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I saw the archived post about DVS and I wanted to respond to it, since my son attends the school and so far it seems like a perfect match for him. The review noted that her brother had to repeat a grade after spending a year at DVS. I think this misses the entire point of a Sudbury School, which is not to teach material at a particular grade level, but to allow the child to indulge his/her curiosity.
At DVS, a kid could spend all of 5th grade learning about Greek history/culture/language if they chose (as well as the the social learning that takes place just being part of a Sudbury community), and needless to say they'd have missed what other kids learned in 5th grade. The point is that kids learn, over time, what interests them, how to manage their time, what they want to do with their life, and what knowledge/skills they need in order to accomplish their goals. If what they want to do requires college, they can choose to learn what they need to to score well on the SATs. At any particular point in time, a kid could be way behind in some subjects and way ahead in others, but they finish school with the knowledge and life skills they need, which are acquired in a spirit of curiosity and the based on the child's own motivation, rather than by following an imposed curriculum and doing one's work to get a good grade and/or please the teacher.
Having a kid who is very bright, has consistently been at grade level or above, and has always hated school and gotten terrible grades, I think it's the right choice for him. It might be the right choice for a lot of other kids, too. I have two other kids who are thriving in the public schools, but I think that the same approach does not work for all kids. A happy DVS parent
Re: Looking for democratically oriented schools
There is a democratic/Sudbury type school in Concord called Diablo Valley School. I don't have direct experience with it, but a close friend has her kids there and they all really love it. It also sounds like they are pretty flexible with their tuition rates too. The school is located about a block from the downtown Concord BART station. Their website is www.dvschool.org Good Luck CJU in Concord
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