As far as I’m concerned there are nothing but advantages to a small rural school. Small classes, individual attention, and the focus on the agricultural community are great benefits to offer the children. A lot of the kids are from town but even those get their fair share of farming knowledge. Whether they want it or not.
I recently read that no matter how you raise your children, the environment you chose to raise them in will have a stronger effect on them than what you do. It made me happy to be raising ours where we are.
Yesterday my husband called, excited to tell me about a visitor to the school. Our local John Deere dealer, and by local I mean regional, had called the school asking if they could bring their educational trailer around and talk to the kids. By trailer I mean one pulled behind a large pickup, not an intro to a movie. The school had given permission to bring it that day and it was impressive. John Deere has their flaws and are down right evil when it comes to proprietary software and right to repair. But, even a stopped clock is right twice a day and they got this one right big time.
All the classes from fifth grade up got to go spend one class period outside on a beautiful fall day learning about STEM. The guy talked about GPS, how it works and why we use it with a GPS driven lawn mower that gave a lucky few rides around the lawn. Drones, again how and why, with each child getting to watch through the camera on the drone through a headset as it flew crazily about the school yard. Inside, the trailer was equipped with all sorts of gadgets and toys, all interactive for the kids to get their hands into and really see what was going on.
The guy talked about job opportunities and gave examples of the end results, uses, of the things they were learning in school.
That seeing reason for what they are being taught is such an important thing. I often look at my child’s homework and think how stupid and completely pointless the lessons are. I have never in my life had to know the difference between a line and a line segment. Much less how to name them. It seems so pointless fighting to make sure homework gets done when there is no conceivable point to the home work. Although I will remain convinced that 99.9 % of the people in the word will never need to know those things, it is great to have examples like this of cool, real world applications of so many of the things that seem so abstract and pointless to many of the children.
The thought of our die hard farmer son missing out on this broke my heart. I thought he would be devastated to hear about it afterwards and have missed out. So, we snuck him out of class and brought him to join in with one of the older classes as they went through. As usual with this school, the kids welcomed him. His friends int he much older group talked to him and hung out with him. He loved it as much as the older kids did. Maybe more. He did have to stay after school to make up the work he missed, but he said it was well worth it.
All lessons are learned more easily and quickly through the use of play. This great playday for the older kids made it fun and will stick with them longer than any boring classroom lecture.
A huge shout out to 21st Century equipment. Loved their educational trailer and sincerely hope the school will have them back again. Maybe for some more in depth lessons next time. The guy doing the talking said they had barely begun to scratch the surface of what could be offered.