Fairhaven Blog

2022 Giving Letter: Education Outside of the Box

Greetings Friend of Fairhaven School, I hope my letter finds you and your family well. My son started at Fairhaven four years ago, and each day has been a great adventure encouraging autonomy, finding beauty in the natural world, and

A Letter of Love and Gratitude to Fairhaven

I’ll never forget the first time I drove down Queen Anne Road on my initial visit to Fairhaven. It was 2006, and accompanying me was my third child, Kieran. He was a newborn at the time, and Mark, the admissions

Unencumbered Learning – A Parent Perspective

“What struck me was that this student was comfortable in her not-knowing. She didn’t feel compelled to justify her answer, to apologize for what she didn’t know, or any number of other possible responses. Her knowing felt both true and unencumbered. As a person who went through traditional schooling, I am very aware of how my learning is anything but unencumbered.”

A Process of Conversion

We regret to share news of the passing of Gene Gary-Williams, grandmother of two Fairhaven School alumni and a great advocate for this school and Sudbury schooling over the years. We mourn her loss, and we celebrate her today by revisiting her blog post from 2009.

Fairhaven School and Unschooling

More and more families who contact Fairhaven tell us that they are “unschooling” their children, and the growth of curriculum-free homeschoolers seems to be increasing. Although we try to clarify the difference between the two approaches in interviews and conversations with prospective families, it’s a complex topic, especially since each family who adopts this style of homeschooling necessarily creates a distinct experience for their children.

Erasing Any Doubt – A Parent’s Perspective

The candidates were prepared, genuine, intuitive in their interactions, and open to all kinds of feedback in a way that had to have erased any lingering doubt for any attendee about what Fairhaven graduates are ready for after graduation. They’re ready for whatever they can dream up, and they’ve had the gift of time, space, and access to unique resources to prepare for their own adult lives using approaches that the “gap year” after traditional high school is becoming so popular for these days. Fairhaven students have had “gap lives” in all the best ways. They’re so ready.

Giving Radical Happiness

Fairhaven School students become ambassadors of radical happiness for everyone they meet. Strangers marvel at how articulate they are, their ability to entertain themselves, their desire for justice, their comfort occupying their own skin, and their ability to speak up and be heard. Fairhaven School students and graduates present an alternative childhood, where trust in oneself forms the foundation for a life well-lived.

From a Parent’s Eye

My son was comparing Fairhaven to the public school he attended until he was eight. “You know,” he said, “when I went to my old school, I was always doing things because someone told me to. I did things to make my teachers happy, or to get someone to like me, or to be like everyone else. At Fairhaven I do things for myself, and I don’t have to worry about what other people think.”

Grateful for Fairhaven

(Fairhaven School parent Elizabeth Arnold shared this journal entry with us and we would like to pass it on along with some recent photos taken by students and staff. Enjoy!)


Grateful for Fairhaven – a place, an environment, an opportunity, where love can do its magic – – souls can come to know themselves, each person able to come fully into their own, ending up solid and grounded, where children can play with their shadow selves in a safe haven, and learn where the boundaries lie between chaos and civilization, where consequences have meaning, not just arbitrary rules fashioned by strangers, but crafted with love to be true learning tools, where children end up teaching themselves, and each other, and even the staff ~ and parents can gain an appreciation for another way to learn, and for how amazing their children are, where resistance isn’t necessary, so instead of negativities arising, beauty and mastery . . .

Dirty Feet: Fairhaven School and Barefoot Culture

Are your feet, like mine, presently covered by shoes and socks? Do your feet, like mine, stink to high heavens when you take your shoes off in the evening? Do your children, like mine, often spend the entire day barefoot? Probably not, unless your children go to Fairhaven School, where bare feet are allowed and quite common to see, indoors and out, especially in the Fall and Spring.

Bare Feet


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