A Non-compulsory School

Now let me preface this post with *I am not advocating this type of school.* I am posting this to get your thoughts on what this information presents below. I am going through a period of study trying to figure out what an ideal school system might be today. We’ve had some discussions on this in the past and it’s a topic that needs more exploration. So with that said, there are 3 videos below. The first is a short history of compulsory education I came across online. The second and third are actual schools where the students are practically on their own. Very limited structure. Please watch these and leave a thought below. Could you put your child in a school like this?

The first video is 6.5 minutes, the second two are about 10 each and if you watch one you don’t necessarily have to watch the other, unless you’re really fascinated. They are similar schools. If you don’t want to watch or have time right now, you can read this brief essay from one of the schools. https://www.sudval.com/05_essay.html




[Sudbury schools]

20 Responses to “A Non-compulsory School”

  • Bob:

    Daycare for future failures and welfare recipients.

  • Maggiecarron:

    I think children need more structure. They make some good points. But children neeed structure and guidance.

  • MaryM:

    Both of the schools are allowing their students the freedom to learn, to create and to make decisions. Oak, you might remember at the March 2010 ASD Board member when I got to the microphone said, “I am 81 years old and I suspect I am the only person here who was ever in a one-room school.” Then I told a story about how that experience impacted my older brother and I … in different ways… because of the different ages and interests in the room and the fact that we were on our own most of the time. The teacher spent all her time teaching different ages and small clusters of children … very similiar, in fact, to both Sudbury Valley and the New American Schools!

    I’m sure my comments confused everybody … on both sides of the issue that brought about the discussion … the district’s motto of “Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy.” I, apparently, was the only one in the room that thought it comical that neither the School Board or the parents seemed to realize that the issue should have been resolved when everyone in the room stood up, faced the flag, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the REPUBLIC for which the flag stands!! If either side had been listening to what they were pledging… they should have known that the motto of the school directly contradicted the Constitutions of both the United States and Utah and everyone should have agreed at that point that the school’s motto needed to be changed!

    I think I picked up on the absurdity of the discussion because I went to 17 different schools, missed a lot of school, began reading early and graduated at the age of 16. I retained my natural curiosity which, it seems to me, is pretty much destroyed in children today by about the third grade.

  • traditional educator:

    Their arguments are the same used by progressive educators. It is merely privatized progressive education. Education by hippy-like, “Rage Against the Machine” anarchists–not what I would choose for my child! I realize there will be a small minority of artistic, ultra-creative children who might thrive in this type of environment, but they will still be left with foundational gaps if they receive no other schooling and they will most likely spend the rest of their lives “raging against” the real AND imagined machines. But really, video games and bridge? Honestly, their parents want to pay to send them to a school where they can play video games and bridge all day? Couldn’t they do that at home, unsupervised?

    How many adults are angry that they were taught math facts? That their teacher made them work hard to improve their penmanship? That their mother forced them to practice piano and now can play it? Would we rather that we had been taught that life should always be fun and we should be allowed to do whatever we want? No!

    The same philosophy detailed in the movies above is followed by the “Thomas Jefferson Education” homeschooling book. I am all for teaching the Classics as the book encourages, but I find it crazy they name the book after Thomas Jefferson. They obviously have never read his letters to his daughter when he was in France. He had every bit of her day planned out down to the half hour. He dictated exactly what she was to learn and how she was to study. I am not advocating this type of rigidity, but clearly a homeschooling philosophy that advocates progressive education should not claim Thomas Jefferson as their inspiration!

    But back to the movie, I object to the man’s remarks that 90% of children schooled in traditional schools see their teachers as the enemy. I do not believe that is an honest statistic–but if you’re learning is a result of completely free educational choice, I doubt you’d ever learn what real fact is, what good research is–that would be too “rigid!” I do not see the children in these movies self-imposing research papers where they learn how to accurately cite their sources. Learning to write research papers was a grueling process for most of us, but aren’t we glad we were made to do it? My own experience having been schooled in a very traditional Carden school proves completely the opposite of his flagrant 90% statistic. The children at my school loved to learn. When they all left the Carden school for high school, they were the students who stood out as avaricious, ACTIVE learners in their secondary schools.

    The Montessori idea that children should learn what they want is a progressive idea that is fine for preschool, but not for the core educational years. Spending all time at the art table simply because they want to will not teach a child much about life. Life is full of things we don’t want to do–weeding, cleaning the toilet, and for me, learning math facts. Yet a huge thank you goes out to those that taught me those things! Some of my greatest triumphs have come from times I did something I didn’t want to do, did it anyway, and found confidence in myself as a result. Wouldn’t everyone agree with that?

    These progressive private school educators in the movies suggest that teachers are unworthy dictators and that authority figures should be a thing of the past. They throw out all boundaries: authority figures (the teacher!), a well-organized curriculum comprised of foundations in learning, most likely God and other absolute truths. I can’t imagine they embrace the word “commandments.” It seems the educators of these schools have never moved beyond the philosophy of their adolescence!

    My experience as an educator and parent has shown me that young children thrive with boundaries that are derived from true principles. As they age, they need fewer guided boundaries and more freedom to discover, but they should still have a teacher who can guide them toward higher learning. A good teacher or parent will always encourage their questions and will recognize that if they ask the question, they must be ready for the answer–no secrets or hidden agendas, but that doesn’t mean no guidance by a respected authority.

    Fear of an evil, national agenda or a bad experience with a bad, dictatorial teacher has caused these schools to reject traditional education and, as a result, have gone too far to the opposite extreme. I am grateful to the traditions given to me by my fathers AND my traditional teachers–those traditions have given me the guidance I have needed to pursue a life of happiness and direction.

  • Marjohna:

    Many years ago I first heard about these kinds of institutions and thought that they were likely an answer to my discontent with my experience of public schools. Sudbury, I know, has been around a long time. My providential contact with Prof. Buddy Richards at BYU in an educational ethics class helped me to see this style more accurately. While there are aspect of it that I think can effectively be incorporated into improved education, I know that they have many drawbacks, along the lines of what has been already mentions. It would be interesting to see the results of the institutions in the adults that came from them, ie how they think about it now, do they have children that they have similarly enrolled, what is their current lifestyle, etc. I now know that this kind of school is just an instance on a wide spectrum of educational structures available and were they driven by market forces, people could choose what suited their purposes. The unsucessful methods would quickly and appropriately fade away.
    Prof. Richards convinced me that Principle-based education, established upon the methods and purposes of the scriptures, (ie. train up the child in the way he/she should go, rule of law discipline, etc.) was correct and I have found great satisfaction as a teacher in developing my method and curriculum accordingly. I have also seen great success in my students’ attainments; skills, demeanor, reasoning ability, etc. Oviously my method is not right for all children and their families either. There would be many options in an education market and many smaller, parent/student responsive, effective institutions.
    I think that I can still put my hands on Prof. Richards analysis of the basic philosophies of education and I doubt he would mind if they were shared in this forum.

  • Anonymous:

    I couldn’t get the You Tube videos to come up, but reading the sudval link you posted, this is EXACTLY what the constructivists have preached all along. It’s the old don’t teach the children, and they will grow up to be “true” citizens of the world. It’s so seductive, and that’s the reason it keeps coming back after being proven false. And it’s all done in the name of “choice.” During my 50+ years I’ve come to almost shudder whenever I heard the word “choice” used in a political light, because it is almost always supporting falsehood. Abortion was pushed under the premise of “choice” and there have been several others, especially in the 60’s. They always have a hidden hook that takes away choice in the end. Vouchers is another of these “choices.”

  • traditional educator:

    Yikes, I meant “voracious”, not “avaricious”! That slip could definitely be used against my argument–I better proofread next time!

  • MaryM:

    It is interesting that the advocates of “trraditional education” has even mentioned the impact of technology and, yes, computer games on the ability of young people to learn. Almost unobserved, although mentioned briefly in one of the videos, is the reading ability of boys today. I first noticed about 14 years ago one of my grandsons who was eight years old at the time in playing Nintendo with his older brothers, and being determined to win the game kept interrupting his mother’s and my conversation with the plea, “Quick, tell me what this word is!” She was getting increasingly irritated at his interruptions when I said: “Stop and listen to what he wants! He wants to know what a word is! How excited to learn is he when he brings home a list of spelling words to memorize?” That young man is now at BYU on a scholarship following his mission. I’ve noted that the young men who grew up playing computer games are FAR better readers than the boys in my generation at the same age.

    There is far too much for the rising generation to learn to used antiquated and teacher union methods! Competition in playing comoputer games, especially among boys, is a GREAT way to teach them to read well. They have, via computer, the Internet and Google an incredible international library that can quickly inform. For example… I just Googled the motto for the Alpine School District – “Enculturating the Young into a Political and Social Democracy” – and 104,000 links popped up. So far as “training up the child in the way he/she should go, rule of law discipline” – the current teen-age population in the USA has the lowest crime rate in history. FAR less crime among today’s youth than among either the baby-boomer or the WWII generation! I think it has a lot to do with how they spend their time… playing a lot of computer games and communicating via texting.

    What they DO need is more verbal communication … which is what is taking place (although not mentioned) in the two videos Oak has posted on this site about Sudbury Valley and the New American School. Both schools, without mentioning it, are teaching communication skills that have largely been lost in modern public schools.
    I’ve watched over the years as our “education” and “child raising” cultures have dramatically changed. I can’t remember a single time back when I was a child or teenager (1930s and 1940s) when there EVER was an adult around outside of school. Today there is ALWAYS an adult around! Games are organized and controlled by adults. Today’s children are almost ALWAYS under the supervision of an adult. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, if we wanted to play a game of baseball, for example, we first had to figure out who in our group might have a ball, or a bat, or a glove…. that called for discussion, planning and thinking that WE DID. We also had to find a vacant lot or some place to PLAY the game. Yet, somehow, without a bunch of paid baby sitters or educators controlling our every move, my generation figured out how to cope with the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and helped this nation becaome the leader of the world in technology.

    What I am seeing these days is a population that has been “trained” out of real creativity…and is using entertainment largely to releive the boredom they experience in the public educational system. From nursery school to graduate school they’ve been taught to sit still, not interrupt and and DO what the teacher tells them to do. They are actively discouraged, in the classroom from coming up with original ideas. Originality and independent thinking is condisiered wrong or disruptive.

    The results are what we are seeing … a nation that is losing its ability to invent, discover, and lead to such an extent that it has, in the past two years, chosen leaders that have ignored both the Constitution (which has not been taught in public schools) and passed legislation that has based on “government” taking care of them, like their “teachers” have done in their youth.

    Hopefully, the election this week is a sign that voters want to get out of the classroom and get back into the kind of thinking and action that built the country.

  • Jennrc3:

    The parents realized that we have a Replublic. We are just disappointed that we felt like we needed to explain it to the school board :).

  • Jennrc3:

    Some of the ideas are great but I would change a few things too. I like that the age groups are mixed. I have studied a bit about this setting and understand that it is a good thing. I love that the children get to play outdoors a lot. Nature teaches so much. I like that there are lots of options the children can learn from…sports, music, academics, etc. and it is not a “conveyor belt” type of education like our public schools. I would make sure that patriotism, storytime (reading of classics) were included in the schools, and I would like to see a little better dress code. I would want to see better role models as teachers (no mohawks, movies stars or rocks stars). I think God should be included in the curriculum too. Not as a particular religion, but just as a basis of knowing right from wrong and wanting to do their best to become the type of person God wants them to become. I think a little stucture would be a good idea, not necessarily telling them what to do, but requiring them to pick something whorthwhile to do with their time. This is more necessary at about 12 years and up. I would eliminate the videogames, as they can be addictive or just a plain old distraction to some children. When it comes to voting, I think the parents should be more involved too. I think allowing the children to learn to think is a great idea!

  • Ada:

    I have never believed in giving children a child-directed education, meaning allowing the child freedom to do whatever they want and to study what ever appeals to them and avoid whatever they do not want to study while the adult acts as a mentor who facilitates the child’s pursuits but does not impose his own goals upon the student. This idea began with the novel Émile written by Rousseau about a young man that was raised in isolation from society with a mentor who allowed him to pursue whatever interested him. The man develops into a wonderful self-actuated citizen. But the story is fiction. Rousseau had no experience with raising children. Whenever his mistress bore a child, it was promptly hustled off to the local orphanage. It is based upon a false idea of the nature of man. This philosopher of French Enlightenment believed that man was basically good and that society corrupts him.

    In contrast the Bible says, “Train up a child in way he should go,” Proverbs 22:6 and “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15. At the Hebrew school that Christ would have attended the students studied from the scripture almost exclusively. “The aim was to encourage study by sense of duty rather than by reward or fear. Reading, writing, and grammar were taught.”

    Young children lack the wisdom to know what they need to learn. Parents have the responsibility to guide their children’s education. Schools are a resource to help parents do that.

  • Susie Schnell:

    No thanks! I would never put my kids in a school like this. I prefer more structure, especially when they are young. The way I teach, the kids have fun while they are learning because we’re creative with the basics. I believe in a balanced program much like the Charlotte Mason approach. Teachers teach the basics (math facts, phonics, music, grammar, handwriting, reading, etc) so children receive a foundation of all subjects, both core and the arts and sciences.

    In my home school, children decide much of the curriculum under guidance from parents. For example, my 7th grade daughter wanted to learn Italian this year so she agreed with my suggestion to start off with Latin root words to improve her spelling, vocabulary, and to ease into the Romantic languages. At the same time, she is interested in related subjects like ancient Rome, famous Italian artists, mythology and the forming of governments leading to our Constitution. When a child learns what he/she wants, but a teacher/parent guides the work to make sure it is well-balanced, they learn to love learning and get much more out of it. A parent or teacher’s job is to make sure they receive the best books to study from that are interesting and factual. My daughter and I hate dumbed-down school history and science books for example, and use original sources and more interesting books. The consequence is that she loves reading her school books all hours of the day because they are so interesting (and this includes Math and History!)

    For science, we study the world we live in from biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology, etc. We go outside, sometimes in the middle of the night, in every season, and learn to love and appreciate our world through microscopes, telescopes and through our 5 senses. We use the best books to study these topics and find great videos.

    I like children being able to spend more time on certain things they are interested in without a bell going off and telling them to stop. This encourages creativity and interest. But they shouldn’t be allowed to just do whatever they want all day as these movies describe. The goal is to have a child who loves to learn and has a foundation of good habits and skills to be a life-long learner. School isn’t 9-3pm. School is a way of life in my home and we are grateful for every learning experience however it comes. Our favorite methods are hands-on, working things out by experimentation, and taking field trips for multiple types of instruction (art, science and history museums, hiking with audobon books, backpacking in the wilderness to figure out how to set up tents, light fires, catch fish, survive). We have hundreds of books and the kids see us reading and looking things up all the time so they have learned to do that also. They know from our example that it is important to know how to communicate through speaking publicly and through written word. We let them figure out math equations when figuring out home projects and cooking. But they have to work in math books also to get the basics. If we are supposed to be writing in journals to keep a personal history, why not let this be the main form for writing and just give them prompts? If we want them to know basic Bible stories and good principles, why not have them learn how to read using scripture readers and simple books about what is most important to us? Use their cue: my younger daughter loves poetry so we read poetry from The Book of Virtues, she uses these poems for copywork and handwriting and she writes her own poetry.

    Mixing ages in a classroom or home encourages children to not only learn from those with more experience, but affords them the opportunity to teach and to be compassionate with those who need help.

    Balance, obedience, and a good foundation in core subjects are missing from those schools in the videos. Public schools many times are missing ways for children to create, figure things out and have fun while they learn. I admire teachers who can motivate students to love learning. There are ways to present traditional education to make it fun for kids. We need kids with skills and knowledge….not just kids with high self-esteem. When we pattern the love of learning, we tend to have children who also love life and end up reading every sign at the zoo and other museums so they learn even more. Children want to go to ballets and plays and concerts if they see parents doing it. Turning off the TV and reading good books together like Shakespeare or the Narnia Series makes going to those movies or plays more enjoyable and understandable for them.

    Sorry Oak, there’s my long answer to these kinds of schools.

  • Susie Schnell:

    I completely agree with you, Traditional Educator. Thanks for posting. My comments follow.

  • Buffysnell:

    Thanks Oak. That was a new way of looking at things. I always get so stressed out about “home schooling,” but maybe I could do it. And I really enjoyed reading all of the different views. I think that some structure is necessary, but I really like the idea of giving them a little more freedom to choose the curriculum. I’m going to have to think about that balance some more. Thanks, everyone, for all of the insightful comments!

  • Jon F:

    I am willing to bet that 0% of these kids are prepared for college and therefore have a near 0% chance of getting anything besides an artistic job.

    I want to know how many of the “graduates” from these types of schools go on to get a college degree.

    On the other hand, our current school system destroys creativity and will not encourage artistic abilities. To each their place, it all depends on the child.

  • Milojane:

    Yes, todays schools are overly structured. Yes, todays schools waste and enormous amount of time. (I know, I was a high school teacher here in Utah Valley before quiting to raise my kids.) Yes, I do believe that kids are receiving a sub-par, shallow education. I do feel that more freedom for the children would allow them to accelerate IF they were given some more guidance, like in the third video. I think the most telling flaw in this “open system” was demonstrated in the second one where the students were unable to articulate their answers to the interviewer. They stumbled over words and has a difficult time formulating, presenting, let alone defending their opinions. It would be interesting to see this type of education tweaked to where the students could earn the privilege to choose their projects, by submitting written proposals, making oral presentations, formulating a sound debate, or formulating the outline of an experiment they want to conduct, followed up by a daily journal and submitting an analysis at the end. Something like this would allow them to pursue their interests, and also allow them to develop some skills that they can take into the real world. If they going to construct their own education, they must have an idea of what they are building.

  • Jenny Z.:

    We need standards, like times tables, reading, etc., but our present school structure, I believe, is detrimental to our children. My favorite school by far has been a Montessori, where there are standards and the children are taught that they have a job just like adults, but the structure is not so strict. When I walked into the classroom, it felt like a couple of mothers guiding their 15 children. And it was not chaotic. My children, with vastly different learning styles, difficulties, and gifts, all soared in their learning. It was marvelous to see. Of course, content is very important. This Montessori was big on evolution; I don’t know if Maria Montessori started that or if it is new.

  • Orem Mom:

    Another problem with these types of schools is that the students appear to be even more led by peers than even traditional schools. Sure, some of them will do their own thing, but with no real guidance they will tend to do what their friends are doing. It seems too, that telling students that they can do whatever they want to do could lead to total selfishness. I suppose that a school like this could produce a well-rounded child IF they had the parental support/example at home.

    Someone mentioned “Thomas Jefferson Education.” I’m not so sure you totally understood it. I didn’t either when I first read it, but over the years I’ve found that it works – but it wasn’t what I thought at first (which was unschooling/sudbury type stuff.) Thomas Jefferson Education doesn’t say let the kids do whatever they want to. The book says there are three phases in a youth’s life: core phase, love of learning and scholar phase. Children must be guided by parents through these phases.

    Core phase is typically ages 0-8 (or so), although some adults are still in it. This is the phase for children to learn discipline, principles, right/wrong, etc. This is a great time for them to learn good habits and to work hard. In this phase, children play creatively in their free time (not video games/tv.) Public schools often cheat younger children of this time by pushing academics too hard too early. This is not to say that academics during this age are wrong, per say, but that the core values are the 1st priority, not academics.

    Love of Learning phase is usually 7-13ish. This is when children really learn to love learning. Parents fill the environment with enticing books and other learning tools while setting the example themselves. This is not to say that parents let their kids do whatever they want to! It means that you don’t push the child to do things they may not be ready for or interested in (yet you can get them interested in almost anything if they are in this phase.) Children in this phase will spend most of their free time reading. This is also where traditional public schools also often kill the love of learning in children. Perhaps because they learn to do the minimum required to pass the test.

    Scholar Phase – usually ages 13-18 – this is when the teenager really takes his education into his own hands and begins studying hard many things. He catches up in areas that he may have been behind in. The parent helps with planning what the student wants to learn, time management and helping the student stay on track with his goals. The parent can also help by finding classes, mentors, teachers, etc if learning on his own isn’t working out. Parents don’t have to remember calculus to guide a teen through the high school years. A student in scholar phase spends most his free time studying and reading. Society seems to have this a little bit backwards because it is during the teen years that they are encouraged to play.

    This is somewhat similar to the classical education model, which is as follows (in a nutshell):
    K-3 – Grammar stage – collecting ideas and information
    4-8 – Logic stage – thinking about the information
    9-12 – Rhetoric stage – expressing ideas about the information.

    Charlotte Mason’s works fit in very well with the TJed model as well. She encourages short, simple lessons when young along with a lot of outdoor time.

    The principles of Thomas Jefferson Education are below. (One caution is that the “not” doesn’t mean NEVER. And many of the “nots” are appropriate for a scholar phase.)

    1. Classics, not textbooks – reading classics instead of someone’s condensed version with all the interesting things taken out is certainly more conducive to loving learning and learning to think.

    2. Mentors, Not Professors – mentors would be preferable to guide you in a personalized education.

    3. Inspire, Not Require – inspiring children to learn new things makes the knowledge stick better because they wanted to know it, rather than learn it for a test. Giving children the big picture of themselves as someone great with something to contribute to the world is very inspiring too. Definitely the most controversial principle, but it doesn’t really mean to never require anything.

    4. Structure Time, Not Content – It make sense to have certain times when you are studying, playing, etc. You don’t always want to have to know exactly what, but that’s not to say you can never structure content. This is actually a good time management technique – to make a time map with blocks of time. However, in scholar phase, structuring content is definitely appropriate.

    5. Simplicity, Not Complexity – It’s SO easy to make learning complex, yet it doesn’t have to be. It’s the KISS principle.

    6. Quality, Not Conformity – better to master the subject than to learn it for a test and immediately forget it after.

    7. You, Not Them – basically means the parents need to be setting the example of studying, reading, learning.

    These phases could happen in a public or private school, however all of this very much depends on parental involvement. And because most schools do not have systems in place to promote this, it’s easier to get this by homeschooling. Which is one reason I homeschool my own kids and have seen incredible things from them because the process does work if the parents are involved (the nitty gritty of implementation doesn’t matter so much as the parents being involved.) My oldest is 16 years old and really does study for 75 hours a week not because I make him, but because he wants to – reading tons of classic books in all subjects, writing, speaking, etc. Even though I knew the process, I had a very hard time picturing that of him four years ago.

    I know one problem with the public school system is that many parents are NOT involved. PTA and volunteering in the classroom is great and all, but does that make them involved in their own children’s education? Not really. Parents need to be involved by setting the example, teaching children the things that are missing from school (classics, US constitution, etc), and by helping their children manage their time and resources. It also helps if parents could recognize these phases for students no matter where the children went to school.

    I always found it interesting that some people who graduated from public school do not feel equipped to teach their own children – why is that? Did the public school not do a good enough job? Did you stop learning once you graduated? Does someone have to tell you what to learn? Much of what is learned in a teaching degree is classroom management and curriculum development, but if you’re teaching your own children, you just need to manage your own kids (which you should do no matter where your kids are educated), and once you’ve figured out the big picture of education and you know how (and like) to read, you can teach your own children at home, or support their education elsewhere.

    Sorry, that was really long. I really like studying different forms of education!

  • Susie:

    @Orem Mom, don’t worry that it was long. That was a great summary of these different forms of education and reminder for parents to get involved in their children’s education. I wonder with a good teacher and with support from the school and district, why these same principles can’t be applied in public and private schools. This is why local control and more parental involvement is so important.

  • Lindy:

    Just a comment on the non-compulsory schools: I think they are taking a true idea to an extreme, which is never the optimal choice. Any good principle taken to an extreme will leave you wanting on the opposite side of the scale. A great teacher will not just leave you to your own devices- he will try to lift you by his own experience so you DON’T have to just “stumble” across it yourself. It’s like the Investigations math- they expect you to “rediscover” math over and over again. Why? It’s a waste of time to have to discover again what has already been figured out by someone else. Also, it is rather a selfish and vain idea to imagine that we can become all we need to become on our own. We need each other to grow, and we need to invest in one another. Allowing children complete freedom is unkind. Just as never giving them any freedom is unkind. It requires a balance of listening and watching and teaching and waiting to give optimum opportunity and true freedom. Kids are not truly free to choose if they are unaware of the accomplishments of knowledge of others. They cannot embrace or reject what they are unaware of. Also, work is a true principle that most kids need help to understand. Work (doing what doesn’t necessarily come “naturally”) is a gift that teaches real self value, as well as value for effort expended in anothers behalf.

    That is why the best skaters, musicians, architects, etc. study from the most experienced and trained teachers- they would never become excellent at anything if they were to train themselves. And, they would never push themselves beyond a certain point. Does this ever get out of balance the opposite direction (too much direction/control)? Of course it does. But if you ask me, it is easier on a child that has had to work and been pushed too hard to learn how to relax and learn to discover, than on a child that has been raised to only do whatever he or she pleases to learn to care about anyone else but himself and learn respect for others time or efforts.

    That is why I would never ever even consider such an education for my own children. Why send them to school? You can offer all the same things at home with a healthy dose of neglect- which most kids get during summer vacation anyway.

    Just my thoughts.