Archive for January, 2013

A Job Well Done

by Shawna Lee, staff member Every week for 30 minutes or more, between 10 and 20 students pitch in to pull thistle, blackberry and invasive reed canary grass from a large area of our campus along North Creek. Clearwater's School Meeting partnered with Snohomish County Surface Water Management and Clearwater Commons to restore and replant an area along the creek with native trees and shrubs. The

Comments off

A Job Well Done

by Shawna Lee, staff member Every week for 30 minutes or more, between 10 and 20 students pitch in to pull thistle, blackberry and invasive reed canary grass from a large area of our campus along North Creek. Clearwater's School Meeting partnered with Snohomish County Surface Water Management and Clearwater Commons to restore and replant an area along the creek with native trees and shrubs. The

Comments off

The Art of Choice

When you’re free, as are Rising Tide School students, to choose how to spend your days, weeks, and life, how do you choose to fill that time?  How do you learn to use your time well, to further your goals and to have an enjoyable, engaged, experience of life?  Sounds simple, but it’s not.

Most of us, when fantasizing about what we’d do with unlimited free time, have a laundry list of ways we’d like to relax and creative projects we’d finally start.  But in fact, when we have unlimited free time, if we haven’t learned to follow our inner compass, we’re likely to procrastinate, make excuses, and let tasks fill up our days, getting no closer than before to the life of our dreams.  We’ve probably all experienced this at some point.  To actually spend our time in pursuit of our dreams takes strategy, discipline, and a willingness to confront the demons that keep us from being who we want to be.  (The real secret here is that it doesn’t take more time to start living the life we want, it takes more commitment.  Much more difficult to deliver.)

Sometimes, Sudbury kids, either when first arriving at the school, or when in a period of boredom, will choose to do nothing with their time, or very little.  They may have come to the school excited to do more art, or to read all the time, or to create huge projects that they’ve never had time for, but instead of that, they do nothing.  Sometimes they’ll do a great deal of nothing and won’t take the even small steps, for example, to get certified to use the art supplies, or the computers, or to use the school’s many interesting resources.  They’ll talk endlessly about being bored rather than take a step to do anything.  I imagine it could be excruciating for parents to watch this, and even for me as a staff member, I have to let go of judgment from time to time.  It took me a long time of observing and pondering to understand why kids would come into this rich, resource-filled space and do absolutely nothing, but I recently had an aha! moment that is helping me to understand this much better.

It has to do with being handed personal responsibility for their time.   Perhaps, in another environment,  they would be happy to draw if someone got out the paper and markers for them and put it all away afterward.  They might happily do some other activity that was planned for them and required no commitment.  But when confronted with full personal responsibility for each choice, they feel differently.  They really weigh the costs and benefits of committing to a project, and they choose accordingly.  If they choose to do nothing for some time, they are really making a deep consideration of which projects are truly worth their life energy and commitment.  This is not laziness or lack of ability to move forward, it’s actually the development of a very mature skill that any of us who struggle with meaningless busyness as adults could learn from.

What I see over time is that students become completely impeccable in how they choose to spend their time.  They only choose to do something if they are sure they want to do it.  They only take on the projects that really speak to them.  They really own their time, making it work for them.  Being busy for its own sake does not impress them.  They aren’t trying to get anything on their resume unless it means something to them.

The big learning really came for me when I connected the dots between choosy Sudbury kids and the adult Sudbury alums whom I’ve met.  Sudbury-educated adults always seem completely tuned in to what they are passionate about doing, and they’re always actually doing it.  I have yet to meet a Sudbury adult who fantasizes about living their dreams “someday.”  I honestly think they don’t know how to live any other way but fully plugged in, fully engaged, fully themselves, doing what they love to do.  I also notice that they are very clear about defining success on their own terms.  I haven’t yet met a Sudbury adult who was motivated to put the appearance of “success” above actual self-defined success in an area of passionate engagement. Sudbury adults seem to be constantly at their learning edge, seeking experiences that stimulate and stretch their abilities.  I also have yet to meet a stagnant Sudbury adult.

It’s clear to me now that Sudbury kids learn, by trial and error, to consistently fill their time with activities that are meaningful and growthful.  Then, when out in the world, they are perfectly prepared to home in on the activities, jobs, people, and relationships that they need to be fulfilled and to keep learning.  What a gift to our children, to offer them this opportunity to learn how to fill their time well, fully, and meaningfully.  I can’t imagine a skill that is more likely to serve young people regardless of the life circumstances they encounter as adults.

posted by Abbe


Comments off

The Art of Choice

When you’re free, as are Rising Tide School students, to choose how to spend your days, weeks, and life, how do you choose to fill that time?  How do you learn to use your time well, to further your goals and to have an enjoyable, engaged, experience of life?  Sounds simple, but it’s not.

Most of us, when fantasizing about what we’d do with unlimited free time, have a laundry list of ways we’d like to relax and creative projects we’d finally start.  But in fact, when we have unlimited free time, if we haven’t learned to follow our inner compass, we’re likely to procrastinate, make excuses, and let tasks fill up our days, getting no closer than before to the life of our dreams.  We’ve probably all experienced this at some point.  To actually spend our time in pursuit of our dreams takes strategy, discipline, and a willingness to confront the demons that keep us from being who we want to be.  (The real secret here is that it doesn’t take more time to start living the life we want, it takes more commitment.  Much more difficult to deliver.)

Sometimes, Sudbury kids, either when first arriving at the school, or when in a period of boredom, will choose to do nothing with their time, or very little.  They may have come to the school excited to do more art, or to read all the time, or to create huge projects that they’ve never had time for, but instead of that, they do nothing.  Sometimes they’ll do a great deal of nothing and won’t take the even small steps, for example, to get certified to use the art supplies, or the computers, or to use the school’s many interesting resources.  They’ll talk endlessly about being bored rather than take a step to do anything.  I imagine it could be excruciating for parents to watch this, and even for me as a staff member, I have to let go of judgment from time to time.  It took me a long time of observing and pondering to understand why kids would come into this rich, resource-filled space and do absolutely nothing, but I recently had an aha! moment that is helping me to understand this much better.

It has to do with being handed personal responsibility for their time.   Perhaps, in another environment,  they would be happy to draw if someone got out the paper and markers for them and put it all away afterward.  They might happily do some other activity that was planned for them and required no commitment.  But when confronted with full personal responsibility for each choice, they feel differently.  They really weigh the costs and benefits of committing to a project, and they choose accordingly.  If they choose to do nothing for some time, they are really making a deep consideration of which projects are truly worth their life energy and commitment.  This is not laziness or lack of ability to move forward, it’s actually the development of a very mature skill that any of us who struggle with meaningless busyness as adults could learn from.

What I see over time is that students become completely impeccable in how they choose to spend their time.  They only choose to do something if they are sure they want to do it.  They only take on the projects that really speak to them.  They really own their time, making it work for them.  Being busy for its own sake does not impress them.  They aren’t trying to get anything on their resume unless it means something to them.

The big learning really came for me when I connected the dots between choosy Sudbury kids and the adult Sudbury alums whom I’ve met.  Sudbury-educated adults always seem completely tuned in to what they are passionate about doing, and they’re always actually doing it.  I have yet to meet a Sudbury adult who fantasizes about living their dreams “someday.”  I honestly think they don’t know how to live any other way but fully plugged in, fully engaged, fully themselves, doing what they love to do.  I also notice that they are very clear about defining success on their own terms.  I haven’t yet met a Sudbury adult who was motivated to put the appearance of “success” above actual self-defined success in an area of passionate engagement. Sudbury adults seem to be constantly at their learning edge, seeking experiences that stimulate and stretch their abilities.  I also have yet to meet a stagnant Sudbury adult.

It’s clear to me now that Sudbury kids learn, by trial and error, to consistently fill their time with activities that are meaningful and growthful.  Then, when out in the world, they are perfectly prepared to home in on the activities, jobs, people, and relationships that they need to be fulfilled and to keep learning.  What a gift to our children, to offer them this opportunity to learn how to fill their time well, fully, and meaningfully.  I can’t imagine a skill that is more likely to serve young people regardless of the life circumstances they encounter as adults.

posted by Abbe


Comments off

Winter Cafe – Sneak Peek!

by Shawna Lee, staff member The Clearwater School is celebrating Groundhog Day (February 2, 2012) by hosting the second annual Winter Cafe, an inspirational showcase of student solo and group performances. The showcase will be preceded by a potluck at 12:30pm, and performances begin at 2:00pm. Donations of $5 per person are requested for the performance. Everyone is welcome, but space is

Comments off

Winter Cafe – Sneak Peek!

by Shawna Lee, staff member The Clearwater School is celebrating Groundhog Day (February 2, 2012) by hosting the second annual Winter Cafe, an inspirational showcase of student solo and group performances. The showcase will be preceded by a potluck at 12:30pm, and performances begin at 2:00pm. Donations of $5 per person are requested for the performance. Everyone is welcome, but space is

Comments off

Winter Cafe – Sneak Peek!

by Shawna Lee, staff member The Clearwater School is celebrating Groundhog Day (February 2, 2012) by hosting the second annual Winter Cafe, an inspirational showcase of student solo and group performances. The showcase will be preceded by a potluck at 12:30pm, and performances begin at 2:00pm. Donations of $5 per person are requested for the performance. Everyone is welcome, but space is

Comments off

Winter Cafe – Sneak Peek!

by Shawna Lee, staff member The Clearwater School is celebrating Groundhog Day (February 2, 2012) by hosting the second annual Winter Cafe, an inspirational showcase of student solo and group performances. The showcase will be preceded by a potluck at 12:30pm, and performances begin at 2:00pm. Donations of $5 per person are requested for the performance. Everyone is welcome, but space is

Comments off

Jamming

by Bryan Back at Clearwater after several days' absence, stressed out about lots of things, and not really sure I had the energy to be fully present at school, I was asked to sit in with a number of students practicing on their musical act. That was something I could do. There's nothing like jamming with other musicians, and by now the group is at a very exciting point -- musicians are sure

Comments off

Jamming

by Bryan Back at Clearwater after several days' absence, stressed out about lots of things, and not really sure I had the energy to be fully present at school, I was asked to sit in with a number of students practicing on their musical act. That was something I could do. There's nothing like jamming with other musicians, and by now the group is at a very exciting point -- musicians are sure

Comments off