Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Out of Time

Time is a cruel mistress. Schools of all kinds are governed by the clock and the calendar.

HoneyFern has avoided some of this, but today we ran smack up in the face of it: we don't have enough time. Students are at HoneyFern three days a week, and in those three days we jam-pack as much as we can.


This morning we had an hour-long morning meeting, which is really unavoidable when you have things everyone wants to talk about. Then a 22-minute news program turned into 45 minutes over lunch because we stopped and talked about teacher strikes and unions and the 47% of America and who that is. And we had to eat and play Wiffle ball and talk about our fieldtrip to Mountasia (it's academic, for the student building the go-kart).

In between all that we planned the scale model of a suspension bridge (had to be re-done several times to make the model feasible), did group and solo math, removed the air filter and seat from a riding lawn mower (for the go-kart), discussed schematic drawings (for the go-kart), peer-edited a book review, read "Paul Revere's Ride" and discussed how to make a better second draft. Tomorrow looks to be similarly jam-packed.

The difference?

In not one minute was there anything that wasn't directly related to something a student had chosen to study. I may have designed a lesson or found a resource or led a discussion, but every bit of today was focused on the students. Exhausting and refreshing at the same time. Time is still at a premium, but we get to choose how we spend it.

And that is a gift even an extra hour in the day cannot top.

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