Re: Homeschooling and SVS

Dale R. Reed (
Tue, 19 Nov 1996 21:34:39 -0800

Monica wrote:
> For some time I have had questions similar to
> Judith's. I do not home-teach (it is illegal in Israel), and
> we're all hoping we (that is, my daughter) can get in the
> SVS-model school that is supposed to open in our area next
> September. (If we don't then I guess I will be forced to
> break the law and keep her home). My questions were related to
> what aspects of parenting should resemble SVS 'teaching', and
> what aspects should not.
> In your response to Judith you mention that if you had
> to start a school now you would not use the SVS model.
> Why not?

Because I believe that there is a bigger demand for tough academically
challenging learning environments than for the more progressive SVS
environments. Certainly there will always be room for both but if I was
expecting to make a profit in my neck of the woods I would not open a
SVS type school. Also I am just not emotionally prepared to let a child
"waste" all of his or her valuable hours especially if their parents
were paying me more tuition than what could be justified for baby
sitting. But fortunately there are people like Daniel Greenberg that
can do this for they are obviously some children(and possibly a lot more
than I imagine) that can benefit from the SVS experience for a lot more
years than I imagine.

I think that the parents are responsible for their children's education
so any school that allows the parents absolute control over the
children's education is OK with me. I do not advise any parent to trust
any school and its teachers or staff to care more about their children
than the parent does.

Now if you can find a SVS type school that will allow you unlimited
access even inviting you warmly to visit the school at anytime giving
you voting membership in all governing bodies....... And as a result of
your close association with the school you are comfortable that you and
your children are getting your moneys worth and it is clearly superior
to the alternatives then cool, go for it. But make sure as the years go
by the children are clearly liking it, learning and maturing as you
expect them to.

> Would many people choose to home-school instead of
> going to an SVS-type school? Why?

Cost. I can not imagine spending thousands of dollars a year to have a
boy of mine fish all day now that we have passed the homeschooling laws.
If the school is providing services worth the thousands thats fine but I
do not understand what those services can be in 1996. In 1968 of
course, in 1978 sure, in 1988 well maybe but in 1996 with all the less
expensive alternatives, no way.

Also I believe that younger children should learn to be alone in there
own families culture developing their own personality before being
thrown into a group of children. Eventually they have to work with other
people but I think Grace Llewellyn's unschooling ideas of living Real
Lives working with others including adults is better advice for many
children. School in a building is an artificial place that is OK for
certain purposes but not for just hanging out for most people.

But more importantly I observe that it is a dog eat dog world out here
where the best thinkers and the most knowledgable are going to earn the
big bucks and satisfactions. I think that the way most of us learned
when we were three is best, the same when we were four and this
unschooling self directed learning model can and should extend forever
for some artistic and homebusiness type folks but eventually most humans
will have to compete with others and the faster and more accurately they
can calculate in their heads, write interesting reports and articles, do
investigative science, design skyscrapers and airplanes.... Lots of
hard Algebra and Calculus and History and English learn and
it cannot all be done a couple weeks before a SAT test. But different
strokes for different folks. Just make sure that your children have the
oportunity to learn the hard stuff if they show any indication that they
will eventually want to work as a middle manager of a huge aerospace or
automobile or drug or petroleum or...... company.
> The school day in Israel is basically a 4.5 hour day,
> six times a week. I felt this would give my kids all the
> benefits; being in an SVS environment with all the different
> people and all the materials it can provide, while still being
> at home a large proportion of the day.
> What do you all think of this?

I think you and your children should visit the school while it is
session before you put any money down. If you and your children like it
then get a clear contract that you intend to continue to be responsible
for your children(Katy had to tell the headmaster of the little private
school that our two boys were in 15 years ago that if the boys were not
behaving to tell me. We did not want him hitting the boys like he was
used to doing all his other students) and would be dropping in from time
to time and the staff was to keep you informed if their were any
concerns. I think if you do it right and the school is compatible your
children could benefit from the interaction with the other children and
equipment and I assume achademically inclined staff. From what I have
heard of SVS and most of the other SVS type schools it is very fine
place to be and maybe the best place to be for some children and maybe
that includes your children Monica.

By the way it is 2130 now in Seattle and I have been at this computer
most of the day writing to people from Israel to Norway to Georgia USA
and I am pooping out. I apologize for mispellings and nonsense but I am
going to connect to the telephone line to mail the Outbox, collect all
my new mail and get back to reading "Beyond the Classroom" by Laurence
Steinberg before I go to bed. He has lots of data and conclusions worth
considering. Dale