Parents

Articles and blogs written by parents of Sudbury school students.

The First Casualty

Author: 
Scott
Children are born with one overriding drive. They seek to grow up and to gain mastery over their own lives. Any child who grows up in a wider culture that values freedom is naturally jealous of what s/he feels to … Continue reading

Sudbury and the FEAR OF FALLING BEHIND

Author: 
Associated School: 

Not long ago a parent told me that her son had “never been happier” since he enrolled earlier this spring.  And indeed, that very morning I had seen him running across the back hill with his arms outstretched and his head thrown back; it was like a scene from Free Willy.  His parent told me that, while his former school had stretched itself to make things work for him, he remained miserable there.  His needs, for space and time and companionship, were not being met.  I hear it a lot: it was like trying to fit the old round peg into the unforgiving square hole, but here, at last, there was no hole to conform to.  Out the window at this moment I can see three little bands of kids wandering the grounds, gesticulating excitedly, creating worlds beyond my kin.  One of them has green hair and no shirt.  One of them is carrying a bag by a strap around his forehead.  And one of them is being led by another...on a leash.  It’s so easy to forget that homo sapiens have developed a complex set of needs - and the skills to meet them - over 200,000 years of evolution, and they are embedded in us like algorithms that find expression one way or another.  We need to explore our identities and forge them in the context of intense social interaction in order to be successful, healthy, and happy.  Welcome to our “school.”

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No Morning Bell Rings at the Sudbury Valley School

Author: 
Foss Tighe
Recently I was struggling with ideas on how to get the kids to help out more around the house. I found myself pondering what leverage I had over the kids. We have chosen not to make their allowance dependent on … Continue reading

Know Thyself - Know Thy Fun

Author: 
Associated School: 

Student readingLooking through children’s toy catalogs I’m always struck by the language. Scattered throughout the pictures of all sorts of toys, plastic or wood, bright colors or neutral colors, puzzles, trucks, dolls or whatever, there are special snippets of language designed to tell me something important. But what are they telling me? Phrases like “kickstart your child’s play,” “support your child’s development,” and “piano keys that play music and encourage creativity.” They make me suspicious. The first sounds violent, the next obvious, and the last sounds absurd. Since when did piano keys not play music or discourage creativity? Phrases like “helps your baby develop from a crawler to a walker through adaptive technology” are possibly reassuring to those concerned their children might instead develop from a crawler to a swimmer, or perhaps an orthodontist. Phrases like “differentiate among colors and sizes” make me imagine my toddler sorting white and brown eggs into large, extra large and jumbo sizes in an egg factory. 

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Floundering in Contradictions

Author: 
Daniel Greenberg
I have been extremely puzzled for some time that our society seems to be eagerly pursuing mutually inconsistent goals, almost as if we are unaware that in so doing, we are trying to go in opposite directions at the same … Continue reading

Death Knell for “Not on a School Night”

Author: 
Foss Tighe
There are so many ways that SVS challenges the way we think about school and education. Some are deep and profound others are just strange. Recently my daughter asked if she could sleep over at a friend’s house. It was … Continue reading

So Far, and Yet So Near!

Author: 
Hanna Greenberg
When I was in Israel (the country of my birth) this summer, I visited two thriving schools inspired by Sudbury Valley. Both are filled to capacity and growing fast, with a current total of over 200 students between them. What … Continue reading

Learning to Unplug from the Cultural Grid

Author: 
Associated School: 

Upon entering the doors at the Sudbury School for the open house, I noticed that there was no one available to engage my expectations for the usual handshakes and prepared introductions. Instead, warm but non-intrusive faces said hello, spaciously waiting for a hint of what we needed as visitors. It also felt like no one owned the building, space, or school, but instead expected that you should fill it as you like, not with “egoic mentalizations” that reflect the proscribed culture and conditioning we are accustomed to. At once I felt that I had to allow myself more space. A short while later, I had the recognition that all that hand shaking and greeting I am accustomed to is actually a kind of “sell.” “Sell” is the norm of the culture I was brought up in. In my family and community and schooling, you sell yourself by becoming articulate, learning how and who to hang with and when to drop names and by adorning proper handshaking. This way you will let people know you belong to the “right” club, or are cut from a certain cloth. Hence, it was an old and recognized structure in me that felt the respectful peace and non-pressured atmosphere at Sudbury as a discord. But as I challenged my usual internal frame, I also experienced it as hugely relaxing and pleasurable. Here there was no one imposing their will on another. After a while of exploring the physical space and finding their own way around, the group assembled to answer questions for the visitors. Again there was a deep peaceful space that was palpable as I calmed my “ready to step-up and fill the void self” back down again. Instead, I was able to notice what I can only describe as the roominess to be.

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The Sudbury Conversation

Associated School: 

I was talking to the father of a newly enrolled student recently.  During the conversation he told me about his experiences telling his friends about having his son enrolled at the school.  He said the basic conversation goes like this:

Friend: “So how is your son doing?”
Father: “Great!”
Friend: “Where is he going to school?”
Father: “He just started at the Sudbury School.”
Friend: “Ooohhhhhh….”

Accompanying this sound is a rather quizzical look.  While not saying any words, the sound and the expression convey a lot of meaning: thoughtfulness, concern, incredulity, and a large dose of “I don’t know what to say about that”.

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In Praise of Yu Gi Oh

Associated School: 

Oh, how I like Yu-Gi-Oh. I am not a seven-year-old boy, but a 36-year-old mother. Since September my five-year-old son has begun his formal education at the Hudson Valley Sudbury School. One of the biggest learning tools he has embraced is that of Yu-Gi-Oh and I cannot sing its praises enough.

For those of you who do not know what Yu-Gi-Oh is let me give a brief overview. Yu-Gi-Oh is a playing/trading card system in which people duel each other based on the cards in their decks. It is similar to Magic Cards, but it is based on Japanese Anime. The cards have different values, actions and purposes. Alas, I will not try to explain how the game is played with my limited understanding. Instead, I suggest you get some hands-on dueling lessons from someone under twelve.

There are tons of Yu-Gi-Oh spin-off consumer items including everything from a television program to toothbrushes. The television show is a series in which duelers duel each other. And while most parents try to limit television time, the Yu-Gi-Oh show does teach those watching the powers of each card. New card packs come out every few months, of course, necessitating a significant monetary outlay. However, we have found that desire for new "booster decks" can create inspiration to earn and save money.

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Contact Us

Hudson Valley Sudbury School

84 Zena Road
Kingston, NY 12401
 
Phone: 845-679-1002
Fax: 845-679-3874