Sorry if I gave you such an extreme impression. It's not THAT bad! I do
know most of the kids Kenny and Jesse play with, and their parents. I was
exploring if the sense of community went beyond the kids' group of friends.
----- Original Message -----
From: Liz Reid&Errol Strelnikoff <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001 3:45 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
> 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
> 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.
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