RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] 7 Lessons Taught in School

From: Amanda Phillips <>
Date: Tue Nov 28 21:31:42 2006

When I dropped off Elaine at Sudbury Valley on her first day a few years
ago, I (unthinkingly) tried to encourage her to stop being shy and say
hello to another student she remembered from visiting week. Fortunately,
Mimsy happened to be nearby. :) I barely got out the words "Elaine, you
can go..." in that encouraging motherly tone before Mimsy stopped me
with a "No, she can't!" Mimsy taught me two important things:
1) This natural parental habit of encouraging certain behaviors is
wholly out of place in this environment where the kids are in the
drivers seat.
2) As progressive and antiauthoritarian and libertarian as I think I am,
I still sometimes unthinkingly try to control my child's behavior when I
shouldn't. It's hard not to, because it seems like just yesterday she
needed me to tie her shoes. Now she doesn't need me to tie her shoes
anymore, but sometimes I still instinctively reach for the laces.

It was a great lesson that I've never forgotten. I cherish the times
when I *am* invited on campus, but I completely get why I shouldn't be
there. Still, it's hard, because sometimes I'd love to join Elaine in a
game of four square or read a book under a tree. But it's better for her
and all the other kids if I don't.


<-----Original Message----->
>From: Hughes
>Sent: 11/28/2006 8:42:22 PM
>Subject: RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] 7 Lessons Taught in School
>My children, who attended SVS for 16 years, made it abundantly clear
that they
>did not want me to have any part of their SVS experience, especially
the first
>year. There was a palpable thrill they got each and every fall that
they were
>going into their world, their place, their own experience. There were a
>of instances throughout the years where my kids were affected by the
presence of
>another student's parent who had an agenda. I rather enjoyed their
>that their rights had been infringed upon. To them it was definately
not okay.
> Dang, if that isn't why I sent them there. Somehow it's hard to
>self-goverance with mommy and daddy there. I teach private music
lessons. I
>truly cannot do it with a parent in the room. It is their very
inability to
>separate the child's experience from their own that gets in the way.
They are
>watching for manners, how clever is the kid, how can they assist by
knowing the
>lesson, etc. It is always a total disaster. I am, on the other hand
>on how does this student think, what music do they like, capturing
>imagination, etc. I'm wondering if a parent who wants to be a lot
involved with
>the school experience could ever be happy with SVS. Just my opinion
>Carol Hughes
>[] On Behalf Of Marilu
>Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 3:30 PM
>Subject: RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] 7 Lessons Taught in School
>The fact that you are able to witness your natural children's behavior
>interacting with others (in your presence) would proof that you don't
have to
>disappear from their sight (or daily life) in order for them to feel
>being themselves even while you are around.
>I believe that every child must be able to choose if he/she wants to
have the
>parents around. Some children feel very comfortable hanging around
>parents or adult family (and a lot of families provide the freedom,
>and support of them as individuals through non-judgmental
>[] On Behalf Of Caren
>Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 1:38 PM
>Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] 7 Lessons Taught in School
>I don't see it as "protecting" them from me. We are currently
unschooling. I
>have seen first-hand how differently my boys act when not around me --
it's just
>a fact of life. We have a wonderful, open relationship - aided by the
>unschooling process, and now through consensual living (
> ) but the fact remains, they are
their own
>people, and my presence affects their behavior.
>I think the history of Sudbury Valley School speaks for itself in this
>The autonomy of the child is paramount, and because of the inherently
>relationship kids have with their parents, it would be compromised.
>=== message truncated ===
Received on Tue Nov 28 2006 - 21:30:26 EST

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