The Applewood Experiment ||

The Applewood Experiment


Middle School is not a happy time for most people. It is most definitely not thought of as an inspiring period. In fact, between peer pressure, physiological changes, lack of sleep, and heightened parental expectations, “miserable” might be the best description.


To create a middle school experience where the love of learning can be nurtured and the art of healthy living can be practiced.


Pamela is diagnosed with breast cancer just as the school year begins.  Together with husband William (a UCLA Film Professor) and daughter Natalie, she decides to proceed with the experiment because finding a path to joyful learning and healthy living is now even more important.


Life is filled with choices. When we find the courage and tools to make healthy choices, we find happiness and success.

What is Applewood?

Applewood School consisted of one student, Natalie, one part-time student, Jiji (the cat), and two teachers, Pamela Beere Briggs (also Principal) and William McDonald (also Keeper of Records).  Applewood School was in session for two years, when we decided to home school Natalie for her 7th and 8th grade years.  During that time, Natalie published a newspaper that she titled “The Applewood Quarterly,” which included articles on subjects being covered and the “goings on” at Applewood School. “Applewood” continues to be a word we use to describe a state of mind and adventurous attitude about learning and life. We’ll be in the middle of doing something and one of us will observe, “This is so Applewood.”

The drawing of Applewood Schoolhouse

The drawing you see on this web-site of Applewood Schoolhouse was done by Andrew McEwan, of Scotland,  who we met on a train in September 2009, when he and his wife were double-booked in the same seats as us on a train journey from York,  England to London.  By the end of the train journey, a friendship had started that we continue to enjoy.