Sonya Peters
Biology
 
History
 
Sonya Peters has tried every kind of schooling from rigid Christian programs to unstructured free schools, tutors, and home schooling, but none have suited her. She suffers wide mood swings, sometimes being interested in everything, and at other times being totally uninterested and avoiding school entirely. When she's up she's unstoppable, and when she's down she's unstartable. This has made progress difficult.

Sonya sets high goals, she's smart, and she's realistic but she moves to a rhythm that seems to conflict with every program she's tried. How does such a person get what they need? Does one really need a teacher, a program, or a school? And what if you're fully able, but entirely different? Given the obstacles that confront her how can she succeed? Given her drive and abilities she's bound to find success somewhere.

Interview Excerpts
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"When I was at Sudbury (school) I would sit there going, 'Oh, there’s a black spot on a white wall.' I’m staring at the white wall because there’s nothing else to do. There were things to do, but I was too lazy to do them. I didn’t have any interests other than animals. That was pretty cut and dry: if it has hair I like it, if it has scales I like it, if it has slime I like it,... but if it’s a person I don’t like it. Those were my interests…"

"I didn’t have interest until I left Sudbury, which is kind of weird because I’d say, 'I’m bored, there’s nothing to do here. I’m bored, I’m bored, I’m bored.' Then I got home and immediately it kicked into overdrive. I got interested in solar energy, sustainable living techniques, farming, agriculture, other woodsy survival stuff…"

"It came with the realization that I could actually get something that I wanted. That I could actually learn something. 'Oh, you can sit down and you can read this book and you can learn it, learn what’s inside.' When before I thought you needed a teacher to teach you everything…"

"I feel that one of my greatest achievements was something I said to my Mom. I said to her, 'Mom, Sudbury broke my mind. I’m a free thinker now. Look at me, I’m a free thinker!' "

Links
Sudbury Valley School, Home Page
   
Copyright © 2010, Lincoln Stoller. All rights reserved.