Re: DSM: New to homeschooling and SVS
Sat, 31 Mar 2001 21:03:46 -0500


Thank you so much for your kind reply! You hit the nail on the head over
and over again in your response. Yes! I do feel like I've had cold
water thrown on me and I'm finally waking up! What a perfect analogy!
And the reason these new ideas have taken over my psyche so rapidly is
because they DO feel like deep truths that I've known all along. And you
are right that the understanding that my daughter and I now have is both
quiet and personal. We have already discussed how we don't want anyone
(namely her father) getting involved in our homeschooling and trying to
tell us what to do. (He's going to have to be brought along gently and
*VERY* subtly or it could get messy.) As far as the isolation goes, my
friends and family long ago labeled me as 'unconventional' (although that
unconventionality had not yet spilled into this particular aspect of my
life), and would still love and care for me if I revealed this new
passion. However, this time it's not just my life; it's Shar's as well
and I'll have to use careful judgement and discretion as to where and
when I disclose these new ideas until she and I are further along in the

Now, as to your last point about Sharlyn's writing skills will be *her*
writing skills and not a cookie cutter version of anyone else's ( I
paraphrased for you!:-), I do realize that and I am fine with that. I
love that aspect about the Sudbury Model and I want that freedom for my
daughter. Take me for exmple. I learned how to write the way the public
school system wanted me to and it got me through college quite well. But
I hated it and have avoided any further structured writing since
graduating. Since then, (going on 20 years now) I have managed to write
on my own terms. I know Sharlyn will be able to do this as well. My
concern at the present is to keep the state happy (although admittedly
the requirements in this state are very flexible) and out of my hair
while at the same time dropping the subject out of our curriculum
(Sheesh! I cringe whenever I use that word now!) altogether. I realize
now that what I have to do is get in touch with some local homeschoolers
and learn how they manage it.

Once again I agree with you. This in not "education as I know it" for
which I am very grateful. Our lives will never be the same - hooray!
Thank you.

On Sat, 31 Mar 2001 11:46:14 -0500 writes:
> Julie,
> Your story is so familiar and so moving. Don't you feel like you've
> been doped or hypnotized or something for years, and suddenly someone
> just threw cold water on you and you perked up and recognized some deep
> that you've known all along? That inner knowledge is the real power of

> the Sudbury model -- we are just implementing it. You and your
> have that knowledge, and can implement it to.
> You are being de-programmed -- by yourself, and by events. And now
> what you have to look forward to is isolation from most of the
> around you when it comes to discussing these details, and to the
support of the
> quiet, personal understanding you have with your daughter. I'm here to

> tell you that it will only grow! And over time, if you keep your eyes
> (and if you learn how to talk about it without getting into fist fights
> handcuffs) you will find like minded people. You have to keep
> looking and keep your mind open, and you *will* find them.
> You also face a succession of challenges like your quandry over
> Composition. I don't think you can solve them one at a time -- you've
got to
> devise a strategy that deals with the authorities, with your
ex-husband, and
> whoever. I don't know what will work best, and in the absence of a
> Sudbury school, your best bet is probably in the un-schooling
community, who
> is going to have more specific experience with how to keep the
> authorities placated. Their kind of reasoning might be the best to use
> your ex-husband as well, I don't know.
> But I want to point out a harder fact, which took me a while to
> understand eleven years ago when I started down this path. You said,
> > Obviously democratic school students learn how to write well.
> and it's true. But they don't learn how to write the same as each
> other, or the same as some test -- or the same as you hope they will.
If you
> and the school system get out of the way, your daughter will define her
> relationship to writing that serves her needs and passions. But
> please don't think that if you could somehow plop the entire Sudbury
> School into the middle of Jacksonville and Shar could be going there
> at the end of the year, or the end of five years, she will emerge
> to pass the "Florida Writes" standardized test, because it ain't
> so.
> My point is that this is not some alternative way to get the same
> education. This is not even education as you know it. It's more, and
> wonderful.
> Alan Mitter-Burke
> on 3/31/01 6:08 AM, at
> wrote:
> > Hello Everyone!
> >
> > I have an (almost :-) 10 year old daughter that I just pulled out
> of > public school at the beginning of February. Her teachers, since
> > preschool, had been reporting her difficulty "staying on task".
> This > really didn't cause a problem until 3rd grade although getting
> through the homework has been a problem right from the start. It would

> take hours! Starting in 3rd grade we started testing her for 'learning
> > disabilities'. Of course the results came back that she was at or
> beyond where she should be in all areas. So then we went to a tutor
> > specialized in kids who have difficulties and the tutor found only
> a few minor gaps in her basic skills and after 4 months said we really
> didn't need her any more. However, 4th grade didn't get any better.
> > daughter was grumpy and forgetful and homework dragged on for
> hours. The school was very cooperative and 'meetings' were held and
> 'concessions' made.... So much so that she made A/B Honor Roll both
> before I took her out. It was the Honor Roll thing that was the straw
> did it. My daughter had no love of learning. She was only doing the
> work to get the answers right because she _had_ learned that A's were
> and F's were bad. But she had no interest in what they were teaching
> her. By this time I had long ago rearranged my work schedule so that I
> could be home with her during the week because just getting the
> done took so long and wouldn't get done without my being there. I
> could easily envision her getting pushed through the system even though

> she would have learned very little.
> >
> > Finally it dawned on me that I should just homeschool her. And
> even now, 2 months later, I'm still stunned at how quickly it all
> once I decided that's what I wanted to do. (Sharlyn wanted it as well!)
> Quick background information: I am divorced from Shar's father and,
> although we parent Shar together quite well, he often refuses to make
> > However, in this one instance he readily agreed.....I still
> haven't picked my jaw up off the floor from the shock! :-) I had never
> heard the term 'unschooling' until I started researching homeschooling
> during that research I did not run across any references to SVS. (I
> of SVS in the Abraham-Hicks catalog.) I confess that while unschooling

> sounded like paradise, all the typical objections ran through my mind
> I ultimately settled on the Calvert School curriculum to use for our
> > homeschooling.
> >
> > We've been "officially" homeschooling for only a month now - using
> the Calvert curriculum. Boy, what an odyssey it's been. The first
> two weeks I spent making sure we crossed every 'I' and dotted every
> Then, 2 weeks ago, while I was waiting for Shar to get through an
> assignment, I decided to check out the SVS web site. NOTHING has been
the same
> > since!!! I have devoured every word about the Sudbury Model that
> I can find on the Internet , listened in on these listserve discussions

> and ordered books that I am now anxiously awaiting the arrival of.
> All of my ideas have been turned on their head and most are getting
> out the window. I started making changes immediately. I hadn't really

> realized prior to this how dictatorial I was with her. How frequently
> gave orders instead of discussing an issue. With SVS's philosophy in
> my head, I began to make changes in how we went about the
> but basically it doesn't boil down much more than forgetting some
> 'I's' and foregoing some 'T's'. I would have to fight a major war with
> father and all the relatives to go to an unschooling or SVS method.
> However, right now, she and I are totally left alone. No one suspects
> these sort of ideas even exist in my head so no one (i.e. her father)
> > checking to see what we are doing. This gives me the leeway to
> make gradual changes. I even asked Shar if she wanted to be able to
> decide for herself what she wanted to do, but she said (and I'm
> paraphrasing here) that it would be too much for her right now. Which
> total sense because she has been told what to do all her life and is
> basically just asking me to make the changes slowly.
> >
> > I'm writing all this here because there is not one other person
> that I know personally that knows these ideas so that we could discuss
> them. I'm a group of one at the moment although I intend to change that

> as quickly as possible. (There is no Sudbury Model school near me to
> turn to either.) Which finally brings me to the reason that caused me
> to write in the first place. I'm looking for reassurance on one
> topic in particular - namely Composition. Shar hates it. I hate it.
If I
> never have to write another report as long as I live, I'll still never
> get over how much I hate it. (Oh, I know how to write them. I went
> through the public school system and I have two degrees, but it was the
> I most hated about school.) I want very much just to drop it out of
> > curriculum altogether. Thus the reason for me turning to you
> guys. Obviously democratic school students learn how to write well. My

> concern is that I still have to have her evaluated once a year by a
> teacher 'for appropriate progress'. I'm worried that if I drop
> that we won't get that 'stamp of approval' and that I'll start getting
> > questioned. I'm in Florida and the state is really big on writing
skills. All
> public school kids have to pass a 'Florida Writes' standardized test
> there is a very specific format that they are expected to learn. I'm
> worried that if she doesn't learn to jump through this hoop then we
> come under scrutiny and whatever level of freedom I've managed to give
> to her will start being monitored.
> >
> > So that's it in a nutshell. I gave so much additional information
> > because all of you who have devoted yourselves to these ideas
> ought to be told when you have had a profound effect - for the better!
- on
> someone's life. My relationship with my daughter is improving daily.
> is such a precious gift to me. Thank you all for all your time and
> in documenting the results and making them available. Words really
> can't express what this means to my daughter and I.
> >
> > Thank you again!
> >
> > Julie Burns
> > Jacksonville, Florida
> >
> > P.S. As an example, just yesterday I told Shar that all these
> years that she's been hearing that she has problems at school and can't
> and can't stay on task were all because she didn't want to do what she
> was being told to do. I told her that it wasn't because she had
> difficullty with focusing. It was because she was bored. She wisely
> her head and said she knew that, but I know that her hearing me say the

> words out loud went a long way towards healing the hurt done by all
> years of negative messages. I wish I could have learned all this
> for her sake, but I'm glad I now have the opportunity to make the
> while she is still young.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Juno offers FREE or PREMIUM Internet access for less!
> > Join Juno today! For your FREE software, visit:
> >

Juno offers FREE or PREMIUM Internet access for less!
Join Juno today! For your FREE software, visit:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Fri Apr 06 2001 - 14:18:13 EDT