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what should I believe?? - Page 2

post #21 of 25
Originally Posted by LeLeMom View Post

Thank you all for your thoughtful and helpful posts.  I will take your ideas and recommendations and see what more I can learn!  


I would still, however, really appreciate hearing people's thoughts about the academic side of their Waldorf school, if folks are willing to share their thoughts on that.

The more I read this thread and this forum, in general, I realize how different our Waldorf school is. I think it's probably because we're in Europe and the school functions more like a Waldorf charter would in N. America. For instance, there's no enforceable media/pop culture policy. There's just a very strong tendency for parents not to buy their kids character stuff and not to be as in to media (and, obviously, kids can't bring cell phones, iPads, etc. into the classroom!). So the whole thing works more via informal social control than any hard and fast rules . .. and approach that works quite well, I have to say.


At any rate, did you have specific questions about the academics? My DS went to a typical public school til the middle of 2nd grade when we switched him, so we've experienced both. We've been very happy with the academic level at his Waldorf school. In fact, they were ahead of where his public school was with math. Behind with reading, but that's normal for a Waldorf school. I've loved how they've approached learning . .. integrating lots of hands' on stuff, creative activities, etc., while still getting the basics down. For instance, learning the multiplication tables  . . DS' class had a whole activity where they got up and moved learning the tables. And they just finished having several days of putting together their own "stores" and buying and selling things (pics cut out of newspapers) to make math real. And so on. But a lot depends on the creativity of the teacher.


Hope this helps.

post #22 of 25

What questions do you have about academics? I haven't had any problems and I'm happy with it. My child is doing very well and I feel happy with his progress. His teacher has a well-laid out curriculum for the year and shares it with us at the beginning.


This is one area, where I do think it depends upon the teacher and the school's ability to attract really good ones and ascertain when they are not.

post #23 of 25

I also wanted to add something about the academics (keeping in mind, as I said above, that we're in Europe so this could make a difference with curriculum expectations, testing, etc.) . . .


When we made the leap to send DS to the Waldorf school it was just that . . . a leap . . . and a scary one for someone like me who is a skeptic and a researcher by profession. Although I deplored the focus on standardized testing that has begun to pervade the schools here, I couldn't help but feel comforted by those cold, hard scores. I knew DS'  old school was "good" (actually one of the best!) and that he was doing well in a lot of areas. Sending DS to a school that was less "good" based on those scores was tough for me (some of that was the broader socio-economic pool from which the Waldorf school draws, but still . .. )


When we spoke to the teacher during DS' trial phase at the school, DH asked him, "What's a good reason for us *not* to send our son to your school." He answered very simply: "If you're focused on grades and outward signs of achievement." We were -- more than we wanted to be (!) -- and, therefore, it was a leap to send DS to a school with much less focus on that. They don't "teach to the standardized tests" which, in theory, I love, but it will be hard to see DS (possibly) score lower on those tests than he might otherwise have if he'd stayed at a regular school (this is also an issue here because test scores help to determine what sort of high school you can go to, etc.)


Basically, I'm thrilled with the academics at DS' school *but* they aren't "packaged" in the same way. He won't necessarily be scoring fantastically on standardized tests, he won't be flying through workbooks, his report cards will talk about reading and theater and painting and how he gets along with other kids in equal measure. He won't be learning things in a traditional way all the time (though, for instance, they still had to memorize their multiplication tables, etc.). So it's required a shift for us to see how much DS is learning. He comes home so happy and talks about having had so much fun that it's sometimes hard to believe how much he has learned! smile.gif It's been a leap for us to trust that he is learning -- lots -- even though he's not bringing home homework and workbooks and such.


(That being said, it's obviously important that all parents be aware of what's going on in school and have some sort of measure of what their kids are learning -- or not! Never turn over all responsibility to *any* school!)

post #24 of 25

Oh YES - multiplication tables! Here is one thing I love to share, as people always talk about 'delayed' academics at Waldorf. In the first grade, the children were taught addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  I'm sure things are different now, but I didn't learn division until third grade when I was in school.  (note - I believe the memorizing of the multiplication tables came in third grade, but the concepts in first)

It is taught very differently than I learned them,  I couldn't really begin to relay that as I'm not a teacher, but I did see it and it was wonderful and magical and my child (and his classmates) adore math, whereas I loathe it. 


post #25 of 25

I would hope that the professional "ethics" involved here (of a child's teacher dating, moving in with and then marrying the father of one of her students) aren't duplicated across the board at Waldorf schools!  I found that highly inappropriate and I'm surprised that it didn't raise an eyebrow for anyone else.


The interference in custody by the school (not an impartial observer thanks to the teacher's relationship with the father) and the absolute wrongness of depriving a mother with who has custody of her children of the information and access provided to all other parents at the school is also extremely disturbing.

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