Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Extreme examples of traditional schools

From: Karen Locke <>
Date: Tue Oct 11 21:10:01 2005

I think the "extreme models" discussion is interesting. I want to think about what the purpose is for our communication. If we are trying to convince others to change what they are doing, I think we need to spell out what is wrong with what exists, telling the truth about what schools are doing to our kids (from our perception). I think this can be done without language about slaves and prisons, but if the analogies work for a while, why not use them? I think we sometimes need to be shocked into considering alternatives we haven't thought of.

However, people can only move so far and so fast from their comfort zone. I was once at a childbirth presentation, sponsored by a group supporting pretty radical, alternative birthing methods. Some presenters said that if a couple was really uncomfortable wtih home births they recommended against them. They'd found that for some people, some options just weren't feasible- they were too far from their past experience. So they gave them a "menu" of options, such as using nurse-midwives in the hospinal, using herbs instead of pitocin, etc.

To me there needs to be this same menu available for families and children. I think Sudbury needs to be there, and sometime in my life I'd like to help start one here. There are other options needed for people sho can't quite "go there", often because their background is too limited. For example, we started a part-time, unschooler program like some have talked about on this list. We had a family come from a really conservative background - the father had gone to West Point. Needless to say this wasn't a very comfortable fit, no matter how gung-ho they were at the start of our program!

My daughter chooses to go to the local, suburban public school. She started out an unschooler, was in our alternative program for 3 years and a truly free alternative school for 2. But she got to a point where she wanted something else. She wants to be "normal" - do what everyone else is doing, be in the mainstream. I'm pretty much a self-determination person, so that's what she's doing. She likes it (although she pretty much hates classes). She knows about several options, but they're not for her.

If I start talking gulags and nazis, it's difficult in my family. It has calmed me down - she's not dying, she's not being destroyed. I don't like what she IS doing, but then what parent likes what her 16-year-old is doing all the time?

I want to change education. Last year I drove 88 miles per day to teach at a school I supported. This year I'm helping start an online, project-based school.

I want schools to get better - ALL schools. I want to contribute to society. Sudbury schools contribute, so do progressive schools, so do unschoolers. I really, honestly don't see that any of these are perfect. They're just all on the menu.

Received on Tue Oct 11 2005 - 21:09:58 EDT

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