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A parent's shifting view on the Sudbury model

So, here's the impression I had of Sudbury schools before attending an info-meeting...

I heard others talking of a school (or a learning environment) where there were no set classes or routine, where kids were free...but to the point where many kids spent years just playing, sometimes just playing computer games, or just being on screens too much, for too long, and I guess I had formed the opinion that maybe this was a type of schooling where the adults are too indulgent, never able to say no to the children, or have clear boundaries, and children's potential being 'spoilt' by adults who don't know how to inspire, lead...etc. I also had the impression that this was a type of schooling mainly for kids who cannot cope with conventional schooling...

And that kids who want to really learn, in such a way as to get to college, or progress in their field of interest, wouldn't have that opportunity... (I guess I'm also hesitant to send my younger daughter for that she's a student who seems to love book learning the way it's offered in the school so far, and she's v v bright.. And I'm not confident her needs would be met in a Sudbury environment)

... But these opinions of mine are changing... 

My eldest daughter is also v bright, but she's v different, very clearly learns in a very different way to that offered in normal schools, and really struggles with the normal schooling environment, but when she has freedom, she is v driven and inspired in doing what she loves.

I trust completely that if given the time to 'deschool' she would find herself energised and flourishing again and stepping back into life like she used to before school changed that for her. ... My younger daughter seems to love being given tasks and then excelling at doing them..

I'm not  sure I trust yet that she would find a Sudbury environment engaging enough or inspiring enough...that she'd find a way forward herself... I think she likes being guided for now... Again, I'm not sure, and am exploring...

It was reassuring for me to feel the gentle, trusting, compassionate energy at the last meeting.

I sensed the heart and intelligence of the way the Sudbury system allows children to reconnect with themselves and then thrive... I felt it from the presence of those at the meeting, and I trust that kind of energy. It felt real. 

It was reassuring to hear of the dedication to assisting students to reach their goals, on whichever path they chose for going forward into further study or training and adulthood...

I wasn't aware children were helped in preparing for exams, A levels etc...

And that's a relief for me to hear, and sheds light on my misplaced opinions of before. 

For further information on Life after Sudbury you can view or download this slideshow from WCSS`s trustee Mark Lucey: Life after Sudbury: Progression to College

(you find it in -> library/downloads)

I home schooled for many years.. And loved it... And it seems I approached life and learning in a very similar way to the Sudbury model... My kids chose school, at 8 and 9, to meet peers...make friends, find out about this world of school they were excluded from.

I don't regret my kids having experienced school, they've learned a lot and experienced a lot... But this year, in Transition Year (TY), my eldest had the chance to relax again, with no homework, and school was engaging again, with work experience, exciting projects in the community etc... But. just recently, homework was given again, and tests were coming up, and the stress and anxiety levels went way up again, and I see my daughters whole being resisting the massive amount of study the leaving cert will demand of her, and I had started to look for an alternative... I thought she could go straight to theater college after TY, but then the age for attending was raised to 18, so I'm not sure where to go next.

Even if we don't get a place in Sept, my daughter now feels to try for three A levels, which would be awesome, or a Fetac level 4 course, so I've received so much already from what you shared at the meeting and what the group are offering.

So thank you.


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