Thursday, April 12, 2007

Student Land-Use Symposium

I took Marina and some of her homeschooling friends to the Student Land Use Symposium yesterday. This is a valuable event our county holds that teaches students about the process of planning environmentally friendly and economically sound development. They focus on an real parcel of land that is being considered for development. Kids are given different roles, like environmental planner, developer, planning board consultant, small business owner, etc. They meet with mentors who teach them about their role and their particular concerns when planning a development, then the students have a mock trial to show them the procedure at a planning board meeting. Afterward, they broke into groups with a map of our focus area to decide how they would develop it.

My little group was a bit weirded out by the school groups, although that might have been because some of my homeschoolers were the youngest there. They did have a great laugh over some very interesting girls who declared themselves “so cool they were weird.” At the end of the day, one of these girls said , “Well, goodbye homeschooler!” And then she held up her hands and made finger quote marks (“ “) for emphasis. My group thought this was incredibly funny and talked about it at length.

Much thanks to our fearless leader Scott, park ranger from our nature center class, for inviting homeschoolers to an event that is usually attended solely by public school children. He and his girlfriend also spent the night assembling all the work the homeschoolers had collected for a display on native and invasive plants and invasive seed dispersal. I think the worst part of it was getting up in the wee hours of the morning (6:30AM) to get everyone together and out the door by 7:30. All I know is my daughter is not a morning person, and after years of child imposed sleep deprivation, neither am I.

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