Homeschool/dem school
Fri, 24 Oct 1997 12:35:57 -0400

Dear SVSers:
I've been reading a bit of the discussion about homeschooling, but
haven't had time to respond. I'm in the process of preparing to do a
presentation on democratic decision-making and alternative schools
for the Ministry of Education in Prague, the Czech Republic, leaving in
ten days. Albert Lamb of Summerhill will co-present. I'll visit
Summerhill on the way back.

Last summer when I brought the group with me to the International
Democratic Education Conference at the Sands School, in England, one
of the students in our group was Mariah Moates, a 14 year old
homeschooler from Virginia. Her older brother had previously done
some traveling with us in, and she wantet her chance. I had helped
her brother when he became a homeschooler and was trying find his
own interests. He wanted to learn about business, so I brought him to
lower Broadway to see the wholesalers and importers. He set up a
little business selling dark glasses. He was interested in veteranary
medicine, so we set him up in an internship with one back in
Virginia. At 14 he was helping in surgery. He was interested in
organic farming, and set up an internship at an organic farm. By 15
he was managing the farm. Then a Ba'hai' group asked him if he
would go to South Africa to teach organic farming and help build a
school. He raised the airfare and went, at 15, staying for half a year.
While he was there he contacted Radford College, in Virginia, because
they had an international program in which he was interested. He got
people to sent letters of recommendation. When he returned he was
accepted into the college, at 16, with no high school transcript, no
SATs, no GED. With a 3.65 average in the first year, he got a full
scholarship in the second year. He is now a junior there, an
anthropology major, studying in a bi-lingual program in Colombia.

This is from our most recent issue of AERO-GRAMME, which has a full
report on the trip: "Mariah's did a workshop on homeschooling at the
IDEC. It was well attended and created great food for thought. She
had been taking college classes in dance since she was 10 years old
and on her own had become interested in reading Shakespeare and
the Greek tragedies, as well as becoming a serious dancer. Some of
the older Sands students who attended her workshop wondered if
they would have the same self-discipline to do a similar thing. Sean
Bellamy, the head teacher of Sands School, and I also discussed this
and wondered if there were some aspect of homeshcooling that
might be missing or needed to be incorporated into the process of
democratic schools to further empower learners to go off and really
pursue their own directions."

Sorry, that's all I have time to write for now. Let me know if you
would like a copy of the most recent AERO-GRAMME to read more
about IDEC.

Jerry Mintz
Alternative Education Resource Organization