Category Archives: unschooling

Unschooling (and SVS) challenges

Some of the points this article makes would be aided by SVS, but not all. I know it’s a meaningless label ultimately (as the article explains) but I suppose “unschooling” families often have some overlap in approaches as families doing Sudbury model school.

On Unschooling Attrition…

“If … kids partly feel happy about avoiding the drudgery of school but simultaneously develop the sense that they’re falling behind — and the only way to catch up is to go to school themselves — then something is wrong.”

“We are all an interesting mixed bag and I sincerely hope the most interesting thing about you isn’t the form of education you’re currently using. Get out of your bubble and lose the agenda.”

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Experiences of ADHD-Labeled Kids Who Switch from Conventional Schooling to Homeschooling or Unschooling

“My analysis of these stories suggests that (1) most ADHD-diagnosed kids do fine without drugs if they are not in a conventional school; (2) the ADHD characteristics don’t vanish when the kids leave conventional school, but the characteristics are no longer as big a problem as they were before; and (3) ADHD-diagnosed kids seem to do especially well when they are allowed to take charge of their own education.”


Experiences of ADHD-Labeled Kids Who Switch from Conventional Schooling to Homeschooling or Unschooling

These kids and parents manage ADHD better without conventional schooling.
Published on September 9, 2010 by Peter Gray in Freedom to Learn

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Order of operations

A is 7 turning 8. He likes math. We have been talking about mathy things since he was quite little. Discussions of googol, googol plex, negative numbers and infinity happened YEARS ago, well before times tables. And today we did some verbal algebra. He totally get’s it. Why not? Big whoop. Math literacy happens at all different ages. Just depends. I’m glad he’s free to develop this interest at his own pace.

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Taylor Wilson

(I would personally spend my time tinkering with solar energy, but hey ok, to each their own!)
(as read on Google+)
Taylor Wilson

At 10, he built his first bomb.
At 11, he started mining for uranium and buying vials of plutonium on the Internet.
At 14, he made a nuclear reactor.

Wilson got his start on, a website where nuclear hobbyists who call themselves “fusioneers” fill message boards on topics that would enthrall only the geekiest subset of society, like “So where can I get a deal on deuterium gas?” The goal of every fusioneer is to build a reactor that can fuse atoms together, a feat first achieved by scientists in 1934.

“I’m obsessed with radioactivity. I don’t know why,” says Wilson in his laid-back drawl. “Possibly because there’s power in atoms that you can’t see, an unlocked power.”

Taylor Wilson (born 1994) is an American nuclear scientist who was noted in 2008 for being the youngest person in the world (at age 14) to build a working nuclear fusion reactor.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Energy offered federal funding to Wilson concerning research Wilson has conducted in building inexpensive Cherenkov radiation detectors; Wilson has declined on an interim basis due to pending patent issues. Traditional Cherenkov detectors usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (USD), while Wilson invented a working detector that cost a few hundred dollars.

In May 2011, Wilson entered his radiation detector in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair against a field of 1,500 competitors and won a $50,000 award.

The Boy Who Played With Fusion

Tayloy’s website:

You can choose to believe that this child is special and especially gifted, and that may be so. I choose to believe that this means that children should be allowed to specialize at younger ages… They should be taught how to get the answers they might need for themselves, not from teachers.

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More Woodworking with Kids links

Since we (as in… the world) is going to be in an ongoing struggle between globalization and re-localization for the foreseeable future, along with it’s impact on the education of our kids and ourselves, here are a few more links on the topic of woodworking with kids that I started back here. Nothing compares to the thrill my kids get of doing real things with their bodies — skiing, cooking, gardening, sawing logs, etc. (Except Minecraft. And Wild Kratts. And… well, you see the issue.)

So here we go.

- Kindergrarten Shop Class –

Mar 30, 2011 – Teaching children construction is gaining momentum across the country as a way to develop imagination and confidence

- If you’re in the Boston area, Wood is Good occasionally offers classes for kids.

- And The Eliot School, Boston MA offers endless courses for kids including “Very Beginning Woodworking – age 4-6″

- In NC, go to “summer camp” with a 5-day workshop from Roy Underhill. Here’s an example

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OK, this will be a running list of the things I would do if I were a SVS student or if I someday find myself independently wealthy or at least caught up on todos around the house!

1. Examine the 50/200 Simple Moving Average buy-sell indicator strategy. I am convinced it is better than buy and hold just by looking at it. But what am I missing? Maybe the returns aren’t that much better, but risk-adjusted they must be!

2. Windsurf and/or sail (or surf?) more

3. Ski (downhill) more

4.1 Solar: Build a “deployable doubt dispeller”

4.2. Solar: Add solar siding to the house and battery backup to our PV and lots of temp sensors

4.3. Solar: Visit the forgotten solar houses in MA that still around and working from the 80s and write a paper about them for Solar Today magazine.
And likewise talk to some people who have abandoned solar in their homes.

5. I am determined to get a marble pusher made out of legos to work! (see youtube) Argh!!!

6. Discuss

7. Vegetable garden

8. learn more vegan/Fuhrman style recipes

I notice that I don’t have exercise (like running and such) on this list. I think I’d usually rather do things like windsurf or play water polo or something I guess rather than “just” run or swim.

OK who am I kidding… I have time to do all of the above already!

Last updated: 9/12/2011

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Guest post: High School by Jessica

“High school? High school is all about extrinsic motivation. Work hard learning useless s_ _ _ to get arbitrary grades so that you can get into college and hopefully one day get a good paying job so that you can…buy useless s _ _ _. “Kids” spend their entire 20′s trying to find themselves, through the purchasing of useless stuff that they think will provide them with an identity that they were never given the time or space to explore.”

See also:
- Music and Life (Animation) words by Alan Watts
- Animation from DVD “Democratic Schools” by Jan Gabbert
- Children and Money by Naomi Aldort
- “Should School-Age Children Hold Jobs?” from: Education in America: a view from Sudbury Valley By Daniel Greenberg, pages 96-99

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Sudbury Valley School (the modern-day village) vs unschooling

“Dear Coby,
I liked your posting about SVS type schools vs unschooling. I also think that no matter how democratic a family is it is a too small unit for children to grow up in. I believe that they need an “outside the family community” to belong to as well as to the family. The old villages in the non-western world provided just that and here in the west we are obliged to create a psuedo [sic] village for them and call it a school. The children get to belong to a family and to a community which hopefully is in harmony with the family but which is separate from them. It provides kids for a place of their own to make relationships, to observe people of all ages, to learn skills that are not the family’s skills such as carpentry or putting on make-up (skills that my children enjoyed acquiring in the school), and above all it is a place in which they can make mistakes in privacy from their parents. …
Hanna from SVS” LINK

- Villages — See book: Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept (1999) (pages: 13, 30, 127, 130, 134, 136, 137, 139, 144, 152, 154 ,161)
- On SVS and Family:
“Sudbury Valley was set up to be a day school complimenting the child’s family but never superseding it in importance. The assumption is that the child receives a full measure of love from within the family, and uses the school to develop a wider range of relationships, from close and intimate, to very casual, all of course determined by the children themselves.” (The Sudbury Valley School Experience, p 180)

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“Teacheria is the drive to give lessons; it is not curable, but the symptoms can be managed…”
- Naomi Aldort

See also:
- Essay: “The evil of the teaching moment” by Hanna Greenberg
- The discussion of three levels of learning… “curious probing” vs “entertainment style” vs “unstoppable mastery learning” from “Do People Learn from Courses?” in: The Sudbury Valley School Experience, pages 90-99

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Unschooling and interning…

“[D]irect soliciting of fascinating adults is compatible with the unschooling (and, generally, homeschooling) philosophy of “learning from the world” and ignoring arbitrary age barriers. Why, then, do so few teens attempt it?” LINK

Basically, my sense is poking around in internships and such is never going to work out, but if you are really obsessed with something, you can probably just dive right in. That might mean some advanced schooling or mentorship. But it may not. Just depends.

- “The Loneliness of the Information-Age Learner: Students’ Ability to Pursue Knowledge as it Relates to a School’s Size” (from: Reflections on the Sudbury School concept (1999) page 219-228 (excerpt: “Nor was it realistic to assume, back in the late 1960′s and during the 70′s and 80′s, that there would be lots of opportunity in the outside community for our students to move in and out of learning situations… Use of outside resources was harder in reality than we had pictured in theory…” (p 220-1)
- John Taylor Gatto often talks about how he was able to line up internships/apprenticeships/mentorships/coops for many of his students — but I don’t see how this is widely possible. Maybe I am wrong.
- “Where then is the dividing line between childhood and adulthood? The question appears to be even more obscure…” (A New Look at Schools‎ – Page 38)

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