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Any Dem/sudbury parents out there???

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
It is a new year at our school. My teen is on his second year and my 6 year old on his first. I still have a kindergartner starting at the local public school too. I'd love to hear from active democratic free school families or what is often called sudbury- families about how your year is going.
thanks,
we start tomorrow!
post #2 of 64
Thread Starter 
really, in Mothering there aren't any dem free schoolers????
post #3 of 64
My son just started at the Village Free School in Portland. He loves it so far. We've just moved to be closer to the school, so I'm a little fried. But I'm really hoping it works out well, since I don't really like any of the other schooling options out there. This is as close to unschooling as I'm going to get as a single parent, so I'm glad it's there!

This doesn't seem to be a very active forum.
post #4 of 64
I'm sure there are some, but Sudbury schools are hard to come by, so it's slim pickings to begin with.

We're homeschooling, but if there were a Sudbury school here, and we could afford it, we'd gladly give it a try. I don't know if it would be "better" than homeschooling for us, but it's just about the only type of schooling I'd even consider outside the home!

But, there's none around here at all. The closest one is 6 hours away... a bit too much of a commute.
post #5 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by thisiswhatwedo View Post
really, in Mothering there aren't any dem free schoolers????



I have an almost 11 yo dd who goes to one! This is her third year, she started part-time (we were homeschooling) with two days a week, she begged for another day. Then we went to four last year and now this year she is a full-time student. She loves her school. It is tiny, with just 8 students, and only two of them are girls, but it doesn't seem to bother her.
post #6 of 64
my kids go to a free school, which is technically considered democratic, so yes? i guess they do. I see the model of their free school as pretty different than the SVS model schools that are more commonly referred to as "democratic schools." but when it comes to comparing it with waldorf, public, or other schools, i guess they are more similar.
post #7 of 64
I have two kids going to a Sudbury school (this is the beginning of their third year). My dd (10) almost invariably loves it. My ds (6) is only so-so. He has two good friends there that he will often fight/argue with and so sometimes doesn't want to go. He is also shy and usually doesn't want to go to the staff for help or comfort. I'm expecting that to change (hopefully this year!) since my dd used to be shy and sudbury has helped her with that (or she grew out of it...I do think school has helped though). It's only the third day for this year, so nothing too exciting to report yet.

cloudspinning
post #8 of 64
do I count? I'm in a sudbury startup group. We hope to have the school open next fall.
post #9 of 64
I am also in the "do I count" area because I am also a member of a "start-up" group. Our school will be located in Olympia, WA.

I have a 6yr. old and we are "unschooling" for now. We hope to have our school open fall of 09.

I've heard wonderful things about the Village Free School in Portland.
post #10 of 64
Thread Starter 

yeah!

I am p in the middle of the night and hadn't checked in on this thread for a while. This makes me happy to hear that there are others are free-demo-sudsbury whatever you want to call it their kids.
If you look back at this ( I hope you all come back) my first big question is are you supplementing academics or are their any academics in your school? We are trying to do some academics at home and it is a bit overwhelming already one month into the school year. I want my kids to go to this school but the kids rarely pursue anything academic until they are in high school, I guess not knowing if we will be back in the public school system at some point I nervously want my kids to stay on "track". A cop out but I guess I want the best of both worlds, happy supported kids who can pursue interests but also kids who can keep up with their public school peers.
post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by thisiswhatwedo View Post
I am p in the middle of the night and hadn't checked in on this thread for a while. This makes me happy to hear that there are others are free-demo-sudsbury whatever you want to call it their kids.
If you look back at this ( I hope you all come back) my first big question is are you supplementing academics or are their any academics in your school? We are trying to do some academics at home and it is a bit overwhelming already one month into the school year. I want my kids to go to this school but the kids rarely pursue anything academic until they are in high school, I guess not knowing if we will be back in the public school system at some point I nervously want my kids to stay on "track". A cop out but I guess I want the best of both worlds, happy supported kids who can pursue interests but also kids who can keep up with their public school peers.
I have a son is would be considered highly gifted in the public schools. Right now we are homeschooling, but are considering a democratic/constructivist school... but I'm wondering what the intellectual climate is at *your* child's school? If a child is intellectually oriented, do they still fit in with the culture of the school? I mean, not a kid that wants to do work sheets all day, or needs to get grades or anything like that, but say a seven year-old who knows everything about the history of World War II, the Titanic, and loves to do math problems?

I just don't want him feeling like he has to hide himself to fit in. That you for your input!
post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
I have a son is would be considered highly gifted in the public schools. Right now we are homeschooling, but are considering a democratic/constructivist school... but I'm wondering what the intellectual climate is at *your* child's school? If a child is intellectually oriented, do they still fit in with the culture of the school? I mean, not a kid that wants to do work sheets all day, or needs to get grades or anything like that, but say a seven year-old who knows everything about the history of World War II, the Titanic, and loves to do math problems?

I just don't want him feeling like he has to hide himself to fit in. That you for your input!
I think it would be perfect for a kid like that, if it's anything like the school my son's in. I don't have time to elaborate ATM, but a kid like that would probably find our school very rewarding.
post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldabee View Post
I think it would be perfect for a kid like that, if it's anything like the school my son's in. I don't have time to elaborate ATM, but a kid like that would probably find our school very rewarding.
That is what I am hoping, but then I didn't know if I was just making it something that it wasn't (wishful thinkin'). Cool. That is good to hear, and please elaborate if you dare!

post #14 of 64
Thread Starter 
sorry I haven't gotten back here in a few weeks! time flies.
My boys school is much more creative arty and active. There is simply not enough or very little in the way of academics going on. We have our first parent meeting next week and i want to address the very lack of academics and how we can get that more of a focus w/o killing the spirit of the school. If anyone knows how other free...lets call the Summerhill schools get more of an academic focus let me know. That said most kids leave the school already having done college classes.
post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by thisiswhatwedo View Post
sorry I haven't gotten back here in a few weeks! time flies.
My boys school is much more creative arty and active. There is simply not enough or very little in the way of academics going on.
This is what I'm concerned about. My son is very academically inclined, he loves to do academic stuff beyond the basic learning how to read, and do basic math. I'd hate for the school culture to not value his intellect... although he does love art and is a good artist... Let us know how it goes.
post #16 of 64

From a former democratic school parent.

My children attended a school that claimed to be a sudbury model school. I won't go into the details but they do not attend now, we are back to homeschooling.

My advice would be to ask for references from the school from parents...former and current. If I had done that it would have saved my kids from being exposed to a lot of horror.

Check the school out very carefully....especially to see if they are complying with local and state laws, including health and safety.

I love the sudbury model and follow it with our homeschooling. If you find a good school, I'd say go for it!
post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
This is what I'm concerned about. My son is very academically inclined, he loves to do academic stuff beyond the basic learning how to read, and do basic math. I'd hate for the school culture to not value his intellect... although he does love art and is a good artist... Let us know how it goes.
I know for sure that there are at least two children at my kids' school that would be classified as "gifted" if they had ever gone to a public school. They both seem to be well liked and follow their passions (my kids are not really friends with either, although my dd is very close to sister of one of them). I'm not sure exactly how you meant value his intellect, could you expand on that? The impression I get from my kids' school is that nothing is really favored over anything else. I don't feel like art is valued over intellect...in fact, it's confusing me a bit to think about this in the context of a Sudbury school. If a child has something they are interested in, they pursue it. If they need help pursuing it, then they ask other people (staff or students) for help, be it for a quick explanation or a longer class or a field trip or a mentor relationship. It's not that there aren't classes at a Sudbury school, it is that they need to be entirely student initiated. And they only last as long as the kids are interested.

This is the part of Sudbury that many people have the most difficulty with (and I've had my moments of, "Oh crap, what are we doing here??" too.). It is something that is hard to trust, that your kids are really going to end up knowing what they need to know. I do believe that it happens, and I value the fact that the kids develop initiative and the ability to follow what interests them to the end, without having to stop and move on to some new subject they couldn't care less about.

I think if you go with a Sudbury school you have to watch your kid(s) and keep up with them (not to say that you should be hasty in changing schools, sometimes it is just a rough spot). I've known several kids who pursue outside interests via classes and other kids who arrange to go part time and other kids who graduate early because they want to move on and others who decide they want all-day classes and choose to go to a new school. Sometimes Sudbury feels amazing to me and other times I am insecure, but my kids are happy with it and often astonish me with the things they know, so we're sticking with it. I know the staff fairly well at our school and I know they are great about helping kids find information. Good luck carmel23!

Oh, and thisiswhatwedo, how is it going with your kids? Did the parent meeting go well? I am really interested in all of this, even if I don't often have time to post...

My kids are doing well so far; my 6yo ds has been playing with lots of different kids this year, not just his two close friends. This seems to have helped with his feelings of ambiguity; he rarely has days he doesn't feel like going anymore. He has already grown so much in the few short months; he is mellowing out a lot. The main problem he's having is there have been many many ghost stories travelling around, which he does NOT like. Hehe, we spend hours talking about it at home. Now we have moved on to evil fairies...help! lol He is so much like me, I can't stand scary things either (although to be honest he handles it much better than I do...).

cloudspinning
post #18 of 64
Have any other democratic parents been asked not to talk about the school with their children? I found this part of it impossible to deal with and didn't think it was healthy for my kids or the family.
post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharedspirit View Post
Have any other democratic parents been asked not to talk about the school with their children? I found this part of it impossible to deal with and didn't think it was healthy for my kids or the family.
No! That's odd. What was the rationale for that?
post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharedspirit View Post
Have any other democratic parents been asked not to talk about the school with their children? I found this part of it impossible to deal with and didn't think it was healthy for my kids or the family.
No. I would like to know the reasoning behind that too.
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