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She spends her time watching TV, doing arts and crafts or practicing the piano.She learned to spell by e-mailing with friends; she uses math concepts while cooking dinner."And I think that all young people are that capable ...if you don't tell them they can't or they're not allowed, they surprise us in a lot of ways." Ricci is professor of alternative learning at Nipissing University and an advocate of unschooling, a concept that's gaining popularity in both Canada and the United States thanks to frustration with the current public education system.It's like heading toward a cliff." Sadofsky remembers the terror she and her husband felt after deciding to enroll their children in the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts.It was 1968 and her son was unhappy with the rules in his first grade class.The only rules are set by the student body and can be changed by a majority.The overlying theme -- respect for yourself, others and the property -- is taken more seriously, students say, because you're judged by your peers instead of an authority figure.

"Not that they know everything, but they know how to find what they need." Sudbury schools are democratically run, meaning every student and employee has one vote, whatever their age."I would say we could stand, and would probably do better, with less structure in education...the flip side of that though is that there has to be a middle ground," Schlozman said."I think our education system as a whole is, to me, in a very delicate and precarious place," Sudbury Valley staff member Mimsy Sadofsky said."It keeps trying to do what it can't do, which is make every child learn everything in the whole wide world.

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