Students’ experience at the Farm is both structured and free. Some will wake early to do chores in the barn, caring for the animals and milking the cows. Others, who have been able to sleep later, clean their rooms and then join the chores group for breakfast. Afterwards, some students clean up the dining room, others wash the dishes and the rest (except for the chores group) clean the common areas of the house. Everyone has free time until the bell for classes rings in mid-morning. This is “out-time,” when—rain, snow or shine—the children structure their own immersion in the outdoors, checking out tadpoles in the frog pond, turning over rocks in the stream, swinging on the swing, hiking up Thyme Hill, visiting the animals in the barn or just playing with the Farm’s cats.
The remainder of the morning is devoted to farm classes. Younger students are assigned to classes by activity group. Older students negotiate individually for the four-to-five spots in each class—farming, cooking, nature and textiles. Occasionally there are extra classes in local history or folk music and field trips to learn about local initiatives in farming and renewable energy. (The basics of renewable energy, including the functioning of our solar panels, are included in farming classes. See the Farm Curriculum page for more details.)
At mid-day, students gather for lunch, prepared by the morning’s cooking class and followed by the usual cleanup jobs. A longer, post-lunch free time allows an opportunity for recreational activities such as ball games, sledding, snowshoeing, jumping in the hayloft, board games and table tennis. Following an afternoon snack, the children meet to divide into afternoon classes. In the hour before dinner, a different group of students complete chores in the barn. For the rest, the classroom teachers—who are an important part of the Farm faculty during Farm trips—may organize journal writing or rest time.
The students gather to eat dinner together. The meal is prepared by students in the afternoon cooking class. Others set the table and help with clean up.
Following dinner, there is an evening activity or two, from field games to Sardines to skits, and then bedtime. After a long, active day—much of it outdoors—students usually sleep very well in their bunk beds, knowing that they have played an important part in running the Farm.