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16245 Westside Hwy SW
Vashon, WA, 98070

206-466-7398

Homestead is a place-based multi-age learning community located on 7 acres of farm and woodlands, on Vashon’s Westside. We offer a hands-on, hearts-on embodied curriculum rooted in practices that promote social intelligence and connection to the natural world. Our curriculum seeks to provide children with tools and support for living a full, balanced and creative life by giving equal value to each of the four windows of knowing: feeling, imagining, sensing and thinking. Mentors honor each child’s unique gifts and learning styles, supported by our small mentor-student ratio. Homestead children, mentors and families journey together to create a learning community rooted in compassion,  connection and gratitude.

2013-14 weekly snapshots

week twenty-four: Song of the Swallows

Britt Freda

Song of the Swallows is a story written by Leo Politi set  in the mission of Capistrano where hundreds of swallows nest every year.  The relationship between human beings and swallows is illustrated through Old Julian the mission gardener and Juan a young lover of flowers and birds.  As Juan observes and listens to Old Julian he  is inspired by  to tend his own garden and dream for swallows to come to his home to nest . 

I was inspired to tell this wonderful story when I saw the swallows Tuesday morning, just before opening circle, flying over the fields at the farm.  I shared that, for me, the return of the swallows is confirmation that Spring has truly returned with the song of  the swallows.  It seemed a fitting way to close out our final week of our  Bird-life lesson theme block.

Other big news around Homestead this week was the arrival of four lambs and three piglets. With two broody hens setting, eleven ducks paddling about , two of our four goats pregnant, a greenhouse full of seedlings and twenty plus hens laying  …. as one student said, “There sure is a lot of life going on around here."

This week we began our Monday Workshop session working with clay at Aruba Clay Studio. For the next five weeks we will be collaborating on a clay "fire story ring."  The group sculpture that Steve, Homestead guest mentor and Rowan's Dad,  is helping us make will be fired and permanently placed in the center of our restoration project ,of the previous 5 weeks, in which we  planted a native forest in an area that had been taken over by blackberries. The sculpture will be part of a ceremonial circle the children want to create where all the trails they built join together. Steve led the children and I in a beautiful ritual in which we imprinted our hands into the base of the sculpture and then we each took a bite of the clay we worked into coils for the walls.

In math we continued working on sequences via graphs.  So far we have made a bar graph illustrating various birds' migrations in miles and we have begun to illustrate heights of trees through a graph.  The children are loving it.  I love the way it easily integrates reading, writing words, numbers and figuring out number sequences, as well as scientific facts related to our lesson theme.

Homesteaders finished their songbird sculptures.  The armatures were fashioned from wire and then wrapped in plaster cloth and finally painted with acrylics to represent their individual nature names.  It was a joyful two week long afternoon art project in which we all stood around the big table in the barn...working with our hands and  singing from our hearts while gentle Spring rains fell outside and the ducks laughed and splashed about just as joyfully.