DSM: Re: 2 questions

Debbie Athos (naturally@mindspring.com)
Wed, 26 Apr 2000 23:41:54 -0400

I have a story to share that may have some insights on your great "2

I have five children ages 6,11,14,19 and 23. In the past seventeen years we
have experienced just about every style of "schooling" that's out there ~
public school, alternative school, structured homeschool, unschool and
student-directed education. My children and our family lifestyle have been
the best teachers for me to help form my personal opinion on education today
and what I would like to see happen from here.

Our family has operated a home business for ten years and homeschooled most
of our children during this time. We have several employees working here at
our home. These people who work with us have always been people that have
had talents that have interested and inspired our children. So in some ways
we have a small community within our home that is always growing and
changing. (Our kids are only stuck with the company of their parents on the
weekends like most kids in America!)

Our children have to option to work anytime they would like for our company
or to not be involved at all (that has never been the case!) Sometimes they
help out because they see the need and offer. Other times they need some
money to buy the latest music CD and have a convenient opportunity to put in
a couple hours for cash. They always have a choice to be involved in the
workings of our family business and choose what they would like to do when
they want to work. There are many choices as to where they can work and on
what the would like to do.

Working and learning together as a family has been the most incredible
experience ever. Our children get to see their parents at work and to see
all that's involved in operating your own business. We're always here if and
when our kids need or want us to study, play, talk... And when they don't
want to see us like the students at Sudbury ~ they know just how to avoid
the adults in the house!:)

Over the years education in our family fell into a very natural, interesting
and pleasant experience. We don't even like to call our family ~
homeschoolers anymore. We're living and learning in our home, out in our
community and outdoors and it's working out beautifully. We never miss
getting out and about on a beautiful spring day!

We're all active and involved in community workshops, classes at community
colleges, drama studios, nature centers, pottery shops... of our choice.
Sometimes we don't want to take any formal classes at all.

However ~ as great as it is here in our family and home we now have a teen
in the house. And "homeschooling" teens including ours tend to all go off to
school because they're ready to go out into the world more "on their own."
They want and need the larger community to grow, study and to play in.

There's not a lot of choice for teens but to turn to schools as the place
that is open and available to them during the "school" week. Because of this
I worked on opening a Sudbury school in our hometown last year so that my
teenager would have a place to choose over public school. I bought my
Sudbury starter kit and set out to inspire parents and students to help
"build" us a Sudbury school.

I worked very hard and had a good group of people beside me, adults and
kids. Our greatest challenge was raising funds to open a school that would
be up to state building and handicap codes.
While I was working all those months trying to open our Sudbury school
things started to feel very "schoolish." I started to wonder if I really
wanted to open a "Sudbury" school. This didn't feel anything near what we
had going at home. I started to explore other options.

With the help of the internet I came across some pretty interesting
"resource centers." This was more like it, this felt better to me and to the
group of adults and kids (mostly teens!) that were still working with me.

This is where we're at today. Designing a place where young kids and teens
can go to study, talk, play, attend workshops when they choose to. We want
our center to become a apart of the natural community and open to
homeschoolers and unschoolers during the traditional "school" hours and all
kids in the community after school hours.
I feel this is the natural progression that our family has taken in our
learning journey and a good step towards getting our children welcomed and
included in the daily life of their community.
debi athos & family:)

PS ~ have you ever walked the streets of your town during the week days and
ask yourself "Where are the children?" Something very natural and wonderful
is missing in this picture...young people!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph Moore" <joseph@ivorycc.com>
To: "Sudbury Discussion Group (E-mail)" <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2000 12:08 PM
Subject: DSM: 2 questions

> 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
> 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
> kids by nature learn what they need when given freedom. More accurately,
> nature kids learn what they need to have a place in the family and
> 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?

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