~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS8 student Kaleb Kramer. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s learning goals. Kaleb is from Ostrander, Ohio where he attends the Ohio Virtual Academy.~
Dancing with the Snowflakes
Conserve School Learning Goal: After successfully completing a Conserve School semester, a student frequently takes time for outdoor play and reflection.
Wind whistles through the fibers of my hat, singing a counterpoint to the snow and ice keening beneath my skis. I lean to one side and glide slowly to the left, hurriedly picking one of the skis up and moving it to one side so I don’t topple over into the solid snow, adding to my collection of skiing scrapes. Nature’s symphony quiets down as I begin coasting up the next hill, and kick off to reach the top, settling back into the rhythm I had developed as I glided across the blue trail.
The week before, I would not have even tried to ski the trail. I would have thought I had too much homework to finish before taking time to go skiing, even on a weekend. Warm and sunny weather changed my mind. It was too beautiful to stay inside and work on schoolwork.
The last time I had thought that had been in early middle school. It was at that time I’d switched to a perspective that academics were the most important thing I could be doing, and that everything else could only happen once schoolwork was finished. That only got worse once I started high school and school days jumped from six hours to over twelve hours. There was not enough time for anything else while maintaining grades that met my expectations for myself, especially last semester when I added college classes.
A month here has changed that though. Starting with the warm weather, I started deciding to get outside more because being inside all the time has started stifling me. I just need to get outside. I don’t remember feeling that before. Going outside has always been amazingly helpful for me, but I just couldn’t prioritize in a way that got me outdoors enough.
I really realized that during this trip around the blue loop. I’ve wanted to ski that trail for a while now, but never could quite find time to do it after I completed my homework. So, I decided to do an hour of homework and then ski it, leaving the rest for that evening. It was magnificent. Nobody else was on the trail at the time, so it was incredibly quiet and peaceful.
It really snowballed me in the face with the realization of how much I have missed out by being too obsessed with classwork. I also realized how much I love cross country skiing. I had been slowly realizing that I was obsessing too much over schoolwork, but this dance across the snow accompanied by the orchestra of wind and snow really made it click. I’m really going to try and keep up cross-country skiing when I go home. (Snowshoeing is a different story though.)
~Kaleb Kramer, Conserve School Semester 8
More photos of students enjoying cross country skiing this semester at Conserve School.
Conserve School provides a semester-long immersion for high school students in environmental studies and outdoor activities that deepens their love of nature, reinforces their commitment to conservation, and equips them to take meaningful action as environmental stewards. Thanks to the generosity of Conserve School’s friends and its founder James Lowenstine all accepted students receive significant scholarship support.