Re: DSM: books question

From: David Rovner (rovners@netvision.net.il)
Date: Tue Oct 30 2001 - 21:07:07 EST


Bruce at Alpine Valley, I have the slight feeling that The Sudbury Valley School Press and other "Presses" including your school's, are not going to be very happy with this entry of yours. David

----- Original Message -----

From: "Bruce Smith" <bsmith@coin.org>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 9:59 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: books question

> Laura,
>
> This is Bruce at Alpine Valley. The last thing you need to spend a lot of
> time and money on is acquiring books. Put out a few feelers to your friends
> and connections -- ask your mailing list; ask people you know in
> conventional schools -- and you should be rolling in used books. Our
> problem in this regard is receiving so many donated books we hardly know
> what to do with them. I'd guess that maybe 1/10 of one percent of our
> library, if that much, consists of purchased materials -- and we've got a
> very well-equipped library.
>
> I do think books -- even textbooks -- are a good thing for a school to
> have. Think of them as being like computers, or furniture, or games: part
> of the physical facility, the general set of resources available for
> everyone. You're not going to open with bare walls and floors, right? So
> having some books on hand when you open is not automatically coercive.
> (Still, textbooks on "all" subjects? How many subjects is "all"?)
>
> Two facts stand out in my experience: 1) it's very easy and cheap to get
> lots of books; and 2) most of your textbooks will sit on your shelves,
> collecting dust, for months if not years. At Liberty Valley School, I
> remember hearing that a primary use of some of their textbooks was to help
> a small boy reach the height of a drumset he wanted to play. So appoint a
> few people to solicit and sort through donated books, if you like, but
> don't spend a lot (any?) money on it, and don't try to acquire a
> comprehensive set.
>
> Besides, it's not like you need brand-spankin' new books to teach math. I
> teach a few math classes at AVS and one of my texts, from our library, is
> old enough to have school-aged kids of its own. So far, I've used a total
> of four or five texts to teach everything from basic arithmetic to advanced
> algebra. (By the way, that's one book per class: I pick and choose
> problems, then make copies and cut and paste them into handouts.)
>
> Finally, until you acquire some books of your own, you might suggest to the
> student that he check out public and/or university libraries, as well as
> the internet and homeschooling supply stores. You could see if someone in
> your group can set him up with tutoring. If the student is sufficiently
> interested in "not falling behind," he'll be able to pursue any of these
> (and possibly other) options. What you can do is point out to him that at a
> Subury school, if he's "not learning anything" (which, incidentally, is
> very hard to do), then it's up to him to take the initiative and work with
> you to get that ball rolling.
>
> Bruce
>
> --------------------------------
> "I gave my life to become the person I am right now.
>
> Was it worth it?"
>
> -- Richard Bach



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