[Discuss-sudbury-model] Re: Discuss-sudbury-model digest, Vol 1 #209 - 8 msgs

From: Evan k Hughes <evanhughes_at_juno.com>
Date: Mon Nov 29 09:53:00 2004

  Hi Susan,
       I'm an Alumni of SVS and now a doctor. My experiences at SVS and
then college might be useful to you and your daughter:
     I didn't learn to read until the age of 12. I felt shame before I
did, and wanted to learn because I thought I should, but my personality
is such that my heart needs to be in something before I do it. I ended
up learning by necessity to play role playing games (Table top style.)
The importance there is that the rules are much to complex to be learned
orally, and so I needed reading and witting to keep up with my peers.
[Poof] my heart was in it. Until my mind unlocked I tried lessons with
people, drills and workbooks to no effect. It was not my time. After my
time came, I can't honestly remember the method with which I learned. At
15 I took up spelling in Japanese.
     Adaptation is the key. Human beings learn what they need to make
their life work, it's that simple. In talking about math, I started
lesions with Danny Greenberg in Algebra because of curiosity. It was
interesting for a time, but them my attention was not held by the
subject. I started being late, missing lessons and not doing work. I
sat down for a lesson on day and obviously looked stressed out. Danny
looked at me and said "Evan, you're killing me. I started this school so
I didn't have to see this. You're killing yourself. Why?" I told him I
wanted to know trigonometry and touch on calculus (Friends of mine had
done both and it looked interesting.) The man closed the book we where
using and said "Ok, we need a specific algebra to use trig, then we can
start." I sucked up the next few lessons and we started trig. I loved
it. 10 years later working in management, there where a group of people
trying to figure out how big our truck needed to be to move equipment.
College graduates all around, and guess who remembered the theorem of the
hypotenuse and how to use it. I loved the space oriented math, and so it
     Now, the algebra I didn't learn came back to haunt me as Chemistry
in a requirement for chiropractic school. All those things I skipped by
with Danny where now looking at me with chemical symbols in front of
them. GUESS WHAT, because of my understanding of space oriented math
(for me attaching numbers to something real,) I was able to learn algebra
and chemistry together as one subject. Of course it was hard. I didn't
care. After learning real number application and how equations worked in
the "real world," physics the following semester was an easy A.
Adaptation is the key. If there is nothing attached to the numbers I
can't learn your silly equations. Put meaning in there and I will learn
Greek if I have to.
     Now, my spelling is only readable because of spell check, my hand
witting is that of a doctor in the since that only I can read it, and
other "staples" of education may be missing from my skill set. WHO
CARES!? When I came across a reason to know something, I learned with
the same concentration as playing chess and all the fun of climbing the
beach tree.
     My simple advice is, let your daughter find natural consequences to
her learning and not learning skills.
     It is not true that you need to "start young." It is a lie that
cripples our young minds. If you need a skill, go learn it when it's
     I agree with the list member who said math is not a demon, and it
does get a bad rap.
     I challenge anyone who tells me however, that we must learn it in a
set way (Books, lessons, class rooms, teachers) or that it be learned "on
    Your daughter is 8 years old and can't do math? Can she read? If
so, she's "ahead" of me...
Dr. Evan Hughes
  ----- Original Message -----=20
    From: susan robinson=20
    To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org=20
    Sent: Sunday, November 28, 2004 12:01 PM
    Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Where to begin?
    I am reading Free at Last, which I obtained from Abraham-Hicks =
Publications. Our daughter is 8 and attends a local Montessori in Palm =
Harbor, Florida. Our sweet 8 year old is struggling with math, and I am
struggling with trying to coerce her into learning it. It's a no win =
deal. We have her enrolled in Kumon math tutoring, which she attempts =
to avoid and postpone on a daily basis. Her teacher at Montessori told =
me that she has a "peculiar learning style". I tried to explain that
she loves the freedom to choose, that her "failure to perform" certain
class assignments are due to a lack of interest rather than a lack of =
intelligence. Our daughter sparkles. She loves people and loves art, =
but loves people best of all. I consider it a rare gift, and I can see =
how the use of coercion, even in the forms of rewards and incentives, =
dims her. I'm looking for a frame of reference that builds a foundation
for integrating freedom into living in the "real world" of =
responsibilities. I'd like to receive suggestions. We're not quite =
ready to move to Massachusetts for our daughter to enroll in SVS =
(although it is certainly an option to be considered). I also need to =
understand more about how democracy can work; I've often found myself =
in the minority opinion and outvoted in many so-called democracies.

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Received on Mon Nov 29 2004 - 09:52:18 EST

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