Re: DSM: Re: sudbury in the home

From: Scott David Gray (
Date: Sun Dec 02 2001 - 08:33:43 EST

Hi Mortitia, Ann, others,

  This is a complex question... Frankly, a home is a small
environment in which the child will always be (at heart) a
guest in her/his parents' home. The parents _own_ the home
and most of the stuff inside it, and as the earliest
residents of the household parents have a stronger role in
setting the culture of the household than any of their
children do. Any process of voting in a home environment
seems arbitrary, slapped on, and (above all) easily
reversible by the adults; so it is of questionable real
  Democracy is for large groups of people looking for common
ground. A group the size of a family, residing in a
household that is in fact paid for and owned by only one or
two members of that group, can't rely on "democracy."

  What a family _can_ rely on is respect -- a respect of
privacy, and a respect of individual persons' abilities to
look out for themselves. The real question for parents is
based on these challenges -- a parent _has_ more real-world
experience than a young child, most people _expect_ some
intervention by others if they happen to do something which
endangers themselves, and there are a host of real-world
decisions that a parent makes for his/her children (at least
when they are pre-verbal, but even afterwards).
  There are some places when any person will agree that a
parent's responsibility trumps her/his child's innate rights
to be left free. I have proposed that the standard for the
exercise of "powers of attourney" is a good standard to
apply to the exercise of arbitrary parental authority:

On Sat, 1 Dec 2001, Ann Ide wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> Ann Ide here. New to list and SO happy to hear this question! We have been at SVS since April 2000. We're very comfortable with how the model works at school; but are still learning how to incorporate it into our home life. The ongoing question is: when is it really necessary to intervene in our children's lives? Do we have rules about their eating habits? Our 7 year old would happily live on bread, juice and junk. Do we let them stay up all night? Do we let them watch tv all the time they're home? And so on. It's not so simple. Plus you have to factor in that other people are sharing the living space. We have family meetings to work out some things. Maybe if we had them on a regular basis it would be better. Our 11 year old is fine with the differences between school and home and can understand and accept our reasonings. Our 7 year old, however, gets very indignant when he can't have his way about things and will try to prove his "rights", it seems. We're talking about things like wearing a
seatbelt even. And we're far from being authoritative parents. Anyone come up with a good list of home rules and regulations and a family version of JC so it's not just the parent versus child power struggle? Hope you'll post your ideas and experiences on the list or at least include me, if sent privately. (
> Thanks,
> Ann Ide
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: morticia crone
> To:
> Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2001 2:06 PM
> Subject: DSM: sudbury in the home
> hello all!
> i've heard said that this list is meant to discuss the model of education that is sudbury, got that. for the record, in case this is relevant, i haven't read any sudbury books - my sm info comes from the net. so, assuming all families have internal discrepencies, disagreements, difficulties, and hoping that i'm not being too off-topic, here, i'd like to ask some sudbury parents:
> whether and if so, how they *implement* democracy in the home? perhaps it's not too much to assume that no one attempts the sm in the home to a complete degree.
> assuming this is correct, how do your children relate to non-democracy (partial democracy, whatever) in the home?
> do you, the parents, attempt democratic solutions, and what are the results?
> do sudbury kids expect life outside of school to follow the same lines as within their school? how is the differentiation explained to the children?
> ~morticia~
> i don't mind if interested parties prefer to mail me off-list

--Scott David Gray
reply to:
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true
place for a just man is also a prison.

-- Henry David Thoreau ============================================================


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