Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Several Questions Regarding Sudbury Model Schools

From: Carol Hughes <>
Date: Sat Feb 15 16:26:00 2003

Hi Richard,
When my oldest was three I started questioning the usual educational process
as well. He was so bright, curious, full of creativity and constantly
learning and experimenting. As I observed him I began to think of ways to
school him that wouldn't spoil what was already happening. So I set out
looking at private schools to see which would be the nicest and not spoil
his learning process. I'm wondering how many parents have looked at this
question as you are and hung in there with it, or just suppressed the
thought due to lack of support in questioning fundamental issues of
education. I still remember intense butterflies in my gut as I began to
realize that I was not going to do the traditional thing at all. Nobody was
there around me to say, "What a great idea, why didn't I think of that?.
Instead I was launched on a path that would merit glazed over eyes when I
began to speak about my theories and observations. As the fates would have
it there was one of those Annie's Book Swap shops near my house. Someone
had brought in a whole bunch of books on education, and I bought every
single one of them. The store owner asked me if I was taking a course. I
said, no, I'm ON a course. That little guy is 25 next month. He's a
graduate of SVS, now in his last year of Chiropractic College, has traveled
to Japan and learned to speak Japanese on his own, and has turned out...
well still creative, bright, curious and constantly learning and

Your issues that you raise are one of protection around your son. What
happens at SVS is that the child learns to work within a community under his
own power. That happens directly and in subtle ways. Notice that these
stories that are printed are open and honest. No one is writing some washed
over story that is acceptable to all. It is enough that they said it and
thought it. That is the ultimate protection in my opinion. It is the
toughest part of going to a school like SVS. And it is one of the most
valuable parts of it as well. If your son learns to stick up for himself,
use the JC, invent games, initiate his own activities, then he becomes an
individual and that will be supported fabulously in the Sudbury Valley
School. Children are not spoken to differently because of their age. Their
voice is heard and someone responds. In my experience, I have probably
yelled at my kids more than anyone at SVS ever has... and I'm a pretty good
mom as moms go.

Truthfully, a student would probably yell back if yelled at. The
personalities of the staff members are no less evident that yours would be
in your own home.

I confess to having had moments where I have turned to my husband and said
"I changed my mind. Remember that scene in The Sound of Music where he
blows a whistle and they all line up? Let's do that instead." He said
alas, it's too late.

I also remember as I was considering what school for my son, watching the
faces of children as they left traditional schools. Weary and sad it seemed
to me. My three kids bound home with a smile and start creating as the day
continues on at home. Seems like they didn't have anything to recover from.
How cool is that?

Just my opinion.
Carol Hughes
Mother of two SVS graduates and one soon to be
Received on Sat Feb 15 2003 - 16:25:01 EST

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