Study and academic expertise take on new meaning in the farm environment. Students work to acquire expertise in science, technology, and communication-the arenas of 21st century contribution. They strive to understand our time in history and to move the story of human beings toward a new, more successful chapter. They learn about other cultures to expand their world perspective, to explore different ways of thinking, to tackle relevant issues. They are students of their time and place in history so they can understand the planet we all live on and the people who are our global family.
Mathematics: Discovery and Skill
Mathematical thinking is a gift to humans at birth, as all humans possess mathematical minds, claims Dr. Montessori. Adolescent mathematical growth depends on how it is used-in a social setting and for purposeful work in the community. When everyone values, uses and performs math in a variety of situations–the community benefits from problem-solving and creative thinking as a way of life.
Studying mathematics on the farm occurs during every project and business venture as well as in extended lab sessions. Students engage in:
Students have the opportunity to move through Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2 as they are ready. Hands-on math projects related to projects on the farm-like cost analysis of garden and animal production-are interwoven with daily math work.
- Warm-up mental math exercises
- Formal lessons
- Group projects that require data analysis and mathematical problem-solving
- Applied projects related to farm tasks and business ventures
- Individually-paced follow-up work
- Individually designed skill work
Science and Stewardship
Dr. Montessori suggested that working and studying on the land would provide "limitless opportunities for scientific and historic studies." Science is studied and applied to real work through student-owned projects called Occupations. Each project combines practical tasks with academic study.
A small group of 6-10 students take on challenges necessary to running of the farm's businesses. Required background expertise and skills are learned to accomplish the task. The group also accepts responsibility for managing their area of the farm using acquired expertise.
- Acquiring and raising pigs for meat
- Assessing the woodlot for hardwood lumber harvest
- Producing and selling maple syrup
- Preserving produce from the organic gardens
- Monitoring water quality and the operation of the waste treatment plant
- Planning menus and educating the community on nutrition