Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] compulsory element of sudbury model

From: Woty <>
Date: Sun Oct 16 00:02:01 2005


Mountain Laurel Sudbury School allows part-time attendance. See .


On Oct 12, 2005, at 22:00, Jesse Gallagher wrote:
> I think there were three primary reasons that we core
> families attempted to create an unschooling
> cooperative rather than sending our kids to the
> Sudbury model school 25 minutes from our homes (the
> still not-so-stable Mountain Laurel Sudbury School in
> New Britain, CT, whose founding I was originally
> involved with).
> The reasons are, of course, related.
> In order of importance:
> 1. We wanted to be able to participate with our young
> and very young children, not just our school-age kids
> 2. We wanted the flexibility to attend when it was
> appropriate for our children and ourselves
> 3. We couldn't justify spending thousands of dollars
> to pay a stranger to unschool the children that we
> were already successfully unschooling
> I'll flesh those reasons out a little more for you.
> All of us have multiple children, and the families
> that we see several times a week also have multiple
> children. We have enjoyed our children growing and
> learning with us and their siblings and do not want to
> deprive our 0-5 year olds of their older brothers and
> sisters. This is *the* reason that we chose a
> cooperative over a Sudbury type school. I canít
> stress that enough. I have few doubts that our
> school-age kids would benefit from the inter-age
> interaction that Sudbury schools afford their
> students, but they currently receive those benefits
> and their departure for a school would deprive their
> younger siblings of them for years. This is simply
> unacceptable to me, my wife, and several other parents
> whom we have come to know intimately.
> The schedule is also an issue for us and our kids.
> Full-time attendance at a Sudbury school would limit
> rather than expand the opportunities for our children.
> We are quite active, both as individual families and
> as a group. I simply canít imagine going to the same
> place every day (which probably explains the
> difficulties I have working in the corporate world),
> and neither can my children. This touches on a theme
> that Iíll address in a moment, which is also a relic
> of the Lost Manuscript.
> Finally, unschooling is free. That is, itís as free
> as having kids gets. For single income families--who,
> with multiple children, are committed to years of only
> one income--there isnít a lot of cash to throw around.
> Even the moderate $100/month that we needed to secure
> the space we were looking for was more than most of
> our prospective members were willing or able to pay.
> The families who were willing to pay that (or more)
> werenít willing to unschool! They had expectations of
> class offerings, rigid scheduling, etc.
> This is all related to the primary difference between
> unschooling and free-schooling, which Iíll discuss
> briefly here but which Iíll be happy to discuss at
> great length with those who are equally interested in
> the matter.
> Free-schooling, including Sudbury model schooling, is
> an awesome and inspiring alternative to traditional
> schooling--but itís still school. Children are still
> traveling to one location to do their learning. Their
> learning is, thus, still institutionalized.
> A Sudbury school, like every institution, presents an
> environment that must be understood and
> mastered--students must adapt themselves to the
> environment in order to thrive and be happy.
> Fortunately, this is an easier task at a Sudbury
> school than at most others. Still, it is in the
> context of the school setting that students exist.
> In contrast, an unschooler exists within the context
> of the community in which he lives. He lives and
> learns, grows and fails, in the same matrix in which
> his parents live and learn. He shares a context with
> his neighbors, his mail carrier, his firefighters, and
> his clergy. There is no distinction between learning
> and living, because no distinction can be made.
> I think all parents hope that their children will be
> able to transfer and apply the skills they learn in
> school to the everyday ďrealĒ world when they leave
> school--and I have no doubt that Sudbury students are
> exceptionally adept at this--but unschoolers live and
> learn *in* that real world (whatever that real world
> may be--a question Iíll leave for now but will also be
> happy to take up with the bold and unemployed). Their
> learning environment is whatever unique place they
> find themselves in space and time--they have no stable
> of specialized ďschool-skillsĒ that they must adapt to
> an often hostile universe. There is no graduation,
> short of death itself.
> Let me be clear that I believe the free-school model
> to be the closest approximation to real life amongst
> existing educational models. It accomplishes what it
> sets out to accomplish, and in an admirable fashion.
> But the elements of the free-school that remain
> unavailable to unschoolers are the elements that
> remain unavailable to the wider American
> society--consensual justice, egalitarianism, and group
> self-determination, sadly, still escape this ailing
> nation, and may ever do so.
> I hope my answer has been helpful.
> Jesse
> --- Jeff Collins <> wrote:
>> Jesse,
>> I am sorry you lost it Jesse, I would have loved to
>> read it.
>> I do have a question for you to consider. If you
>> were to start an
>> unschooling group or cooperative or whatever it is
>> called, in what ways
>> would it differ from a Sudbury school? I don't mean
>> this to sound
>> argumentative (if it does), I am curious what
>> aspects of a Sudbury
>> school you find that you would like to change.
>> I find that some home schooling parents cannot get
>> over the fact that a
>> Sudbury school is a school. I am not saying you
>> fall into this
>> category, just that some parents do.
>> Jeff
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Received on Sun Oct 16 2005 - 00:01:08 EDT

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