Scott Gray (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wed, 26 Apr 2000 13:43:29 -0400 (EDT)
You're getting at something I've been saying for a while. Without truancy
laws, in a society which respects children, one doesn't need school.
However, that doesn't mean that there wouldn't be some kind of vaccuum
without school (for the most part, kids want to be around other kids).
You've suggested that the answer to this is home schooling. However, home
schooling is in fact "unnatural" in the sense that does not resemble how
children with language (over age 4 or so) choose to spend their days in
any environment where they are given freedom.
People (all ages, not just kids) learn "by nature" in whatever setting
they are in. How else would they leran, by "unnature?" People learn "by
nature" from TV, from the radio, from conversations with friends, from
overhearing conversations, from every single thing that they sense in
their everyday lives. Kids learn in school "by nature" despite the best
efforts of the school to prevent learning from taking place.
In every society that we know, children ache to spend time with other kids
AWAY from the adults. This is what children are allowed among the Efe,
the Bushmen, early 19th century urban kids in Boston and NYC, etc. As
near as we can tell, this is what our ancestors for 300000 years have been
doing. The way kids learn best (what they want, what is their "natural"
inclination) seems to depend upon spending a great deal of time AWAY from
their parents, and then coming home to a caring family at the end of the
day -- discussing how they spent their day just as their mothers and
Most kids don't need more time with their parents (though many like to
spend some time with adults who aren't their parents). Children need more
time with other children. Sudbury Valley supplies this, in a way that the
modern family cannot.
On Wed, 26 Apr 2000, Joseph Moore wrote:
> The discussion has been good lately.
> 2 related questions I've had for a while:
> 1) If a community treated their children with the proper respect (not
> infringing their freedom, respecting their rights, expecting
> responsibility), would a Sudbury school be necessary or desireable?
> 2) Formal classroom schooling as we know it is recent (about 200 years old,
> max). Before then, kids learned by living the lives of their family - farm
> kids farmed, craft kids crafted, etc. So, it's not exactly true to say that
> kids by nature learn what they need when given freedom. More accurately, by
> nature kids learn what they need to have a place in the family and community
> in which they find themselves. By shaping where kids find themselves, we
> have a big say in what they learn.
> So: In what sense do kids learn 'by nature' in a totally unnatural setting
> of hundreds of kids in a big beautiful house on acres of land miles from
> where their parents are doing the modern day equivilent of farming and
> crafting? 'By nature', those kids should be with their families, right?
--Scott David Gray
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A University without students is like an ointment without a fly.
-- Ed Nather, professor of astronomy at UT Austin
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