If I asked my daughters, both already mothers, about their most memorable moments in school, I would not be surprised to hear them describe in great detail their amazing eighth grade field trip. If you are surfing the K12 school websites, you will find many beautiful and nostalgic photos of school field trips, students by the lake, students engaged in art projects. It feels wonderful, it feels right. We viscerally know its wrong to cage up our young people for six hours a day in a classroom.
And yet, I proudly share that both my daughters graduated with Engineering degrees. Perhaps it was the solid determination of their school principal, a remarkable woman named Marilyn Seward of Etna, California. Mrs. Seward was a bit old school. They excelled in math because they did math, at least an hour a day under Mrs. Seward’s careful supervision. They excelled in reading because Mrs. Seward made them read, at least an hour a day.
Yes, we want big, beautiful lives for our children, with a wide array of experiences. Yes, we know they still need to read, they still need to write, and they still need to work math problems in a quiet and contemplative state of mind. Field trips and projects integrate this knowledge. They help students apply what they learn in the class room to a practical end.
There are no field trip pictures on our website. Studia Nova does not provide field trips, we provide students their valuable time back. We encourage families to use this time to explore, to work together, to create opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom. With this approach, all our K8 students reach grade level performance in math and reading within a year of enrollment. Many more quickly exceed their grade level standards. Our students experience freedom from self doubt and self derision. It is truly a blessed moment when a student learns they are no longer behind their peers. Its even addictive.