In Spring 2019, we attended a museum class featuring transformations in nature. At the end of the learning day, students were gifted with Painted Lady caterpillars!

Here are some resources in case you’d like to know more about caterpillars:

Youtube playlist: Caterpillars

Deep dives on specific types of caterpillars: Arctiinae, Saturniidae

Anatomy for kids who want to make a drawing before/after they know more about caterpillars or with a resource that features scanning electron microscope images.


Legalese: Hold Harmless Agreement

We are slowly organising our organisation which means legal documents and the attendant requirements that go along with them.

In order to be able to offer field classes in the wilds of California and elsewhere, in cities and towns, or even to offer labs and lab demonstrations, we ask two things of participants in our classes:

(1) Every minor has a legally responsible adult accompanying them and

(2) Please sign a Hold Harmless agreement which provides legal protection to the School and its people.

For your convenience, we are making this document available for your perusal here. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to share them with us.

Introducing Badges!

One of my favorite movie lines comes from Mel Brooks’ insane comedy Western, Blazing Saddles:

“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”

As a longtime unschooler, I’ve encountered people who question if what our family does qualifies as teaching. On the surface, I am pretty far out on the side of do it and they will learn. But just below the surface, there’s much about teaching and learning that I am doing and observing. As a scientist, I like to record, over time, the multifaceted personal development, knowledge and skill acquisition of my kiddo. As an unschool mom, I’m uninterested in grading, I’m interested in curiosity cultivation, joy of learning, and building upon strong foundations of trust and scholarship.

As someone who believes passionately in multi-age experiential learning, I feel an obligation and a privilege to communicate clearly with the other families undertaking this journey with us. It’s exciting to have a technology that sits at the intersection of these diverse needs and goals. It’s called digital badges.

At Forest Grove School we are implementing digital open badges (about Open Badges: text | video) to complement each field class. The badges that may be awarded after a field class speak to the learning objectives met for that class. Everyone taking a class with us is on a personalized trajectory of learning and the badges reflect that learning over time AND serve as a record of learning should your homeschool practice want or need such evidence. In conjunction with our syllabi, these badges also serve as shareable criterion-based markers of learning for college-bound high schoolers’ narrative recordkeeping.

Example: Check out the Mushroom Hunter badge.

We believe passionately in privacy so will not use your child’s name whenever we issue a badge. Instead we will assign a unique ID  number (UID) to your child(ren) and award badges in the name of that UID which are then sent to your email address. If you have attended one of our earlier field trips this year, or are registered for our January trip, emails will go out at the end of this week with these ID numbers as assigned to your child(ren).

Badges are not a replacement for a teacher recommendation letter and we will still offer those per our guidelines.

Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to reach out! I will compile a FAQ from any questions asked and post here.

— Linda

PS: Grownups, you’ll be there too: Let us know if you’d like to be issued a badge!

Sight Words Explained

In Academic Year 2018-2019, we are educating a kindergarten student with the help of California Virtual Academies (CAVA) as well as additional resources.

The Kindergarten Sight Words tinycards deck is inspired by a list of sight words shared by our CAVA Kindergarten teacher with the addition of the words Ms. and hers to round out the list of polite titles (Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms.) and to include the feminine possessive in addition to the masculine (his).

Posted in K