RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Torn over sending our son to Fairfiel d School a Sudbury Valley Mo deled School

From: Joseph Moore <joseph_at_ivorycc.com>
Date: Tue Apr 1 12:06:00 2003

I would think almost everybody who has sent a child to a Sudbury school has
stories to tell.

- Think of your child's happiness first. Is he likely to be happier in the
public school or at Fairhaven? (This is a rhetorical question!)
- Think of your own happiness. The major unanticipated benefit our family (3
kids at Diablo Valley School, 4 next year) has received is a house full of
happy, low stress kids. What a relief! Plus, I don't waste a minute helping
kids complete busy-work homework, or fighting with them over grades and
other nonsense. Things are pretty mellow at our house, and Diablo Valley
School is a large part of that.
- Think of a few years out, when the argument will shift from 'this can
never work' to 'oh, maybe it works sort of for *your* kid - he's special -
it just can't work for other kids who aren't so special.' Because, in a few
years, all but the most highly threatened people will notice that you're not
destroying your kid, in fact, he seems pretty happy and OK.
- Realize where the opposition to your decision is coming from: people -
especially 'successful' people - have typically invested huge amounts of
time and effort into traditional school and have bought the idea that
success at school defines self-worth. When you reject traditional school,
you are personally rejecting, in a way, these people and everything they
stand for! No wonder the reaction is strong, and the criticism is gloom and
doom. But it is not based in reality.
- Comfort yourself by knowing that your son will be fine, he will be more
than fine, at Fairhaven. He really is going to learn everything he needs.
He really won't miss the stuff everyone is panicked about. He'll read. He'll
be able to balance a checkbook. And he will develop interpersonal skill far
beyond what he'd get at public school.

In short, I, for one, have never regretted sending my kids to a Sudbury
model school. After 5 years there, nobody who knows our kids even pretends
(at least to my face) that there's any problem, because the evidence is
right before their eyes.

Follow your heart. Follow your mind.

As to bad experiences: they all seem so trivial now, but you need to be
prepared for the usual, because to certain people these will be PROOF that
the school is WRONG:

1. Potty talk. Since there's no adult enforcing a ban on profanity, your
little one will be hearing a lot of it from the older kids. Even though this
takes place in public schools as well (just out of teacher's earshot,
usually) and even though the distinction that what is acceptable in one
crowd may not be acceptable in another is quickly and easily learned -
still, it can be a shock until they get over it.

2. 'Wasting' time. Kids play around all day. Classes are few and far
between. Lots of kids choose to do stuff with their days that adults don't
think are worthwhile. Watching your son 'waste' time - especially since, you
may say to yourself, he could be learning French! - is (sometimes) a painful
exercise. But, again, the source of discomfort is 1) other people telling
you he should be doing something else; and 2) your own doubts, based largely
on your more or less unconscious acceptance of the traditional school
model's claim to be able to judge people's worthiness by their success in
completing a series of graded steps. This problem is very hard to get past,
but it is unreal - just keep looking at how happy your son is, and reminding
yourself that the standards of our age are very unhappily skewed in favor of
the things traditional schools claim to be able to do.

3. 'Falling behind.' A subset of the wasting time worry is that your kid
will be falling behind other kids. For some reason, this one is really
tempting to some people, even though, objectively, it's nonsense. Your son
may or may not learn to read before, after, or at the same time as other
kids. Ditto for the other landmarks of traditional education. This is just
absolutely not worth worrying about - the landmarks themselves as well as
the whole concept of how people learn that underlies them are pure, evil
fictions. It turns out that, at every point in his life, your son will be
ahead of some people in some areas, behind some people in other areas and
with some people in yet other areas - and that the mix and degree of ahead
and behind are virtually meaningless in and of themselves. Is he happy? Can
he take care of himself? Does he relate and work and play well with other
people? If 'yes' - you're off the hook as a parent, and can pat yourself on
the back! Good job!!

Good luck! Unfortunately, it is a struggle. But you know in your hearts what
your son would want.

Joseph

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Reg Ogilvie [mailto:rogilvie_at_gt.ca]
> Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 5:56 AM
> To: 'discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org'
> Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Torn over sending our son to
> Fairfield
> School a Sudbury Valley Mo deled School
> Importance: High
>
>
>
> To anyone out there that wishes to respond:
>
> My wife and I are in the midst of deciding whether to send our son to
> Fairfield or to a Public French Immersion program. This
> choice has created
> much debate between ourselves, family and friends with the
> majority being on
> the side of the tried and tested Public system with my wife
> and I defending
> a system we know little about other than in our gut it feels right.
>
> If I could be so forward as to ask people to send me their
> experiences both
> bad and good with this type of schooling? Any other thoughts are also
> welcome.
>
> Thanks in advance for any info.
>
> Regards
> Reg and June Ogilvie
> rogilvie_at_gt.ca
>
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>
Received on Tue Apr 01 2003 - 12:05:32 EST

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