DSM: RE: RE: RE: Re: RE: Parents and Philosophy

From: Liz Reid and Errol Strelnikoff (lizanderrol@home.com)
Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 12:49:29 EST


> Hey Liz. Got the old battle axe sharpened up today, I see.

May I ask what you considered to be an attack in my post?

> Actually, what you just listed seems to me to be entirely unlike what
> has been cited on this list as reasons families go to the schools.

A while back you told me that you weren't interested in discussing whether
your school could be lacking in some ways as you were satisfied that it is a
place where your children want to be. A few posts ago Scott was satisfied
with his Mother for sending him to a school about whose philosophy she had
no idea, as long as he was happy. The concept of self-motivation I am
certain I could find if I searched. You are right though the great staff
one I did just kind of make up, I have never heard anyone laud the staff at
Sudbury. Sorry about that mistake.

 I
> can see why you wish that's what people have said, because it would
> presumably fit into your all-together too-obvious prejudices about
> Sudbury.

I actually think Sudbury Schools are great and, as I have said many times,
if there were one close by I would do my best to get my kids into it. I do
worry about the adults involved in it though, I suppose they will always be
a problem ;-)

> > I am also not sure if the children are
> > the best arbiters of whether they should or shouldn't stay at
> > a school.

Until a few months ago my children were at a Public Waldorf School. They
are no longer and the first grader did not want to leave. At first I was
reluctant to pull him out against his wishes but I began to realize that
even fourth graders would say the same thing when asked and I was not
willing to let him stay that long. This school was in the most ugly
grounds, the children spent much of their time sitting at desks in ugly
classrooms listening to their teacher (or not listening as was usually the
case). The playground was an expanse of concrete and there were strict
rules about not walking on the grass. The teachers were some of the
narrowest, bossiest people I have ever met and they were making it
abundantly clear that we did not belong at the school.

Schools can be very good at instilling an idea in children that they need to
be there and Waldorf is among the best. I am not saying that Sudbury is in
any way like Waldorf, they are as opposite as you can get, but the comments
that I hear on this list are so similar to the comments I hear from parents
at the Waldorf school, i.e. that the happiness of their children is an
accurate measure as to the quality of the school. It seems to me that
children can be happy in many circumstances and be reluctant to change,
particularly when the dominant culture of the school is promoting the idea
that it is the best place to be.

Now we are in the same situation with home-based education, they are both
very happy and if you ask if they would like to go to school they are
horrified at the thought. Once again the dominant culture comes into play.
If there were a free school nearby and my kids would refuse to even look at
it I would do my very best to persuade them to try it as I think that they
would end up liking it. Imagine if a parent discovers Sudbury Valley and
goes home and asks their kids if they want to visit and the kids says No!
Should the parent immediately assume that the child is making the right
decision and never even broach the subject again? Or should the parent
suggest that they at least go and have a look? But this would be
manipulating the child to try something against their wishes...

I would have no qualms about bringing up the subject again and again until
the visit was made and if they still didn't like it, I may even suggest that
they try it for a week or so before they made up their minds. I am that
manipulative.

Liz

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