Re: No Subject

MBYeager@aol.com
Tue, 19 Nov 1996 22:57:59 -0500

I am a mother in a family which learns at home. We consist of my husband and
myself, and two children ages 13 and 9. We have been unschooling for 5 or so
years, during two of which we were also involved in a group effort to start
an SVS-model school. Judith raised some interesting points, and my comments
follow.

Q. Can one person be all things to each student?

No one person, nor any one staff of any school, can be ALL things to any
student. Fortunately, life is rich.

Q. Once again, the question of interaction with other children. Homeschool
children are mostly with their siblings....At S.V.S. (and models) children
are with other children (of all ages). How can you do that when you
homeschool?

I would say that homeschool children are mostly with their FAMILIES, rather
than with their siblings. This designation includes LOTS of other
people-possibilities for many homelearners. Yes, every homelearner I know is
involved in groups and classes, and interacts with other children. But more
importantly, because they have time and space to explore during the day, home
learners have open to them a vast world of adult activity to observe and
become involved with. BTW, they often fit into this adult-occupied world
more smoothly than their traditionally schooled counterparts because, like
SVS/model school members, they do not wear "peer group blinders."

Q. I've been asked, "How many homes are democraticly run?" I've
beentold, "You can't do both (democratic school and home,
democratic or not) in the same setting."

I do believe that a family can agree to decide some issues democratically,
and that not all issues can be nor are best decided that way in a home. The
staff at any school, SVS/model or otherwise, does not have the unique
relationship with and responsibilities toward its students as do the members
of a family. When our SVS-model school, Citrus Valley, did not open and we
chose to remain "homeschoolers", we let go of the democratic processes of the
SVS model (school meeting, judicial committee, etc.). However, we have always
had family meetings, and all of us "students" choose our own learning, both
goals and means. The most challenging part is trusting the process.

Q. After getting across to others the idea of allowing them to learn what
they are interested in, I still get asked, "What about the state?"

"Well, what about the state?" she flippantly replied. There are as many
answers as states, and as long as we stay away from the nonsense and
nightmare of "federal standards" this seems to be a (relatively) easy area to
deal with for most homelearning families. It takes educating ourselves and
being creatively responsible.

Q. Do you find that by allowing this discovery (a sense of self) to evolve,
there is less adolescent "rebelion"?

It is the work of adolescents to separate from family, to individuate, and to
go their own way in the world. Accepting this as an important and necessary
process goes a long way toward peaceful coexistence. I believe that
rebellion is a reaction against restrictive pressures when those pressures
have not yielded to any other means. When these restrictive pressures are
minimal or not present, rebellion simply isn't there.