate through lots of STEAM applications. Sometime centers are simple like cool paper puzzles, some are board games, some are robotics kits, some are complex projects involving creating a design on the computer and transferring the design to make a t-shirt. Centers look like play yet they are perfect fits for the skills children need to learn to be happy healthy adults.
But, we are flexible so this is just the general plan.
Our Fridays are a little different. If the student and parent desire, Fridays are welcome to be home-study days and attendance is not required on-site. Please ask if home-study Fridays sound appropriate for your family. Students in attendance on Fridays are met with a more flexible schedule, including longer field trips and additional special project time.
What do you study?
We study it all, or course. Only in abstraction do school subjects exist as discrete topics.
In the primary school years, our aim is to provide children with fundamentals. Exposure to many disciplines is important to allow students to develop their own interests and pursuits. Our topics follow the interests of the group (itself an education in civics!). At times these interests will coincide with what the public school students are learning but not always.
State of Maine guidelines also dictate what we study. In addition to STEAM topics we introduce students to health, spelling, grammar, U.S. & Maine history, geography, fine arts, and civil government.