I've been reading this thread and wanted to say hi to everyone and offer some support. I am the parent of a Sudbury student and a Staff and cofounder at Rising Tide School in Olympia, WA. Our experience with Sudbury has been incredibly awesome, rewarding, and life-saving. My daughter is happier than she's ever been and learning so much! I want to share some thoughts for people who are thinking about Sudbury and for those who are trying it but struggling.
Reading along here, I am really struck by how parents struggle over their children's attendance at Sudbury schools. Because it's so different that the schools that most of us went to, and so different than the schools that most people we know go to, it can really be hard to understand how it all works AND hard to know how to support our kids as they educate themselves. The problems that come up often have no equivalent in the world of mainstream education and so we don't have the practice and support to work through them.
For example, Caronne talks about withdrawing her kids from SVS because (in part) they haven't yet figured out how to how to get the classes they want. Yes...that's definitely not the typical problem that we faced growing up or that our friends or neighbors face
A few parents from Rising Tide are here with concerns about resources and gaming. How many parents have to worry about trusting their children to use media responsibly at school? I hear other posters with worries that are based on incorrect information (for example, about transcripts and how Sudbury schools support students who go on to college). No, Sudbury schools don't provide transcripts. It would be impossible to, because each child's educational path is completely different and the school does not undertake to measure or assess student activities. Yes, that means that, unlike their peers in traditional schools, students have to take full responsibility for figuring out how to get to college. No wonder people often are so worried when thinking about trying Sudbury.
I really encourage people to reach out to the Staff at their schools when going through struggles like these. It's so helpful to get clarification about school policies and to hear what goes on at school directly from the Staff. I find that parents almost always experience relief and renewed excitement after reaching out and scheduling a conference. It is hard work to try this type of education--it requires so much trust and effort from us as parents. To really educate ourselves about how the school works and to constantly work through our own fears and worries--without much support from the world--is a big undertaking.
And yet is really is so worth it. I don't know of any better way for children to truly create a meaningful education and a meaningful life. I hope that those of you who are drawn to Sudbury give it a try, give your schools and students lots of support, and get lots of support for yourself.
Best of luck on your journeys! I really enjoy talking to people about Sudbury and about how to support your Sudbury student (and yourself) through the self-education journey. If you'd like to email me you'd be welcome to--it's abbebird at gmail dot com. peace,