Re: DSM: The homeschool curriculum

From: Scott David Gray (
Date: Sat Dec 08 2001 - 09:27:58 EST

On Fri, 7 Dec 2001, Liz Reid&Errol Strelnikoff wrote:

> It was mentioned in a previous post that changing from public school to
> homeschooling was not so different as they both involved curriculum.
> Surely Sudbury Valley must have a curriculum also as it is also a
> school?
> Liz

  This is where the word "school" sometimes gets us into

  To the extent that one uses the term "school" to mean a
place which facilitates learning, I'd say that a Sudbury
model school -- which gives people time and resources to use
as in the living of their own lives and pursuit of their own
interests -- fills the bill.

  But, insofar as the school itself does not start it's
relationship with a student with a plan for how any given
student will unfold -- that there is no "curriculum" which
limits or defines the type or sort of information which will
be pursued -- the term "school" is sometimes misleads

  Basically, it is a matter of definition.
  I believe that I am using the word curriculum to mean the
same thing that most people mean by it. But in case I or
others do understand the term differently, I'll explain the
phenomenon I am referring to with the word "curriculum."
Curriculum: a plan, course of study, or set of educational
goals, laid out and actively pursued by a school.
  By this definition, a Sudbury school does not have a
curriculum. If one defines "school" as a place with a
curriculum, then no -- Sudbury schools are not schools. In
fact, I often start talks about the Sudbury model, by
pointing out how easy it is to be trapped by our own
understandings of words -- I usually ask my audience to just
forget the term "school" for a little while when I explain
the ways in which a Sudbury community operates.
  Personally, I find the term school to still have
relevence, despite the confusion it generates... Sudbury
schools do have a mission that is tied up with the learning
process, even though it is not pre-defined, and therefore
not a curriculum: to be communities in which people can
develop without preconceptions as to what they will develop
or unfold into.

  I don't really care to get into a debate over words. :-)
Frankly, if someone else says that "curriculum" means
something else, it's no skin off my back. If someone else
says that "school" means something else, that doesn't bother
me either. I try to use words that the bulk of people
around me will understand in the spirit that I used them --
I don't pretend to have 100% accuracy with every person,
because of real language differences between people.

--Scott David Gray
reply to:
Noone really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a
while you'll see why.

-- Mignon McLaughlin ============================================================


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