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Any Dem/sudbury parents out there??? - Page 2

post #21 of 64
I've not heard of that either! Very odd...

cloudspinning
post #22 of 64
I was told that school and home should be kept seperate because it interfered with the learning process. The school staff made it very clear that alienating the children from the parents was a part of the philosophy of the school. The founder of the school told me that children knew what was best for themselves and parent's needed to let go of control.

At one point, I found out my 6 year old was being exposed to something at school that was very dangerous and illegal. When I called the school to talk to them about it, I was told that I needed to learn to trust my children and stop trying to interfer with the process. That's when I withdrew my daughter.

Has anyone else had this kind of school philosophy explained to them at a democratic school?
post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharedspirit View Post
I was told that school and home should be kept seperate because it interfered with the learning process. The school staff made it very clear that alienating the children from the parents was a part of the philosophy of the school. The founder of the school told me that children knew what was best for themselves and parent's needed to let go of control.

At one point, I found out my 6 year old was being exposed to something at school that was very dangerous and illegal. When I called the school to talk to them about it, I was told that I needed to learn to trust my children and stop trying to interfer with the process. That's when I withdrew my daughter.

Has anyone else had this kind of school philosophy explained to them at a democratic school?
No. Nothing like this ever occurs at DD's school. We have regular meetings with her teacher and all school meeting with students and parents, teacher and director once a month. One of the points of discussion that often comes up is trusting the children to learn, but never is the solution to butt out and let them just get on with it.
post #24 of 64
That was how I understood the philosophy, but it wasn't practiced that way at the school my daughters were in. I think it's really important to check out the school's carefully before enrolling. I love the sudbury model but if it's preached, but not practiced, it's worse than most public schools!

Children of all ages were allowed to leave the school whenever they wanted. The staff of the school didn't feel that it was their responsibility to keep the children safe. I've done a lot of reading about the sudbury model and have found that some schools claim to be democratic or a sudbury model but in practice they aren't.

It sounds like your school is what I was looking for. But where I live, there are no options like that for us. So we are back to unschooling. The hardest part is socialization. I live in a very rural area and there aren't a lot of opportunities for families to get together. I'd like to start a coop but there aren't that many families homeschooling here either.
post #25 of 64
Hi I'm new on this thread..
I live in Israel and we sen dour children to a democratic school. I was told that it is considered a free school in the US. I have actually never heard of a sudbury school and am very interested to know more about it. Our school has been around for about 10 years and is quite large today. It is very structured for a democratic school and that has evolved through the years...structure changing as school has expanded and rules changing as new families have entered bringing in new ideas and questioning all kinds of aspects then trying to change them through parliament and such. Imo it is getting too structured and evolving from a democratic school to something that I can't even define which saddens me. Unfortunately there aren't many other options around here and public school is out of the question. Unschooling is also not an option for us (well for my husband and I) and so we are staying put and trying to do what we can with what we have.
There is a lot of learning going on wether it be formal or through play, cooking, sport etc... so I am not worried about that and I see that I am always pleasantly surprised by their choices, and their ability to take responsibility for the choices they make. I feel that the guidance and attention to their personal need is met quite well, and owe as parents are an integral part of the school and process.

Anyhow I would love to hear more about democratic/free schools in the US and how the schools evolve through the years.
post #26 of 64
Thread Starter 
Hey I haven't checked this thread in a while. My boys are doing great at their school. (BTW- Dalia, Sudbury is a democratic school and I'm not sure how that got to be the popular term for these schools any one get this?)
We still are supplementing the academics as I am not really willing to completely let go of this. I love the school but do wish it had more classes offered on math and science, alas it is requested by the kids to have more of an art focus. My youngest son is doing well but I will be signing him up for science classes this winter.
My oldest son is struggling to focus on his online learning that I am forcing on him. Socially he has finally started to feel comfortable in his own skin. The kids at school stay busy and happy all day. The positive energy they create is awe inspiring. Something you never see at mainstream schools.
I still feel a bit tossed up between letting them do what they want and forcing academics on them. If I was to say why it is my fear of them having a viable future as I am not a money earner and have no husband. If I was wealthy enough to pay for them to be middle class I wouldn't worry so much about what they spent their time doing. This goes into a philosophy of class that I should explain more but won't bore you with.
As far as being "gifted" that truly is a misnomer in public schools. As a former employee that made decisions about who was gifted I have come to realize that Gifted is a term most school districts use for middleclass/upper middle class student (usually white) who's parents want more challenging academics so that their kids can be considered for better colleges. It almost always means more homework. It should be clarified as "academically gifted". Truly gifted kids are a dime a dozen at free schools because they are free to pursue their passion and talent. If you have a child that is self directed, intelligent can pose questions and seek answers then she/he is probably a good fit for a free school.
I really want to tour some of the other democratic schools and see how ours compares. I was thinking of asking one of the teachers if they want to do a road trip this spring break.
Anyhow, last comment about the school asking for the parent to not ask their kids any questions...I think I'd pull my kids out.
Our school asks us to be as big a part of their day as possible. This school has been around for thirty years so they are doing something right.
Keep chatting I will stop back more often!
post #27 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharedspirit View Post
I was told that school and home should be kept seperate because it interfered with the learning process. The school staff made it very clear that alienating the children from the parents was a part of the philosophy of the school. The founder of the school told me that children knew what was best for themselves and parent's needed to let go of control.

At one point, I found out my 6 year old was being exposed to something at school that was very dangerous and illegal. When I called the school to talk to them about it, I was told that I needed to learn to trust my children and stop trying to interfer with the process. That's when I withdrew my daughter.

Has anyone else had this kind of school philosophy explained to them at a democratic school?
Hey I just want to comment again on how freakin' suspicious I am of this school. Dem. schools really want the families to be a part of the community. Really this sends up some red flags, do you care to tell us what school this is?
post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by thisiswhatwedo View Post
Hey I just want to comment again on how freakin' suspicious I am of this school. Dem. schools really want the families to be a part of the community. Really this sends up some red flags, do you care to tell us what school this is?

It sent up red flags for me when I found out. It was very covert from the beginning. I still feel very guilty for putting my kids through it. I withdrew the children as soon as I found out what was going out. Other parents withdrew their children also.

Your Dem school sounds exactly what I was looking for. I spoke with a lot of people and did a ton of research on the democratic model. I should have spent equal time researching the specific school.


I live in West Virginia, and there is only one Dem school to choose from. If another Dem school was available, I would check it out very carefully. If they really followed the Sudbury Model, I'd send my children in a heartbeat! I really think the model works and the original Sudbury school has proven it.
post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahlia View Post
Hi I'm new on this thread..
I live in Israel and we sen dour children to a democratic school. I was told that it is considered a free school in the US. I have actually never heard of a sudbury school and am very interested to know more about it. Our school has been around for about 10 years and is quite large today. It is very structured for a democratic school and that has evolved through the years...structure changing as school has expanded and rules changing as new families have entered bringing in new ideas and questioning all kinds of aspects then trying to change them through parliament and such. Imo it is getting too structured and evolving from a democratic school to something that I can't even define which saddens me. Unfortunately there aren't many other options around here and public school is out of the question. Unschooling is also not an option for us (well for my husband and I) and so we are staying put and trying to do what we can with what we have.
There is a lot of learning going on wether it be formal or through play, cooking, sport etc... so I am not worried about that and I see that I am always pleasantly surprised by their choices, and their ability to take responsibility for the choices they make. I feel that the guidance and attention to their personal need is met quite well, and owe as parents are an integral part of the school and process.

Anyhow I would love to hear more about democratic/free schools in the US and how the schools evolve through the years.
Do you have a Democratic or a Free school near you? Children learn best through play...so do adults! I'd recommend checking out the school if you do have one close.
post #30 of 64
My children are in a Democratic school and there are 2 more in surrounding towns. I was just writing about how our school is evolving and I feel like it may becoming too mainstream. The children get to choose their classes and every year more academic classes are offered in place of other "play" classes. I used to think that was good, but now I am wondering .....
post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahlia View Post
My children are in a Democratic school and there are 2 more in surrounding towns. I was just writing about how our school is evolving and I feel like it may becoming too mainstream. The children get to choose their classes and every year more academic classes are offered in place of other "play" classes. I used to think that was good, but now I am wondering .....
I'm sorry, I must have missed part of your post.

Are they required to take a class if they don't want to? I think it's great that more classes are being offered. Free and Dem schools flourish when children get to choose what to do with them time. Lots of choices available is a good thing.
The freedom of the child to choose whether to take a class or not is the key.
post #32 of 64
As of now the only requirements are cleaning up and 3 hours a week of group meetings where they are split into groups (the groups are the same throughout the school year) to work on different kind of issues, usually social and usually the kids bring up the subjects. They choose all there other classes at the beginning of the year. And until this year we were very happy with how things were going. A nice balance of academics and classes that uses other activities to teach a lot of the arts drama, and sports. On fridays it is all child initiated classes as well.
However now there is a debate that was started about making first and second graders all take reading writing and arithmetic, which I totally disagree of course. Until now all 1st and 2nd graders chose it anyhow but this year one of the 2nd graders didn't want to, his parents told him that it was fine and his teacher (a new one in the school) told him nit let any of the other kids know so they won't get any ideas. Which is ridiculous in a school that stresses the importance of choosing one's classes and trusting our kids choices. I truly believe that children want to learn and will learn the basics, if they don't want to then there usually is a reason. Either they are not ready, or so far ahead that they need a break or they don't like their teacher (which I believe was the case here. This teacher is very intimidating and a lot of the kids I hear are afraid of him) Why he is in the school I don't know. Anyhow I wasn't there for the debate I heard about all this second hand. It is quite disturbing to me. I know that in order to make a change like that it would have to go to Parliament and would have to receive 3/4 of all the votes of parents student's and staff. I don't think today it would pass, but with so many new comers who knows. It has becoming a popular alternative to the public school system here since there is almost no private school system in Israel. It is also considered a public school but not a mainstream public school. It is partially funded by the country. So a lot of the parents are actually sending there kids there for the small classes and the ability to take an active part in their children's education. So I think it would be a hot debate and I think there are parents who wouldn't mind requiring the fundamentals in 1st and 2nd grade. What worries me the most is that there is a lot of new staff members and they are more conventionally oriented. That affects the learning process more than anything..especially when I have a child in there with an LD.
In Israel the democratic school system is quite strong, there are more than 12 schools in the country (don't know the exact number), which is a lot considering the country is the size of NJ. 3 in our area alone.
post #33 of 64
Thread Starter 
Shared spirit-glad to hear you guys are outta that place, that truly isn't what free schools are about. It sounds creepy.
Anyhow I am sorry your kids had to go through that but I can only imagine how you feel. Trying to do the right thing and having your trust destroyed. Perhaps there will be another , more stable opportunity for you kids at sometime.

Dahlia, I've read very little on the democratic free schools in Israel, but I knew there were alot of them, I didn't know why or how they got so popular. I actually would like if my kids had to learn the basics of reading writing and math at their school because I am having to teach them at home, which I should enjoy but I am a single mom who works so it is too pressure filled and I worry about academics so for me personally as much as I don't think it fits the philosophy I wish that they offered daily academics for the kids and the kids had to sign up for say two or three a week. I wouldn't mind that modified schooling. However I do like my kids being able to make their own decisions. I'll keep repeating there is very little academics going on at their school. The older kids seem to be more into learning and certainly by 11th-12th grade most of them are taking college classes but it is a big leap for me. I will say I was always more persistent at gaining knowledge than any kid I knew. I HATED school just hated it but LOVE to learn, always have. I think it has a lot to do with living across the street from a library when I was a kid.
post #34 of 64
Most Dem schools don't require students to go to the meetings. But most of them do because they don't want to miss out on the decision process.

We do family meetings at home and the kids always want to participate for the same reason.
post #35 of 64
We are looking into starting at a Sudbury model school for DD. We currently unschool and though we like, it, I think DD would really thrive with more time with other children. She's an almost 6 year old only child who is very social - and DH and I are both pretty introverted. We attended a meeting this week for a Q and A about the school. We liked the school. DD and I will do a visit next week.

I have some mixed feelings about the whole decision process, but they are mostly to do with my own issues and not even really about the school itself or the Sudbury model.

For one, I have become accustomed to being identified as a homeschooler, so there are some internal issues for me with changing that status. (Guess I'm hung up on labels - yeesh!) And I have trouble with transitions.

I like the idea of finding a community of like-minded families. We have a LOT of homeschoolers in our area and we are currently in some groups here, but we seem to have trouble making lasting connections because you never know who's going to show up ever. I think it would help DD to have some of the same people around most of the time. Plus I get exhausted having to make all the arrangements. I think DD would prefer to have unstructured time on a regular basis rather than occasional random play dates mixed in here and there with a couple of classes every week. Plus, someone I know from church has a son who goes to this school so we might be able to carpool part of the time.

We are looking at doing a part-time enrollment (avail for the younger kids) if we decide to go with this school. I like that it's an option since we have a homeschool class DD likes on Mondays already anyway. Plus it costs less.

My other main concern is more about dealing with friends' and family's reaction to our possible decision. If we enroll, I don't plan to make a huge announcement, but I'm sure it will come up in conversation. Mostly I am feeling anxious because my parents are coming to visit next month and I am anticipating some challenges from them if we decide to enroll.

And, I was also very surprised to find myself feeling guilty about the idea. I think this is because it's kind of expensive for us to do any type of private school. And while some budget re-arranging should do the trick, I guess I have some issues about "privilege" and such.

So if you read all the way to the bottom, thanks for listening to me ramble. I'll have a better idea of what's going on next week after our visit. If we like it, we'll probably schedule a week to try out the school to see how it fits. I think we'd probably start this spring rather than waiting until next fall if we decide to go with this school.
post #36 of 64
hi!!! my dd doesn't presently go to a school that is like these but i have her on a magnet school lottery list...hopefully she will get chosen for this fall for 'first grade'. this school is a public school yet their way is more like a free/sudbury environment...democratic, mixed age setting...no textbooks...its great. they have a library, loads of art and inventing...etc. they definitely get edumacated on social issues, current events (obama election...) and history, for example.

it goes from K-8th and i am so STOKED for my kids!!! if dd doesn't get in for the fall she will get put on a waiting list...i'm sure she will get in. then ds will automatically get in when he is ready for K. woooo!

right now dd goes to a waldorf school's mixed K. i have decided this is not the school i want for my dc...so much about it is great but still, it is restrictive and putting their 'way' on the kids...i don't care for that. i considered unschooling but then found this school here and i visited and i was sold. my dd is sooo extroverted and would love the freedom this place offers. i'll keep you posted...i'll know around april 10th if she got in!!! :
post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starflower View Post
We are looking into starting at a Sudbury model school for DD. We currently unschool and though we like, it, I think DD would really thrive with more time with other children. She's an almost 6 year old only child who is very social - and DH and I are both pretty introverted. We attended a meeting this week for a Q and A about the school. We liked the school. DD and I will do a visit next week.

I have some mixed feelings about the whole decision process, but they are mostly to do with my own issues and not even really about the school itself or the Sudbury model.

For one, I have become accustomed to being identified as a homeschooler, so there are some internal issues for me with changing that status. (Guess I'm hung up on labels - yeesh!) And I have trouble with transitions.

I like the idea of finding a community of like-minded families. We have a LOT of homeschoolers in our area and we are currently in some groups here, but we seem to have trouble making lasting connections because you never know who's going to show up ever. I think it would help DD to have some of the same people around most of the time. Plus I get exhausted having to make all the arrangements. I think DD would prefer to have unstructured time on a regular basis rather than occasional random play dates mixed in here and there with a couple of classes every week. Plus, someone I know from church has a son who goes to this school so we might be able to carpool part of the time.

We are looking at doing a part-time enrollment (avail for the younger kids) if we decide to go with this school. I like that it's an option since we have a homeschool class DD likes on Mondays already anyway. Plus it costs less.

My other main concern is more about dealing with friends' and family's reaction to our possible decision. If we enroll, I don't plan to make a huge announcement, but I'm sure it will come up in conversation. Mostly I am feeling anxious because my parents are coming to visit next month and I am anticipating some challenges from them if we decide to enroll.

And, I was also very surprised to find myself feeling guilty about the idea. I think this is because it's kind of expensive for us to do any type of private school. And while some budget re-arranging should do the trick, I guess I have some issues about "privilege" and such.

So if you read all the way to the bottom, thanks for listening to me ramble. I'll have a better idea of what's going on next week after our visit. If we like it, we'll probably schedule a week to try out the school to see how it fits. I think we'd probably start this spring rather than waiting until next fall if we decide to go with this school.
There is a google group about democratic sudbury schooling that is very informative. You should be able to find it on a search.
post #38 of 64
Thanks, Sharedspirit - I think I found that group the other night when I had insomnia! :-)

Today, we were going to go for a two-hour appointment so DD could play with the kids and I could talk with the staff and observe, but I had to cancel because DD is still sick. Instead, we're going to the ND again shortly.

The school is on spring break next week, so hopefully, we can go see them again after then. DD really wants to go back after the info meeting.
post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublyblessed View Post
hi!!! my dd doesn't presently go to a school that is like these but i have her on a magnet school lottery list...hopefully she will get chosen for this fall for 'first grade'. this school is a public school yet their way is more like a free/sudbury environment...democratic, mixed age setting...no textbooks...its great. they have a library, loads of art and inventing...etc. they definitely get edumacated on social issues, current events (obama election...) and history, for example.

it goes from K-8th and i am so STOKED for my kids!!! if dd doesn't get in for the fall she will get put on a waiting list...i'm sure she will get in. then ds will automatically get in when he is ready for K. woooo!

right now dd goes to a waldorf school's mixed K. i have decided this is not the school i want for my dc...so much about it is great but still, it is restrictive and putting their 'way' on the kids...i don't care for that. i considered unschooling but then found this school here and i visited and i was sold. my dd is sooo extroverted and would love the freedom this place offers. i'll keep you posted...i'll know around april 10th if she got in!!! :
i am SOOOOO BUMMED. OK...i am utterly DEVASTATED. i called the school today and my dd did NOT get picked in the lottery. arggghhhh! she is on a waiting list. the woman couldn't tell me what # she is on the list so i guess i'll get that in the mail soon... she said not to despair too much...that the parents whose children did get chosen in the lottery have until the 15th to say yay or nay that they will accept and then from there, everything shifts...so maybe dd WILL get in for the fall. oh please i hope so. otherwise, i'm considering unschooling her until she gets in.......... i feel her waldorf school is just too restrictive. i want my baby to be FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! ugh.
post #40 of 64
Good luck, doublyblessed.

We're hoping to go to the Sudbury school here for an appointment during school hours this week, but it will depend on if everyone is healthy enough.
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