Frequently Asked Questions
What is a semester school?
A semester school offers immersive, semester-long experiences that infuse perspective and rich experiential learning into the high school or college years.
What grade levels does this program serve?
The program accepts students in their junior and senior years of high school, and students taking a "gap year" (between high school and college). We are also accepting of high school graduates who are not college bound.
Is this program open to students who don’t live in Maine?
The program welcomes all students. However, because the program is place-based, we aim to serve many students from our place, Maine.
How many students are in the program?
We work with up to 12 students per semester.
Who are the teachers at Maine Local Living School?
Our teachers come from both traditional and outdoor educational backgrounds. Chris Knapp, founder and core teacher, holds a Master's of Environmental Education and has 25 years of experience in full time homesteading and ecological living. Learn more about our teachers here.
What courses does the Living-In-Maine program offer?
The Living-in-Maine Semester curriculum, like the ecosystem we study, is inherently interconnected. That being said, the curriculum can be segmented into five traditional disciplines: Natural Science; English Literature and Composition; History; Human Ecology; and Physical Education and Life Skills. We also weave the discipline of the Arts throughout our curriculum. Read more about the curriculum here.
Is Maine Local Living School accredited?
We are not an accredited school at this time. We will work with your sending school to insure credit is given. Read more about receiving high school credit here.
Do students stay on track academically, and how does a semester experience affect the college process?
Outdoor and experiential education has proven over and over to increase academic engagement and performance. Please let us know ahead of time if you will be in the college application process while at Maine Local Living School so we can make plans to support you.
How do we support learning differences?
We strive to meet each student where they are and are able to develop IEP’s that match a student’s learning differences. Our experience also shows that learners who struggle in traditional settings often thrive in experiential contexts.
What is the role of technology in this program?
This program is a rare opportunity to "unplug" from the world of technology and “plug into” the wisdom of the human and earth communities. Assignments are written by hand, while books and direct observation form the basis of inquiry. We have zero cell reception on the land and ask that students don’t bring cell phones or laptops. That being said, we are not anti-technology; we are pro-experience. Students will have access to the internet when it is needed as a research tool.
How do students communicate with home?
Students are asked to write home bi-weekly via snail mail. We also have a land line that is available for a weekly call home.
What is a typical day during the Living-in-Maine Semester like?
See our Daily Rhythms page for more information.
What do students do on the weekend?
On the weekend, our learning community must still meet its needs, so we will have chores and meals as normal. However, weekends often have a greater degree of unstructured time and opportunity to pursue personal projects. Sometimes expeditions or other learning experiences are folded into the weekend. So long as COVID remains a threat, students will not go home on the weekends. Once COVID is not a threat, local students will be welcome to go home every third weekend to reconnect with family. Students from away are welcome and expected to stay for the duration of the program.
Where do students live during the semester?
Students live in earth lodges which are modeled after the traditional homes of the Cree People. Housing is all-gender unless otherwise decided by the group, via facilitated discussion.
What is the campus like at Maine Local Living School?
Read more about our campus here!
Do students need to purchase special gear and equipment in order to attend the program?
We have very few gear requirements and want to make sure that purchasing gear is not a barrier to any student's participation in the program. We have some to loan and can work with students to acquire used and low-cost gear if needed. We will share a packing list closer to the semester start.
Is financial aid available?
Read more about our sliding scale tuition and scholarships here.
Can prospective and admitted students visit the campus?
We are excited to meet students during the Admitted and Prospective Students Weekend, Nov. 20-21, 2021. We also invite students and their families to attend our online Q&A session.
What is your policy on drugs and alcohol?
Maine Local Living School has a zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol. Possession or use of drugs or alcohol is grounds for dismissal.
What COVID safety protocols will be in place during the semester?
We will solidify our COVID policy closer to the time of the program based on the most recent recommendations. In summary we will continue to take the pandemic seriously and take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of participants.