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Free at Last: The Sudbury Valley School [Paperback]

by Daniel Greenberg, Michael Greenberg, Andrew Brilliant, Carol Palmer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)


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Book Description

June 1995 1888947004 978-1888947007
As a college professor, I can attest to the fact that our secondary schools (both public and private) are not working. They are producing desensitized, passionless robots whose only ambitions involve participating in the vortex of the class system and increasing the wealth of corporate CEO's. Fortunately, the Sudbury Valley School offers a real alternative to all this madness. Any serious educator who has the common sense of a slug (and that's about one percent, by the way) will tell you that the educational system as we know it is merely an indoctrination into the values of the ruling class. Much of the work that is forced on teachers is mind-numbing bookkeeping and measuring designed to further the careers of educators (and satisfy administrators) more than anyone else. What is refreshing about Sudbury is that they do away with all that and get down to the business of educating students. Meaningful learning comes from the individual, and that's what the Sudbury model is all about. I can't recommend this book highly enough.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Sudbury Valley School Pr (June 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888947004
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888947007
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
(15)
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sudbury Rocks! September 3, 2001
By "creto"
Format:Paperback
As a college professor, I can attest to the fact that our secondary schools (both public and private) are not working. They are producing desensitized, passionless robots whose only ambitions involve participating in the vortex of the class system and increasing the wealth of corporate CEO's. Fortunately, the Sudbury Valley School offers a real alternative to all this madness.
Any serious educator who has the common sense of a slug (and that's about one percent, by the way) will tell you that the educational system as we know it is merely an indoctrination into the values of the ruling class. Much of the work that is forced on teachers is mind-numbing bookkeeping and measuring designed to further the careers of educators (and satisfy administrators) more than anyone else. What is refreshing about Sudbury is that they do away with all that and get down to the business of educating students.
Meaningful learning comes from the individual, and that's what the Sudbury model is all about. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Was this review helpful to you?
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome and wonderous learning May 10, 2001
Format:Paperback
Just under 200 pages this book is for the few brave souls who have kids and who like their kids and who believe that children are free spirits who if allowed to be around other kids who see the world as a classroom and life from birth to death as a learning experince, can and will benefit from.
We home schooled are son, and would have relished a Sudbury school had there been one in our area. This is a school that came about in 1968 in Framingham Massachusetts. Open to children ages 4-19. As the books notes "The school starts from a premise stated by Aristotle over 2000 years ago in his famous opening to the _Metaphysics_:Human beings are naturally curious".
The books explains how children at the school learn all the normal subjects and much more, but at their own pace. And they do learn. And I personally believe that the country needs more educational choices, including Sudbury and home schooling! Subjects covered are: Classes, Math, Fishing, Chemistry, Cooking, Play, how older and younger children teach others, The Honour System, Sports, how they deal with "troublemakers".
I am a big supporter of the idea of at least reading about choices other people are making and recommend this book to thinking people.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great statement of self-education and mutual respect. October 25, 1999
Format:Paperback
This book explains quite a bit about the Sudbury Valley School, it is not about people who want to work at a super market checkout nor is it about people who do not know how to read. This is about a school that essentially lets you unschool. As and unschooler I found it to be interesting and inspiring. This is a book about a school where you essentially can become anything you want to become. Traditional schools are about molding people, this is a school about learning and freedom. While searching for alternative education I actually visited a school that models itself on SVS, however it was a bit of a drive to get there and it was just getting off the ground so I chose to unschool instead.
"There can be no freedom without learning and learning without freedom is always in vain"-JFK
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to the Sudbury Model April 27, 2001
Format:Paperback
A remarkable example of walking one's talk. These people set out to do something in the late sixties based on ideals that most of us have long since compromised to the pressures of performance and conformity. If it sounds too good to be true, I suggest you take a closer look.
The central message of this book is: Trust Your Kid. You will have to eventually, so why not start now, while they still live with you.
Many additional books are available through the school's website at sudval.org. There, one can subscribe to an active discussion list regarding this philosophy. Info about similar schools and startup groups is available at the SERN website, sudburynetwork.org.
This book is as good a place as any to begin the process of re-thinking what you assume education is.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the way schools should be run July 9, 2001
Format:Paperback
If you believe that kids need to be controlled, guided, and "exposed to new ideas," you won't like this book. But if you recognize that kids can be trusted to learn what they need most, when they need it most, you'll recognize the tremendous value of this book. Also, check out _The Sudbury Valley Experience_ by the same authors.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn in school the way you learn in life March 1, 2007
By PF
Format:Paperback
This book is about more than just another way to "do school". It poses a question and a challenge to all that we've come to believe about what education is.

After several years of reading and discussing, and of helping to set up a Sudbury school, I've come to see the Sudbury model as sort of a passive place by design, in that, to the individual member of the community, the environment and its inhabitants are "just there". Nothing and no one tells you what you should do with your time, or with whom you should do it. So in that sense your time there can become a kind of mirror image of your personality and your own view of things. I guess that's another way of saying that you get out of a Sudbury "school" what you put into it. Like life. I think the source of many negative reactions about Sudbury is that no one would be comfortable having to face the possibility that left to their own devices they wouldn't know what to do with themselves.

Having said that, and in the same sense, I also think the individual Sudbury schools can tend to take on the personality of certain of its members (staff and/or students). Like our own communities often do. The School Meeting and other democratic institutions that are part of the Sudbury model are supposed to be the hedge against democracy turning into mob rule. But as we know it doesn't always work as we'd all like it to. If it happens that the "personality" of a particular Sudbury school doesn't suit a particular member, he/she has 3 constructive options: (1) try to effect change through the democratic processes provided; (2) work within the system as best as you can; (3) find another environment that suits your needs better. Contrast this with traditional school, where for the most part only option 2 is available. At Sudbury it's up to you to make your time there meaningful. Like life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Opened my eyes
This book really changed the way I look at education. I grew up with the pressures of homework, projects, and making sure I excelled in every from science to phys. ed. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Edwin Soto
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED this book!
This book is one of the most amazing books I've ever read, and it completely changed the way we homeschool our son! Read more
Published on April 8, 2007 by Heather Williams
1.0 out of 5 stars I laughed when I read this book
My main objection to this book is that it is full of lies. The sudbury philosophy sounds great, but having enrolled in one, I have discovered that the dream of children having... Read more
Published on April 15, 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on education and learning I have read.
As a former teacher frustrated with the mediocrity andlimitations of traditional public schools, I find this book to beexciting and refreshing, offering hope that at least someone... Read more
Published on January 9, 2001 by T. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope for the education crisis
Short vignettes of experiences and views from the Sudbury Valley School. Sudbury Valley is a school in Framingham, Mass. Read more
Published on October 12, 2000 by yo-tambien
5.0 out of 5 stars Some chapters in German
I haven't read the whole book yet, but it seems to be great. OnSVS's webpages I found three free chapters and I found them soconvincing, that I started to translate them into... Read more
Published on July 1, 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars what a waste of time..
I looked at SVS when I was going into high school. Its a great place to go if you want to spend the rest of your life climbing trees or working in a supermarket checkout. Read more
Published on January 30, 1999 by Jared Yaffe
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