[Discuss-sudbury-model] Searching for Sudbury - Another Single Mom's Perspective

From: Maria Scinto <mfscinto_at_yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Sep 21 11:28:00 2005

I too am a single mom, sole support (don't recieve a penny of child support, my choice, don't need ugly court battle), and am very attracted to the idea of a Sudbury School. There is actually such a school sort of in my area, too, and the tuition is sort of affordable. For the present, however, I have made other arrangements for my son as I am by profession a librarian and I recently (1 month ago) left a decently-paid (relatively speaking) position with a large public library system for a much lower-paying job with a private school. With the employee 50% off tuition I can just barely afford to send my son to school here starting next year (this school begins at age 3 - the local-ish Sudbury School not until age 5) - at least he and I can be together more this way, and "share the pain" of the school experience. It's not too bad a school as schools go - quite small, lots and lots of interaction between staff and students, and built-in study hall time 3x a week so they can do homework
 there. The preschool, pre-K, and K are all based on the Reggio Emilia model,which sounds pretty good, if not ideal.
 
That being said, I'd switch to the Sudbury School in a minute (once my son turns 5, that is) if a) they paid a living wage (what I make here is pretty low, but what the Sudbury School offers is not enough to pay rent anywhere within 50 miles, much less heat your house, eat, etc. - and I think they only offer 50% tuition remission too), b) there was any job security - I appreciate student involvement in staff selection and retention on principal, but in reality it's tough to feel your continued employment depends on winning a popularity contest year after year. And all this is assuming they would want to employ me in the first place. I guess, for myself, I have decided I would rather have my son attend school where I work so I can be on ths spot to ensure he's treated fairly (and also to avoid ugly commuting/daycare/aftercare arrangements) than to send him to my preferred model of school. I don't know, all this is subject to change pending my son's becoming old enough to participate
 in the decision-making. Right now he is only 2 and I know he votes for more time with me. So although it may sound as though I am going contrary to Sudbury principles by forcing my decison on my son- at his age, it would be criminally irresponsible of me to do anything else. I am just trying to make the best decision (short-term and long-term) for his future quality of life, and it is really tough - especially when single parenthood, need for childcare, lack of funds, etc. are complicating factors. If the money fairy would only fly down my chimney and bring a monthly paycheck, I would definitely stay home and unschool him, but I have already explored work-at-home options and again cannot see a way to make a living (as opposed to supplementary) income. Including enough to cover the cost of health insurance as well as the aforementioned rent, utilities, and groceries. Anyway, we all do the best we can given the options we've got.
 
But if anyone does know of a Sudbury School which pays a living wage for its area (whatever area that may be), and where it's the norm for staff to retain their jobs for a number of years should they so desire, I think I, as a former public librarian, am pretty well-suited to a position in which I help kids pursue their own direction in learning rather than imposing my own lesson plan. (I originally went into public library work as I thought that at least there is some element of voluntarily choosing to go to the public library rather than a school setting where attendance is compulsory.) And I would be willing to relocate anywhere at all.
 
Maria Scinto
Media Specialist
St. Anne's Day School
Annapolis, MD

                
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Received on Wed Sep 21 2005 - 11:27:33 EDT

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