Ten years ago, Theresa Heary-Selah was hired by the Farm School to create a Middle School Cooperative. She was given an empty chicken coop and four students. Ben Holmes, the founder of The Farm School, stated that, “With a truly galvanizing combination of intelligence, vitality and humor, Theresa created a full-fledged school and community where none had existed before, filled with countless firmly established learning practices and newly minted traditions. Under her guidance, each and every one of her students has reached his or her fullest potential and left both a stronger learner and a more confident person and has graduated – in a ceremony of Theresa’s own creation-to great success in widely varied high schools.”

Now, Theresa has created SHINE, which is an academic and social support program for Middle School students in Western New England. The students receive engaging, relevant curriculum, with a group of peers with whom they meet monthly. Theresa states, “The students spend the entire year in Shine creating a Utopia. At the end of the year, the students have an informed world view, gained by examining issues from many cultural perspectives, reflecting on carefully chosen readings and videos, and exploring ideas with their peers. At the monthly meetings, students engage in simulations and experiences to help them understand different ways that people can make communities and exist together.”  Shine is a for-profit venture. She does, however, welcome barters in the form of pasture raised meat and home-grown vegetables. You can read more about Shine at .

Theresa is also blogging for WiZiQ, which is a great resource for homeschooling families. You can read one of Theresa’s posts at

I found Theresa online–and I found SHINE to be a great fit for homeschoolers in her area.

Ann Simpson

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