DSM: What initially attracted you to Sudbury?

From: Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Date: Sat Jan 26 2002 - 10:39:26 EST


Great post, Ann ~ sounds like a new thread.

For my two cents, I first became convinced to support the model as a
choice for my kids when I had the opportunity to correspond with and
read the accounts of graduates of SVS, and realized that if students can
come out of a schooling experience as obviously well-rounded and capable
as Sudbury grads without being forced through the conventional school
experience, there's really no justification for it other than it's "the
way kids are normally schooled in our culture."

Also, I had always been extremely resistant to being taught, so I also
had the benefit of intuitively knowing that people can teach themselves
what they need to know.

So the happiness, or really my inability to justify robbing my kids of
their choice of schools for whatever conceivable gifts conventional
schools might give them, was initially the reason I supported and became
involved with starting Fairhaven School, especially since I have always
known that my kids will eventually teach themselves the things they most
value in their lives.

I'd like to hear from more parents as to what *initially* attracted them
to Sudbury schooling.

-Joe

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
> [mailto:owner-discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org] On Behalf Of Ann Ide
> Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2002 9:49 AM
> To: discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org
> Subject: Re: DSM: students rights
>
>
> Hi,
> For what it's worth, here is my position on this matter of
> how important is was for me to understand the school
> philosophy and "what matters" to me:
>
> I'm a detail kinda person and also have this desire for
> knowing things will be okay (learning to accept the
> uncertainties in life seems to be one of my life lessons that
> I'm still working on). Therefore, I needed to know as much
> as possible before committing to SVS. Before I committ to
> something, I need to have a pretty strong belief that it is
> the "right" thing to do. I don't think I'm that unusual in
> this sense. This poses an interesting
> question: how and do parents committ to public school? I'll
> leave that for now, though.
>
> I read a number of the Sudbury press books before our
> interview and spent some time talking to one of the families.
> Prior to that, I only vaguely understood what being free
> meant and I couldn't understand how it would work. I had a
> strong background and experiences which told me conventional
> schooling was "bad" and had pursued independent learning
> programs extensively for myself, too! Yet, I STILL couldn't
> send my kids there without understanding the full scope of
> it. It's hard for me to imagine that parents who don't
> understand it wouldn't keep asking their kids the wrong
> questions. How in the world do they respond to all the
> family members,etc. who question and challenge their decision???
>
> Looking for apparent "happiness" is not enough for me. Jesse
> seemed very happy in public school. Many kids do. Does that
> mean it's good for them? It is only from my reading and
> studying that I decided what I believe is important for them
> to learn and what indicators to look for it happening. That
> might sound wrong; but you know what I'm talking about here- things
> like self-esteem, self-direction, etc. I am often asked by
> others," How do
> you know they are learning?" It's a good question. It's also
> important to ask, "What is learning?" Most people think
> learning is about stored knowledge banks in the brain that
> you can regurgitate.
>
> So, there's my story. I can't help but think that the more
> parents understood the model, the more supported the kids
> would be and the less
> stress around the issue there would be for everyone, staff
> included. I
> think it would be a good idea to include a book in the
> application packet (up the price $10 to cover the cost) and
> request or require it be read before the interview. Hope this
> is a help, Warren. I have a feeling what gets so many kids
> into SVS in spite of parental indifference,etc. is the
> discontent with the public schools. You can do "marketing"
> from that angle, of course.
>
> Ciao,
> Ann Ide
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Warren McMillan" <warren@bmts.com>
> To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
> Sent: Friday, January 25, 2002 8:27 PM
> Subject: Re: DSM: students rights
>
>
> > Hi Joe, Travis et al. If I can jump in here with an
> observation that
> seems
> > relevant. This is a subject to which I have given some
> thought. My
> > observation was the first thing that came to my mind when I first
> > stepped onto the grounds of the Sudbury Valley school last
> summer. My
> > thought
> was,
> > who wouldn't want to send their child here? It occurred to me, at
> > that time, that it wouldn't matter much what the philosophy
> was, if I
> > could afford to send my child to a private school, what
> more beautiful
> > place
> would
> > there be than this? And if I sent my child and he/she was happy
> > there, well, as a parent that might be enough for me. This thought
> > was
> reinforced
> > by my experience at the short-lived attempt at a Sudbury
> school that
> > was
> the
> > Indian River school. Prior to opening the school, from last April
> > through to August, I held regular information meetings for
> prospective
> > parents in which I went over and over the basic philosophy
> and tried
> > to impress on
> them
> > the importance of understanding and agreeing with the philosophy
> > before
> they
> > made a decision to enrol their children. In spite of this, by the
> > time
> the
> > school closed its doors, it was very clear to me that
> virtually none
> > of
> the
> > parents really understood the philosophy, with one
> exception being a
> > staff member as well as a parent. Moreover, as I got to
> know them, I
> > realized that it didn't really matter to them. Each saw in
> the school
> > a quality
> that
> > suited their own purposes quite apart from the stated philosophy.
> > Now, it might have been that I did not effectively convey the
> > philosophy in the first place but I just wonder how much it
> would have
> > mattered to them anyway. Now I hope this doesn't throw a
> wrench into
> > this thread and, if it does, just ignore this and carry on as you
> > were, otherwise, I would be
> interested
> > in what people, perhaps especially Sudbury parents, think
> about this.
> That
> > is, how important, to parents, is the philosophy of the
> school? And
> > which is most important to parents: that my child be free? that my
> > child be
> happy?
> > that the school is a beautiful place to be?
> > The reason I am interested in this is that I am thinking
> about trying
> again
> > to start a Sudbury school and the answers to these questions would
> > have a bearing on how I approach parents next time around. I should
> > make one thing clear and that is that I have absolutely no doubt
> in
> > my mind about the importance of the philosophy for
> _children_ but it
> > is
> the
> > parents I must reach in order to get enrollment hence the need to
> > focus on their perceptions.
> >
> > Warren
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: Joe Jackson <shoeless@jazztbone.com>
> > To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
> > Sent: Friday, January 25, 2002 7:10 PM
> > Subject: RE: DSM: students rights
> >
> >
> > > Hi, Travis. You wrote:
> > >
> > > > we say that ideally (it would)! it
> > > > would be a good
> > > > think if parents were not initiating overly coercive measurers
> > > > within the home environment. Sadly, as with so many
> other things
> > > > in life, this is not a
> > > > realistic estimation. Indeed, more then anyone, if I had my
> > > > way, we would
> > > > throw all of these people out. But then we would be losing an
> > > > extremely
> > > > substantial portion of our school.
> > >
> > > And
> > >
> > >
> > > > the number of parents who, forget about
> > > > agreeing with the philosophy, are indifferent to it is minimal
> > > > enough! Based on my limited observations, right now,
> you are LUCKY
> > > > if your parents, such as
> > > > mine, have a general indifference to the school and are
> > > > simply glad that
> > > > their kids are happy.
> > >
> > > Are you saying that in your estimation the vast majority of the
> > > parents at Sudbury Valley are there in spite of the fact
> that they
> > > are in disagreement with the philosophy? I find that a little
> > > shocking, and I hope, in the interest of the welfare of Sudbury
> > > Valley School, that your estimation is off!
> > >
> > > Thanks for giving your time to this list - your perspectives are
> > > very welcome.
> > >
> > > -Joe Jackson
> > >
> > >
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