I homeschool my daughter (9) and am principal of Banyan Tree UnSchool.
I argue many times that she's not "preparing" for life... she's Living
Mainly meaning that she is learning what she needs to learn to get by
in life as it happens. I suppose we're 'unschooling' but she's an
academic and loves 'classes' but the more she takes the fewer she
enjoys. She sees the arbitrary structure which holds back some and
pushes to hard on others. She much prefers the one on one. As for the
students who come here, Well, "the ART of doing nothing" pretty much
sums it up.
I remember John Taylor Gatto once quoting from the Dali Lama "Buddah is
reputed to have said...Do nothing, time is too precious to waste."
I've found that the more the kids "do nothing" the more they strive to
achieve, the more questions they ask, the more they actually think.
Finally, they are actually more likely to have intelligent thoughtful
conversations with others rather than just saying what they've heard or
what people want them to say. That's what gives them the edge. They
are not clones or cogs... they are unique and that's what our business
need now. Entrepreneurs who can think for themselves and see things
for what they really are.
As for Graduation, I've been asking myself what that really means. My
9 year old has a paper route. She saved up 3 months of pay to buy a
bike she really wanted. She is now going to another job and to focus
on some other areas. She got a lovely letter of reference and has
learned some valuable lessons, especially in the bad weather, about
perserverance and her own stores of strength and tenacity. But she
hasn't graduated yet.
Every day is a test, every day is a graduation of sorts. It's
recognizing them and appreciating the achievements that keeps us happy,
and internally, successful individuals.
"Those who cannot feel the littleness of great things in themselves are
apt to overlook the greatness of little things in others"
~Okakura-Kakuzo~ The Book of Tea: A Cup of Humanity.
P.S. What exactly are "essential life skills"?
--- "Ardeshir Mehta, N.D." <email@example.com> wrote:
> Hi Bill, and Friends:
> I agree with you, Bill, that it is much better to offer freedom
> WITHOUT a purpose than to offer it with (one or more) agenda.
> But the point I was trying to make was in reply to your previous
> post in which you wrote, and I quote:
> > Dear Peter,
> > ... <snip> ...
> > Sudbury Valley is life, lived. Period.
> Now suppose a child does NOT go to ANY school -- Sudbury
> Valley or otherwise. Surely it can't be said that or she does not
> live life as a result, now can it?
> Likewise, if a child goes to Eton, Harrow, Winchester or any
> other school: he or she lives life there too.
> One lives from the moment one is born until one dies -- it can't
> be avoided. The question is, HOW does one live? And how can
> one's school contribute toward making that life better than it
> would otherwise have been?
> My question was, and once again I quote:
> What I think Peter was getting at was a way to speak to
> WHY an SVS should be the school of choice -- as opposed to, say,
> Eton or Harrow. (I look back on my own schooldays with fear and
> loathing, modeled as my school was after these English "public"
> schools -- even though it all happened over forty years ago.)
> All the best,
> Ardeshir <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/AllMyFiles.html>
> Bill Richardson wrote:
> > Dear Ardishir,
> > There are two choices. We can offer the child freedom wihout a
> > The freedom will be self-referential. We will hold no goals in mind
> for the
> > child. ...If we do this, we have created an alternative to
> > In the second choice, we, in fact do have an agenda. We are
> not totally
> > content with the freedom offer, in and of itself. We hope that it
> will be
> > used for some good or for the child's betterment. ... In this
> choice, we have
> > not created an alternative to education, we have created
> alternative education.
> > We ourselves have become the educationists we so soundly decry.
> > Warm Regards,
> > Bill Richardson
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