The Farm School
Located in Summertown, Tennessee (about an hour and a half South-Southwest of Nashville), The Farm School has been serving The Farm Community and selected students from outside the community since 1971. Established as a one-room school, we are now a K-12 educational resource center housed in a beautiful passive solar building serving day students from The Farm community and the surrounding area and over 1200 international home-based learners through The Farm School Satellite Campuses Program (TFS-SCP).
A world of liberated, actualized individuals that see our selves as semi-autonomous wholes and as interdependent parts capable of working with instead of against each other and our planet.
Supporting individuals learning how to create our own paths through life and how to put our differences together as we interact, form relationships and build community with each other and the rest of the world.
Each of us is different in oh so many ways, when we put our gifts together, like an orchestra we play.
If you are proud to be a member of an inclusive community and believe that diversity is a source of strength, welcome home.
Our Approach to Learning begins with three key ideas.
- We are Individuals
Each of us is born one of a kind with unique gifts and special needs and each of us follows our own path through life. These differences make us interesting to each other and enable us to make unique contributions to society.
- We are Social Beings
We are social beings with a natural desire to interact with each other as we each interact with our world. All learning results from these interactions.
- We Can Become Communities
When we are free to express ourselves and are skilled at communicating our differing and potentially conflicting points of view, we can put our gifts together and complete projects as a community that we would be unable to complete as independent individuals.
- We view learning as a natural activity.
Our educational philosophy begins with the belief that all people have a natural desire to learn and grow, and that all aspects of life are a part of a person’s education.
- We emphasize our connection to nature.
We see human beings as parts of, and dependent on, a web of life that we are capable of enriching or destroying. To help us develop a reverence for the natural world that will help us build towards a sustainable culture we spend as much time observing and interacting with nature as we can.
- We see each of us as gifted and unique.
Our goal is helping all learners develop their unique strengths and overcome their unique challenges on their way to self actualization and personal liberation.
- We are a relationship-based learning community.
We are a community of diverse individuals connected by deep relationships; we all learn with and from each other. We invite our wider communities to join us and we spend much of our time learning out in these communities.
- We are powered by diversity.
We believe that the wisest communities are powered by diversity. We are fortunate to include families diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, ability, religion and sexual orientation.
- We practice compassionate communication.
Our differences are resources. We practice listening to each other and honoring each other’s voices. We speak to express ourselves and listen to learn from each other.
- We provide a cooperative learning environment.
We use cooperation, not competition as a model. Intimidation and authoritarian means of implementing learning programs are not part of the agenda so learners have the freedom to be who they are without interference or judgment.
- We are an interest-based learning community.
Learners are encouraged to pursue their zeal, in a relaxed setting of encouragement and with a variety of resources.
- We use a responsive project-based curriculum.
We learn science, math, technology, social science and communication arts (i.e., languages, music and other art forms) as well as other social, emotional and practical skills as we engage in projects that come from our hearts.
- We are a self-governing learning community.
Our governance is one of our key ongoing projects. We make agreements about how we function as a learning community (e.g., how we: resolve conflicts, schedule activities and do assessment) during meetings where each of us has an equal voice.
- We are a spiritual learning community.
We see everything as interconnected and strive to be kind to ourselves, each other, our communities and our planet. Beyond that, we deeply respect all religious beliefs and faiths including atheism and agnosticism and require no statement of faith of any kind.