Fairhaven Blog

Giving Tuesday – FHS Tuition Assistance Program

Please consider donating to Fairhaven School this Giving Tuesday! Every contribution helps lessen the burden for Fairhaven families who are providing their children a unique and empowering education. You can assist us in meeting the goal that cost will never prevent families from enrolling their children in Fairhaven School! Thank you in advance, from the entire Fairhaven community.

Field Notes: All This Hanging Out

Note that word, Aristotle’s “society.” On a macro level, the design of this school is to create an independent, interesting world with coequal freedom and responsibility, a society, if you will, with the explicit recognition that being social here is the best preparation for success in the larger society. Doing things together, then—social activities—may just represent the most important activity here.

Friends and Freedom: What New Students Have to Say

As we begin the 2019-2020 school year, we have continued last year’s remarkable pace of enrolling new students! We talked to several of them to collect their thoughts on joining Fairhaven School. As you can see from the following quotes from our newest members, if you are considering enrolling your child, you can expect them to soon enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Welcome Back to Fairhaven School!

Many interviews with prospective families begin with questions and answers about the bread and butter of traditional schools: classes, tests, homework. Soon, however the conversation shifts to learning, and we inevitably discuss the vital and creative human process known as play, probably the most common activity at Fairhaven School.

Fairhaven School and Unschooling

More and more families who contact Fairhaven tell us that they are “unschooling” their children, and the growth of curriculum-free homeschoolers seems to be increasing. Although we try to clarify the difference between the two approaches in interviews and conversations with prospective families, it’s a complex topic, especially since each family who adopts this style of homeschooling necessarily creates a distinct experience for their children.

Field Notes: Being Ignored

“I called out to three passing boys: “Have a great weekend!” No response came… If play and engagement can attain urgency, they embodied this state, as if encased in their own world. My heartfelt goodbye, then, went unnoticed. Seldom has being ignored felt better.”

Field Notes: Bikers (Part 2)

“Truly, the particular activity of riding bikes serves as a wonderful metaphor for Fairhaven School’s ethos. Students here function independently and on their own schedules, moving through space and time as their own masters. What better exemplifies this than biking for hours on end across campus?”

Field Notes: Bikers (Part 1)

If you have been on campus this spring, you have seen them: anywhere from a few up to a dozen students, riding their bikes. Throw in the occasional skateboarder, scooter rider, and homemade go-cart captain, and the locomotion on campus this year is impressive, providing an opportunity to dig deeper into the world Fairhaven students create.

Field Notes: Conversation

As so often happens here, the ordinary became the extraordinary, simply because we had the time and the mutual respect to practice the ancient art of conversation, of speaking and listening. Fairhaven is, among many other things, teeming with conversations, and this one was both typical and noteworthy, an especially lively portion of Ruefle’s lifelong sentence. Isn’t the spoken word perhaps the most important distinction of the human species? We recognize and honor this distinction here. Instead of sit down, be quiet, and do you work, our instruction is: do what excites you and talk!

Erasing Any Doubt – A Parent’s Perspective

The candidates were prepared, genuine, intuitive in their interactions, and open to all kinds of feedback in a way that had to have erased any lingering doubt for any attendee about what Fairhaven graduates are ready for after graduation. They’re ready for whatever they can dream up, and they’ve had the gift of time, space, and access to unique resources to prepare for their own adult lives using approaches that the “gap year” after traditional high school is becoming so popular for these days. Fairhaven students have had “gap lives” in all the best ways. They’re so ready.

Why Join Fairhaven School?

“Being able to have a voice at a young age is something I value a lot. At Fairhaven, I like being able to actually have an opinion and have that opinion matter. It’s different here, because my opinion impacts the environment—the rules, J.C. sentences, and so on. I actually have freedom of speech here, but in public school, telling someone who’s older than you that they’re doing something wrong or that you don’t agree with will get you in trouble. Here, my opinion matters.” Student, age 15


Just another Tuesday in the Chesapeake Room. With Clue on Stage a week away from its premiere, the student director and crew have set up the room as a theater-in-the-round to resemble the board game, with different rooms in different

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