Re: Home Schooling

Scott David Gray (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 09:35:12 -0400 (EDT)

Hi Alex,

> Yes, I know that lots of kids are satisfied with SVS. Can there really
> be a one true way to educate ones children? I hope that for every child
> there is a system that will work and I wish him well in finding it. There
> may well be problems with homeschooling, but please don't completely
> disregard it in the way that more traditional educators once disregarded
> you. For some people it does work.

Obviously, there are many ways in which people can learn and grow.
The fundamental question is, _who_ has the right/authority to decide
_which_ means a person will use to learn and grow? I find that most (but
not all) homeschooling is intended to allow a parent-driven curriculum
rather than a teacher-driven curriculum. Even in cases of homeschooling
in which the parents are _opposed_ to having a curriculum, _most_
superintendants of education (or others overseeing homeschoolers) insist
that the parents show _some_ kind of lesson plan, and that the students
pass _some_ kind of tests. It is a very rare homeschooling situation in
which it is _possible_ to leave learning entirely in the hands of the
Sudbury Valley, on the other hand, sets up an environment where there
is _no_ curriculum. Kids (and adults) may decide for themselves what
interests to pursue and how.

As a secondary point, I think many kids find it very valuable to have
a place, with friends, where their parents aren't. They find it valuable
to be able to forge their _own_ relationship with the world, as distinct
from their _family's_ relationship with the world. Sudbury Valley can be
such a place.

In short, I agree with your point that there are many ways by which a
person can learn. However, I disagree with the notion that _any_ person
but the student should have control over the student's learning situation.
I have never seen a homeschooling situation in which the parents were able
to give the complete independence that is avilable in Sudbury Valley.

> - Alex Weiss, former student

--Scott David Gray, former student
reply to:
Leisure is essential to civilization, and in former times leisure for the
few was only rendered possible by the labours of the many. But their
labours were valuable, not because work is good, but because leisure is
good. And with modern technique it would be possible to distribute
leisure justly without injury to civilization.

-- Lord Bertrand Russell, 1932, _In_Praise_of_Idleness_.