The Downside of Sudbury Schools

Sometimes people ask me:

Is there a downside to Sudbury schools?

There is, actually. But it’s not inherent to the model.

The downside of Sudbury schools is that they tend to be very small and very rare. For most people, there's no Sudbury school nearby. You may need to start your own school, or else actually move to a place where a Sudbury school already exists. Starting a school is hard, and so is moving. So you may be out of luck there. Lots of Sudbury families endure long commutes in order to get to school everyday. (Though it can easily be worth it in the long run!)

Likewise, these schools tend to be very small. The average Sudbury school has maybe 20 kids and 2 teachers, which limits the number of potential friends you might find there. On the flipside, Sudbury schools tend to be very friendly places, so it’s not as restrictive as it seems. But there is a restriction nonetheless, and that’s unfortunate.

With such small numbers, how can kids participate in large group activities? There are workarounds, thankfully. There are a number of sports programs or theater programs that take kids from multiple school districts, and many Sudbury kids make use of those. But yes, it takes some effort to figure out the workarounds.

The thing is, though, it doesn’t need to be this way! If there were a groundswell of support for Sudbury schools, then the schools would be common and easy to find. And they’d get much larger, too! Both these problems could be solved if we just had more support for Sudbury schools. That’s one of the main missions of this blog, actually.

If you’re considering attending a Sudbury school (such as Riverwind), I strongly encourage you to keep on considering it despite these difficulties. Sudbury is still awesome.