Re: Home Schooling

Scott David Gray (
Sat, 25 Oct 1997 18:06:04 -0400 (EDT)

On Sat, 25 Oct 1997 wrote:

> Scott David,

Scott Gray, actually. :-)

> I am curious as to why you believe that "the authorities" allow SVS to set up
> its environment, when you believe that those same authorities don't allow
> home schoolers to do so.

I don't wish to, by defending my earlier statements, appear to be stating
that homeschooling is "wrong" or "impossible". However, I do think that
it is _very_ difficult, for a number of reasons.

1: SVS is _very_ fortunate to be in a part of the country where, by
continuously defending our principles and practices, we are able to
continue to operate a school in this manner. I know of Sudbury model
schools, and homeschoolers, who have not been so fortunate. At least a
single school has more time/power to argue its case against a school
board, than a single parent does. Further, the school can start in a
friendly district -- many homeschooling parents aren't in an easy position
to move if neccesary to maintain their philosophy of child-rearing.

2: It is much more expensive to homeschool. You can spend $4000 per year
tuition for Sudbury Valley, or you can have one adult in the household
leave full or part time employment (at a cost of at least $10,000 for the
house). Believe me; no school committee will approve you to homeschool if
you're not home -- this is a means by which homeschooling is left as a
luxury for the rich (while the state insists on total control over the
children of the poor).

3: A big part of learning is casual connection other people involved in
things. The "it takes a villiage" thing. While not impossible for the
home schooler, it is difficult. And by the time you've set up a whole
community of homeschoolers, who all see each others work and interact, you
have built a school.

4: Kids want/need space away from their parents. In pre-industrial
societies, one does _not_ see much "homeschooling". One sees kids
spending time with themselves, and other adults, away from parents. At
least once they're age 8 or older. They're learning to forge their own
ways in the world, whilst having a "safe" base at home. When I consider
the kids I met in the Freshman dorms at college, I shiver -- seeing the
total inability to care for oneself or behave responsibly that comes from
having been "taken care of" at every point of their lives.

> I agree with you that many homeschoolers are simply substituting one
> outside-the-learner compulsion with another, but I also know of many who
> follow a more enlightened approach. I don't have any hard figures on the
> breakdown of these two groups. Do you? Does anyone else on this list? I

Good question. I do not doubt the good intentions of the homeschoolers on
this list. I am simply expressing concern/sympathy for what a gargantuan
task it is to give your kids this sort of freedom and this sort of
community all by yourselves.

> also assume that the homeschoolers who are attracted to this listserv are
> more of the latter camp than the former. Perhaps we should treat their
> choice as a more friendly and learner-oriented one than we seem to be doing
> here.
> Alan Klein

--Scott David Gray
reply to:
The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well as the
poor, to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal

-- Anatole France