free schools, democratic schools, Sudbury -- how early? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-19-2002, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always been fascinated with the free school idea. Now in the US they are, definitely, not FREE (for parents) so I am thinking - may be hs or ps when the kids are elementary age, and later, with both parents working - democratic school? The school I located starts with kindergarten. Now how much of the school governance process is accessible to kids so young? I cannot comprehend that.

When I think of a democratics school - possibly? - I realize that I am more in the fantasyland than in reality, but still. Also my older dd is very much into order, doing the things "the right way" etc. I think the ps will just entrench that which could be damaging for her creative potential.

So I am wondering about your opinions - as parents, as educators.

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#2 of 12 Old 09-20-2002, 02:41 AM
 
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Hi. At Sudbury Valley School kids start at age 4 and fully participate in the process. They vote on everything from hiring staff to the budget. Mostly kids that are interested participate, and those that aren't don't. Daniel Greenberg's book Free At Last is excellent and a worthwhile read.
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#3 of 12 Old 09-20-2002, 03:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi. Thanks. I am going to get it - would you recommend the other book, too? --
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846
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#4 of 12 Old 09-20-2002, 03:46 AM
 
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Absolutely! They're both excellent. Free At Last is more of a feel good read, where The SVS Experience is more nuts and bolts. Also, check out www.sudval.org There's lots of FREE! info and literature on their site. You could become quite well versed on the model from their site alone. Enjoy!!!
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#5 of 12 Old 09-21-2002, 04:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's a gem. Thanks Angelina! I'll get myself prepared before making the trip to see the school.
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#6 of 12 Old 09-21-2002, 07:58 AM
 
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4 is not too early, although you must considre the child's feelings on the matter.

a

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#7 of 12 Old 09-22-2002, 01:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Alexander, thanks for joining in. The thing is, our most acute issue now is to live and let live (concerns sibling rivalry and overall family life). Academics she'll pick up. So in this regard -- although again, I cannot afford tuition now anyway - one of the aspects of the school idea is on our agenda, too. As I am thinking about it, I feel uneasy about sending her someplace to learn about living without encroaching on the rights of others - it's like acknowledging my failure in this at home. Well, probably I am a failure in this so far, so it's better to call a spade a spade.

My other concern with ps is this "right way" approach. I hope for her to appreciate non-euclidean (sp?) geometry as she gets a bit older, she has the potential for that, however with all the euclidean stuff -- as I see it in ps-based preschool -- I am afraid she won't be open-minded enough for that. I get paranoid about that, like every time she draws a neat shape I am thinking terror. But she likes it and enjoys order. May be the reason she enjoys it so much is order? :
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#8 of 12 Old 09-24-2002, 07:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Natashka
That's a gem. Thanks Angelina! I'll get myself prepared before making the trip to see the school.
If you are short of cash, you might better consider a trip to the one in Sacremento or the 2 in the SF bay area.

a

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#9 of 12 Old 09-24-2002, 12:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Natashka
it's like acknowledging my failure in this at home. Well, probably I am a failure in this so far, so it's better to call a spade a spade.

My other concern with ps is this "right way" approach. I hope for her to appreciate non-euclidean (sp?) geometry as she gets a bit older,
1) Successful Democratic schooling is an extension of a particular home lifestyle (that has particular enphasis on consideration of others).

2) Any desire that your children will appreciate any accademic discipline will doom you to at least disappointment, at worst failure to achieve your objectives. Better to allow a child to discover their own desires.

a

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#10 of 12 Old 09-25-2002, 04:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The one I was thinking f is in Santa Clara, CA>
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#11 of 12 Old 11-02-2002, 06:12 PM
 
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I just found out about a Sudbury school in Chicago at an elementary school fair I attended this morning. I am very psyched about it! The school is actually quite close to our house, which is just so amazing. I talked to two women there quite a bit, and just felt so in tune with them and the school as they described it. Such a contrast to all the other booths talking about gifted testing for 5-year olds - blech!

DS is 3.5 now, and could begin attending next fall at age 4. The tuition is $5000/year, but he could attend for just three days a week (until age 7) for $3000/yr. One of the women there works there part-time to pay for her son's tuition, which sounds completely ideal to me.

I will start reading and doing some homework to decide if this might be for us. I imagine I'll be back here soon asking more questions!
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#12 of 12 Old 11-09-2002, 10:46 PM
 
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We just interviewed at the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, MA--the original Sudbury. Our 4 yo will attend this spring for one week as a guest student, and the decision will then be made as to whether that's the school for him.

They had an industrial kitchen,. an art room with a pottery wheel, loads of libraries, a music barn, a garden, and little flocks of barefooted kids (in Oct!) running around. 8 year olds playing 4-square with teenagers. We're really hoping that it lives up to the reputation, and we'll see how it goes in April.

The 4yos can attend the weekly meeting, and they have full voting power. They also have the right to send a complaint to the Judicial Committee if wronged by another student, and to have that complaint fairly heard and acted upon. They're also expected to follow any decisions handed down by the committee if they act inappropriately toward another student as well. What I saw, mostly, were older kids respecting the little ones or just ignoring them and letting them run around like little fairies!

I also think it's an extension of our life. We're debating home schooling but if we do send him to Sudbury we'll enrich him at home, through teaching him our interests (chess, cooking, computers, reading, writing) and nurturing his interests.

mel
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