Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Underground History of American Education

From: Sheila <>
Date: Tue Jul 8 00:34:00 2003


 I just joined this list because I have a sudbury info packet beside my bed
that I keep going back and forth between "this would be so great" and "well,
maybe it wouldn't".

We're unschoolers too. My 10 year old daughter wishes she had more friends
who had similar interests. She wishes that she could see the friends that
she does have more often than she does. She is sometimes frustrated because
she has to share my time with her younger brothers.

So we talk about things that might make the situation better, and one of the
things that we discussed was the sudbury school.

The biggest things that are holding us back from going with sudbury are:

1. distance. It would be an hour drive to get her there. I would have to
drag the boys along too and they wouldn't be thrilled. That would be an
awful lot of time wasted and gas money wasted.

2. She said that while maybe she'd have a few more friends if she went
there, why would I pay all that money to have cool resources and free time
to spend doing whatever she wants when she has cool resources and free time
to spend doing whatever she wants at home? The only thing she's missing at
home is the sense of community, and surely there's some way to make up for
that lack of community at home? If only there were more kids her age in the

3. Cost. We spend a lot of money on filling our home with cool resources.
Therefore we don't have a lot of extra money to spend on the tuition, even
with a sliding scale. It would be a struggle if we could even do it at all.

4. Pets. She wants to get a puppy. The time she would spend away from her
puppy would be too much. How would she ever train him? Why even bother
having a pet if you're not ever home to spend time with him?

5. Too much time commitment. Our sudbury doesn't allow homeschoolers to
enroll part time. It would be perfect for us if we could go twice a week.
But five days a week (or four long days) is an awful lot of time to be away
from the family. We like the idea of the continuum concept, where the
entire family is part of the community and kids can freely go back and forth
between family and others in the community rather than the parent dropping
off the child into a different community and not seeing them again for the
rest of the day.

It sounds like I'm jumping in with a lot of criticisms of sudburies. I'm
really not! I'm actually looking for someone to explain away my concerns a
little bit. :)


> Hi David
> It was this passages in Underground History that 1)brought me to the SVS
> website and 2) helped me to relax about my "late starting reader" Katie,
> is almost nine, and not reading yet. If there were a way to duplicate
> Sudbury at home, I would be the happiest homeschooling mom in the world!
> it is, I've wandered way over to unschooling and am watching and waiting
> see where my kids' own brains take them!
> HeidiC
> >From: "David Rovner" <>
> >Reply-To:
> >To: <>
> >Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Underground History of American
> >Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2003 23:03:00 +0200
> >
> >The Sudbury Valley School
> >
> >
> >I know a school for kids ages three to eighteen that doesn't teach
> >to read, yet everyone who goes there learns to do it, most very well.
> >the beautiful Sudbury Valley School, twenty miles west of Boston in the
> >Nathaniel Bowditch "cottage" (which looks suspiciously like a mansion), a
> >place ringed by handsome outbuildings, a private lake, woods, and acres
> >magnificent grounds. Sudbury is a private school, but with a tuition
> >$4,000 a year it's considerably cheaper than a seat in a New York City
> >public school. At Sudbury kids teach themselves to read; they learn at
> >different ages, even into the teen years (though that's rare). When each
> >kid is ready he or she self-instructs, if such a formal label isn't
> >inappropriate for such a natural undertaking. During this time they are
> >free to request as much adult assistance as needed. That usually isn't
> >much.
> >In thirty years of operation, Sudbury has never had a single kid who
> >learn to read. All this is aided by a magnificent school library on open
> >shelves where books are borrowed and returned on the honor system. About
> >percent of Sudbury kids go on to good colleges. The place has never seen
> >case of dyslexia. (That's not to say some kids don't reverse letters and
> >such from time to time, but such conditions are temporary and
> >self-correcting unless institutionalized into a disease.) So Sudbury
> >doesn't even teach reading yet all its kids learn to read and even like
> >reading. What could be going on there that we don't understand?
> >
> >~ David
> >
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Received on Tue Jul 08 2003 - 00:33:12 EDT

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