DSM: Re: Homeschooling and the sense of community

From: David Rovner (rovners@netvision.net.il)
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 05:09:31 EST


 . . HOMESCHOOLING? There is a particular philosophy of homeschooling, often
referred to as "unschooling," which shares many similarities with the
Sudbury model. John Holt was its best known proponent, and his writings have
been invaluable to us in helping to explain just how learning can happen
without teaching, and why on earth a child might choose to learn arithmetic
or some other supposedly dreadful subject. Unschoolers believe, as we do,
that children are born curious about the world and eager to succeed in life
and that kids learn best through experience and experimentation rather than
by being told how and what to think. In the words of John Holt: "Real
learning is a process of discovery, and if we want it to happen, we must
create the kinds of conditions in which discoveries are made. . . They
include time, freedom, and a lack of pressure." But unschoolers, for the
most part, see the family environment as the best place for children to
grow, while the Sudbury model believes that, as the African proverb states,
"It takes a village to raise a child." Children and parents have complex
relationships and interdependencies which make it harder for children to
discover true independence within the family. In the environment of a
Sudbury school, children face direct personal responsibility for their
actions, without the emotional baggage that family-based accountability can
sometimes carry. In addition, children are more able to develop some
important social skills in a democratic school -- the ability to tolerate
diversity of opinion, to speak out against inappropriate behavior, and to
develop and carry out group projects, for example. In most homeschooling
families, the parent sees him or herself as ultimately responsible for the
child's education, while at Sudbury schools, that responsibility rests
squarely with the child.

[excerpt from: "OK, SO YOU'RE SORT OF LIKE..."]
http://www.fairhavenschool.com/frameset.htm

David Rovner - rovners@netvision.net.il
Haifa 34675.
Favors ending government involvement in education,
working for the Advancement of Democratic Schools
& the Freedom of Learning, Individual Rights and Ayn
Rand's philosophy in Israel.
http://www.sepschool.org/cgi/RegDisp.cgi/global

*****************************************************

----- Original Message -----
From: "Liz Reid&Errol Strelnikoff" <lizanderrol@home.com>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001 10:45 AM
Subject: DSM: Homeschooling and the sense of community

> This is the interesting thing about these discussion lists. There are
> times when a subject pops up that is exactly what I have been thinking
> about lately. This has happened now from two subjects: Scotts' view of
> homeschooling and Anne's questions regarding community at Sudbury
> Valley.
>
> From Anne's post it sounds like she as a parent does not feel connected
> to the community at Sudbury Valley that her children are involved in.
> She doesn't know the kids they play with, in fact her kids don't even
> know the names of some of those kids.
>
> Meanwhile Scott is saying that homeschooled kids spend the bulk of their
> time with their parents and the parent's curriculum. He makes the point
> that children need to be a part of the greater community, i.e. Sudbury
> Valley. A community sans parents.
>
> So in your studies of how children grew up prior to school, Scott, is
> the communal situation at Sudbury Valley a good representation of how
> things used to be?
>
> How about this homeschool situation: groups of children of all ages
> spend two or three days a week at parks playing with each other for up
> to eight hours non-stop. On the days when they aren't doing that they
> are at friends' houses doing whatever is going on in that household,
> usually playing, but sometimes baking bread with an adult, or playing a
> game, or doing some painting.... the myriad of things that other
> families do differently than your own family. Or they may be at their
> own houses with their friends visiting them, playing in their own space.
> Or they may be at their grandparents house playing with the kids from
> that neighborhood or doing stuff with grandma or grandpa.
>
> Of course there are parts of the day, or even whole days when the
> children are home with a parent or two. Children often like to just be
> at their own home and play with their own toys or read their own books
> without other friends around. They like to play with their parents too
> at times. They like to get involved in organising dinner parties,
> writing long lists to Santa, making cakes, planing social events, being
> bored, watching tv, etc. etc. the mundane everyday stuff of family
> life.
>
> One, not necessarily negative, side-effect of all of this is that the
> bulk of our friends tend to be the parents of our children's friends.
> We get together almost daily, in large or small groups at different
> parts of the town, we have lively parties with dancing and music, we
> cook up copious amounts of food and have picnics or potlucks, we share
> art and craft materials and ideas. We drop by each others houses for
> cups of tea and chats, at least that is what the grown-ups do, the kids
> find their own things to do together.
>
> We started _homeschooling_ (I find that word less and less useful, but
> can think of no other), only recently. I had always considered it as a
> poor substitute for a free school situation (I went to free school and I
> was unschooled so I do know what they are missing). But there are so
> many people in my area that are homeschooling and a huge portion of them
> are unschooling, and that number is growing month by month. I am just
> bowled over by how many there are. Lately I have realized that things
> have changed from when I was a child, we wanted to go to school because
> that's where our friends were, but now there are so many kids in the
> neighborhood that are at home that why would anyone bother with a
> school? Why would any of us put all that time and effort into putting
> together a free school when we can just do it at the park and at each
> others houses? And you don't have to answer to anyone, we are each
> fully responsible for what we are doing.
>
> I'll tell you what, I much prefer living this way than when I was a
> chaufeur driving back and forth to my kids school.
>
> Liz
>
>
>
>
>
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