RE: DSM: dancing

Joseph Moore (
Mon, 22 Jan 2001 13:08:20 -0800

Susan -
As a parent, I used to deal with worry about letting down my kids by not
trying to make them learn important stuff. My oldest two are 9 and 7, and
it's getting pretty ludicrous to worry anymore - they learns stuff that
blows my mind without any arm twisting. Ex: the oldest learned to knit.
We're not talking scarf, we're talking blankets with candle-tree patterns
and cabling and all those other beautiful things I know nothing about. At
school, everybody admires it - and takes it for granted that a little boy
might want to knit. This is nothing that would have occurred to me - yet his
powers of concentration and absorption of technical details (he reads those
pattern books and then knocks them off) are adult level in this case. My 7
year old does math problems in her head, just to do them. Doesn't read
fluently yet, but can tell what 17 times 20 equals by just thinking about
it. And she's usually so happy that it's a total joy to be around her.
So, except for increasingly rare and brief moments, I don't worry anymore.
But you have to see it to believe it. Hang in there!
Cautionary note: kids who start SM school after having spent time in
traditional schools need some time to adjust - they get bored and such. The
amount of time varies greatly by kid. Kids whose first school is SM tend to
catch on pretty fast (seems almost instant, from this parent's point of
Joseph Moore (Diablo Valley School parent)

-----Original Message-----
From: Susan Jarquin []
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2001 6:39 AM
Subject: Re: DSM: dancing

    I want to personally thank you for asking the Hard questions. I'm
sitting over here in my comfy little office with my BIG TOE stuck in the
Sudbury water, with similar concerns.
    I recently read the book, "The Parents' Guide to Alternatives in
Education" by Ronald K. Koetzsch Ph.D. He references Sudbury and Summerhill
and others in Chapter 17 titled Free Schools.
    Presently, my statement is: I want my kids to go to a Free School.
    I am waiting on my Sudbury Starter Kit. My statement may or may not
change with more research.
    I also have difficulties with the idea of not offering courses. It
seems to me that this is a common concern. I think it has more to do with
Trust than anything else. Do I trust my kids to decide what they want for
themselves? I have no problem with other people deciding what they want to
do. I am fearful that I will make the wrong choice for My Kids. What if
they never learn to read? What if they become undisciplined little brats?
Sounds like My problem, huh?
    I just really feel that if an error is to be made in a school regarding
coercion, subtle or blatant, I'd prefer an error on the side of NOT coercing
people. In my grown-up life I am faced everyday with people trying to
coerce me and believe me I do not Trust these people. Unfortunately, the
kids will have many opportunities to be coerced.
Susan Jarquin

Anne and Theo Julienne wrote:

I've seen your sentiment reflected in other posts and also the difficulty in

including Summerhill.
Perhaps someone could come up with a creative name for the "Other Schools"
that Sudbury lists on its site as having features in common with it (and
each other).
Here are some (admittedly bad) suggestions just to get the ball rolling:
Cousin Schools, Sudbury-Related Schools, FICWS Schools.
We want to call ourselves FreeSchool. We like many features of Windsor House

which stoutly disclaims the "free school" description. Not an easy one this.


> > Sorry about the Sister School thing.
> Anne,
> I, for one, consider Summerhill to be our brothers: while conventional
> education is a hundred light years from Sudbury Schooling, at least
> Summerhill's in the same solar system...
> (I can speak only for myself, however.)
> Joe Jackson
> Fairhaven School
> Maryland

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Mar 29 2001 - 11:16:24 EST