My now 9 year old son has been attending Diablo Valley School since he was 5 and he would not have it any other way. As a parent I am thrilled that my child LOVES to go to school and every day he reports that he had a fantastic day. What does he do all day? Whatever he wants to do! He follows his passion, he plays, he cooks, he runs outside, he plays video games, he watches his favorite movies (over and over), he listens to and engages in deep and meaningful conversation with all ages, from 5 to adult, topics ranging from monsters to politics and everything else in between. He engages in a brilliant democratic system wherein he votes on laws, makes a plea or stands trial for breaking those laws and serves a sentence chosen by his peers if necessary. He goes on field trips chosen by the students. He is deeply understood and treated with respect by the staff who keeps the sanctity of child-directed learning at the forefront of their minds at all times. He reads, he writes, he tells time and does math....and he learned it all just by being part of an intelligent, interesting and literate community- not by rote drills while sitting in a desk. And there's no homework! Perfect!
Sudbury schools can be scary for many parents, but seeing my bright young daughter blossom and take on responsibility in this special and free environment, has been an amazing journey for me. It took me a while to accept that great learning can happen without formalized, sit on your behind and look at the blackboard teaching. This is the school for Free Range kids. The hard part is that you as a parent have to accept that it is possible that you are not a great parent BECAUSE of your own schooling but DESPITE your own schooling, and that if you love your child then you have to trust them and to set them free to pursue their own learning. This has been a very rewarding experience for my wife and I and now after 1.5 year we love it even more than when we started.
My children are extremely happy at Diablo Valley School. They are able to be self-directed. They have an equal vote in running the school. The school is modeled after The Sudbury Valley School. It is a democratic school that has been around for over 30 years.