Re: DSM: Hello ( real message )

From: william van horn (
Date: Sun Sep 30 2001 - 15:36:51 EDT

I am from the United States. What you described about your experience with
school is very similar to what happened to me over 30 years ago, when I was
in the 8th grade. I hated school and stopped attending. My parents did not
know what to do and eventually sent me to a psychiatrist. This did not
change my mind. An older brother sent me the book Summerhill, a school in
England operating since 1929 on the same principles as Sudbury. It also
made me cry with "happiness and sadness, hope and desperation". My older
brother understood what I was going through but convinced me that I needed
to stick it out and get that high school diploma. I learned how to play the
school's game, did what I had to do, and continued following my own
interests outside of school. I don't know whether or not I would have made
it except that an Alternative school opened in my community for my senior
year. It was called Walden III in Racine, Wisconsin. I spent my senior
year there.

After a time I went on to college. I've taken courses off and on since
then, and I have always found some ridiculous methods and studies. I slide
through what is required and concentrate on what is important to me.

This is just my experience, I can not advise you to "bite the bullet" and
get your diploma. The HS diploma is a piece of paper that, no matter how
stupid, can open doors to you as an adult. The best alternative for you
would be what we have in the USA, a GED or General Equivalency Diploma. (do
I have that right, Americans?) This is a test we can take here that gives
a person the same rights as one who recieved a high school diploma.

The awareness you have of yourself and of schools shows you to be an
insightful and intellegent person. Remember that as you continue with your
life. Trust yourself and your ideas. Good luck. Let me know what you
decide and how you are doing. If there is anything I can do, ask.


On Sun, 30 Sep 2001 15:55:56 -0300, wrote:

> Hello!
> Before I begin, I just want to explain that I am not a citizen of
an english speaking country ( I am from Brazil ) so don't expect my english
to be perfect. Hopefully there won't be any problem in understanding me, but
tell me if something just doesnt seem right. I am sorry if I bore you all
with this, or if it is out of the subject, but I need to tell someone.
> I am 15 years old ( 16 in november ). When I was 13 years old, I
left school. My parents DID NOT believe ( and still don't ) in giving me
freedom, but I believed, so I just didn't go to school when I didn't want to
go, didn't ask permition to go to the bathroom, and some other things like
that. So, of course, they sent me to a psychologist, I needed to go to
terapy two times a week and even started taking some medication. Nothing
made any diference. So after one year of batles, they understood that
nothing they could do was going to change the fact that I was not going to
that school ( or any other similar school ), they made a lot of threats, but
in the end I was set free. However, one year ago, I decided to get back to
school ( I still hated school, but the growing threats, pressure to "do
something with my life", and a few more things, overwhelmed me). I was able
to pass their test, and the school said that my skills were above normal and
that they were very happy to have someone like me there ( I had some
problems with math, because I never studied the more complex things about
it, things where the aplication of a formula was more important to solving
the problem then thinking logically about it ). I was able to atend
regularly for a few weeks before I started not going to school ( because I
had better things to do at home ). Then, somewhere near march or may, I
discovered the Sudbury Valley School. I read all the free articles in the
SVS's website, some of the messages from this list and some other things
from the Internet. I was surprised to see how similar our visions were, and
to know that I was not alone. I cried the day I found SVS's website, and I
still cry today. I cry out of both happiness and sadness, hope and
desperation. In my country, there is no school even remotely similar to SVS
( if you know of any, please, tell me ), so the only way I can go to a
democratic/free school, is by going to another country. However, my family
cannot afford going to another country, it can't even pay the tuiton for
such a school. My greatest wish, is to go to a school like SVS, but that is
not possible now. I am afraid that when I convince my parents that this is
the right school for me, find a way to pay for it, and a way to live in the
U.S., I will simply be too old. I just can't be tradicionally educated, I
can't live like that. I can just stay at home, but my parents are not happy
with me leaving school again, they want a quick answer to the question "What
are you going to do with your life?", so they can make me do it, but there
is no way I can answer that. I think that I am in a better situation then if
I was still going to school, but they want to force me into deciding
something I am not ready to decide.
> I need advice, but even a friendly word would be nice. Even not
going to SVS, this changed my life, so I thank you for believing in what you
do, and for doing something about it.
> Andr? Sanchez

William M. Van Horn

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