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December Chit Chat - Page 15

post #281 of 435

There are a lot of reasons that we're drawn to Uruguay..  One, it's a first world country, but most people seem to have an impression that it's an impoverished place.  We like that it's totally off of most peoples radar.  

 

*There is a very European feel to it

*They have a stable government

*The cost of living is about 1/2 of the USA, although it is more in Uruguay than some other South American countries.

*There is good, affordable health care there

*The education system is good, if we decided to stay there long term our kids could go to college.

*The climate is very moderate, similar to Southern Cali.

*Most of the country is farm land, and they have very stable, high quality, non-erroded soil and growing conditions.  Basically, the country can support all it's own people with it's own land.

*There is a lot of affordable beach-front property.

*There is low governmental regulation, so we can go there and build any type of house/farm we want.

*It's fairly easy to get citizenship there, you just need to be able to prove income.

post #282 of 435

Yes, we intend to do pre-school at our local Waldorf school. I, too, dislike the religion aspect (we are atheists), but from what I've gathered from our local school they don't do any of that. They celebrate the traditional holidays that Waldorf is known for, but honestly those are pretty much pagan holidays adopted by Christianity over time. I feel pretty good about the celebrations they do because they are very earth centered and surrounding the changing of the seasons, etc. I like the idea of having more celebrating in our life! Even if it does have a Christian feel. I feel pretty open minded about it.

 

The cost is pretty outrageous, though! At this school I'm talking about the parent/tot class is $300 per trimester for one morning a week for 2 hours. Two days a week preschool is $5,500. Three days a week is $8,300. Kindergarten is $13,800 for five days a week and grade school starting in 1st grade (they go to 8th grade) is $18,500. dizzy.gif

 

There's NO way we'll be sending R here full time - but I'm thinking we may do 2 day preschool when he's old enough just for the experience. We still plan to homeschool beyond that with a Waldorf vibe. 

post #283 of 435

I have been told by all Waldorf educators I've met that anthroposophy is not part of their curriculum. That's not what concerns me. If the school's foundation is based around the principals Steiner came up with, which is anthroposophy, it's bound to pose issues. I will say any child with special needs or learning disabilities has no place in a Waldorf school. That really disappointed me. As well as the delayed reading and general delayed learning until 7 or 8 years old for the reasons that Jaimee said. If you need to switch schools during those early years, your kid is going to be behind. From what I've seen, it's not just that they don't push early learning/reading, it's that they don't encourage it at all. In fact, it is discouraged in general. 

post #284 of 435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

There are a lot of reasons that we're drawn to Uruguay..  One, it's a first world country, but most people seem to have an impression that it's an impoverished place.  We like that it's totally off of most peoples radar.  

 

*There is a very European feel to it

*They have a stable government

*The cost of living is about 1/2 of the USA, although it is more in Uruguay than some other South American countries.

*There is good, affordable health care there

*The education system is good, if we decided to stay there long term our kids could go to college.

*The climate is very moderate, similar to Southern Cali.

*Most of the country is farm land, and they have very stable, high quality, non-erroded soil and growing conditions.  Basically, the country can support all it's own people with it's own land.

*There is a lot of affordable beach-front property.

*There is low governmental regulation, so we can go there and build any type of house/farm we want.

*It's fairly easy to get citizenship there, you just need to be able to prove income.

We're moving with you. mischievous.gif

post #285 of 435

Start saving your money and practicing your Spanish.  :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky Wheeler View Post

We're moving with you. mischievous.gif

post #286 of 435

Nicole, congratulations!!!!  Finally some good news.

 

Abra, we know someone from Uruguay.  You pretty much hit the nail on the head in terms of its benefits.  He loves it there.  He spends half his time in Uruguay and half his time in Connecticut.  He owns a certified organic, grass-fed cattle ranch.  You'll have to track his ranch down if you move down there so he can supply you with GAPS-friendly food!

 

Jaimee, we are slowly getting better, thanks for asking.  There was a burial in our town for one of the little boys who died.  We are all still incredibly sad.  I finally had my real break down yesterday after the Newtown Waldorf school sent out their response.  It was incredibly moving, and such a tribute to why I want to send my kids through Waldorf.

 

So, regarding Waldorf education.  Well, you know it's not right for everyone!  thumb.gif  I guess I don't really have a problem with some of the criticisms of Waldorf education.  I'd rather focus on what I see as its incredible benefits.  I'll do my best to address what I gather from reading the previous posts are the main concerns:

 

Regarding the religion aspect of it, I find it to be welcoming of all religions, philosophies, everything in between, and lack thereof.  In our school, two teachers are Jewish, and there are many Catholics and Christians, a Muslim family, and an agnostic family.  Political parties and ethnicities are also well represented and respected.  We do not subscribe to any particular religion in our household, but tend to lean toward Tibetan Buddhism in our spiritual practice.  The school includes festivals and celebrations from many religions (including Eid) to ensure every child in the school is included, and they have modified the birthday celebration for one child's family (Catholic) who didn't like the allusions to the child choosing his parents before birth.  The festivals do not bother me.   I find them so beautiful and meaningful, and these days, necessary.

 

Regarding anthroposophy.  To my knowledge, teachers are anthroposophists, and carry their anthroposophic beliefs in their heart while teaching.  They do not teach anthroposophy to the children.  I have been at our local Waldorf school since DD was six months old, and I have never felt like someone was cramming their anthroposophic beliefs down my throat.  In fact, it has never been brought up by a teacher!  The parents, though, are usually very curious.

 

As far as kids being behind, I am not concerned about it, and I have found in my personal experience that this concern usually is never fulfilled.  I have a couple of examples.  First, my college roommate was Waldorf educated.  Hands down, she is the most intelligent, well educated, enlightened human being I have ever met.  She excelled at a college known for its rigor.  Second, I know several kids who are now in their teens who have been in Waldorf schools since parent-toddler.  They are intellectually curious, well read, artistic, articulate, confident, and warm.  The eighth grade project every child is required to do is like a mini-thesis project, and some of them are nothing short of extraordinary and originate deep in the heart of the child.  Third, my best friend's daughter is now a fourth grader at a Waldorf school.  She transferred to the school from one of the most prestigious private schools in our area with a serious academic focus.  The Waldorf school found *her* to be behind, especially in math and science.  The teachers came down from Massachusetts to tutor her over the summer in math, science, recorder, and cello so she would be up to the same speed as her Waldorf peers.  She was not ahead of them in reading skill, even though she started reading at four.  Finally, several kids at DD's school have transferred to local private schools and public schools at first grade (since her school ends at kindergarten) and have had no problem quickly meeting their non-Waldorf peers in reading.  I really now do the eye roll when people ask me if I am worried that DD won't learn to read.  I have yet to meet a Waldorf child who cannot read, and honestly, why on earth would I put her in a school where I didn't think she would learn to read?!  No one here on this board has made me feel this way, but honestly, I am started to feel a wee bit insulted when people ask me this (and it's usually presented in the silliest way possible:  "Aren't you worried she'll never read?"  C'mon!)

 

I didn't really discuss what I see as the benefits of Waldorf, but hope I addressed your questions!  Feel free to ask me other questions and I'll see if I can answer them for you. 

post #287 of 435

Let me know if I am breaking a rule by posting this, and I will delete this post.   These are highlights from an e-mail that was sent from the Newtown Waldorf School regarding the Sandy Hook tragedy.  I selected just a few of them.  The original e-mail was much longer, and included photos and drawings.  A particularly moving drawing was by a 7th grader who drew a beautiful angel leading a group of little children, dressed in white, to Heaven.  Seeing that drawing was when I finally, officially lost it.

 

***

 

It has been a week since the unimaginable loss of the lives of children, teachers and administrators at our neighboring Sandy Hook Elementary School, less than 6 miles away from us.  Our hearts hurt as we all send prayers of light and love.

 

A "business as usual" News, Notes & Updates didn't seem the appropriate gesture at the moment.  This week at HVWS the heartache has been palpable, yet it has been sprinkled with incredible tenderness, love and outreach.  We are fortunate that the Waldorf curriculum and community life hold rituals that ground us - and in these times heal us.

 

Last Friday evening, the youngest among us innocently and sweetly walked the Advent Spiral while their parents and teachers sent prayers out into the world.  The staff created the opportunity for the adults in the community to walk the spiral on Sunday morning; more than 60 gathered.  On Monday morning the grade school children had their chance to walk.

 

Words cannot express our gratitude for HVWS parents *** and ***, who were onsite providing crisis intervention counseling on Monday, or to the HVWS parent who works at Danbury Hospital and was calling our office on Friday to inform us about what was unfolding before the media did, giving us precious minutes to discern next steps.

 

This week 28 candles have burned quietly in the front lobby, and green and white balloons -- Sandy Hook Elementary School colors -- have adorned the HVWS sign on the grades campus next to the flag that flies at half-mast.  The balloons were then replaced by a big heart made out of evergreen branches.

 

Below is an attempt to share with you a small glimpse of the thoughtful communications between our teachers and parents, reflecting how the students were held; and a glimpse of the sentiments HVWS and Newtown have received from many friends.  All the correspondence couldn't possibly be shared in this small space.  This is just a snapshot.  For each email below there were another five... and then there were the phone calls:former board presidents, teachers, staff, parents, etc.  The emails are in no particular order.

 

Thank you to the parents who courageously sent their children to school this week; thank you for your trust.

 

We are a school in Newtown; we stand beside Sandy Hook.

 

Watch for the light.

 

***

 

Dear 2nd Grade parents,

 

It was something of a surreal scene yesterday.  The children happily and unquestioningly played indoors at recess, and had Handwork in their classroom instead of in the other building, unaware of the devastation and chaos playing itself out on the other side of town - and, to a large extent, in the souls of the teachers who knew something about what was happening.  What I was feeling was really a metaphor for the wall of protection we try to create around these precious young beings, to shield their childhood from the world's harsh and brutal winds, and to allow them to develop in peace and joy until they are strong enough to be able to process and handle life's uglier aspects.

 

I trust you will find the right way to bring yesterday's events to them in as muted a way as possible, and that you will also encourage older siblings, friends and relatives to leave them as untroubled as possible by media images and reports.

 

On Monday we will walk the Advent spiral, a beautiful and powerful medicine against the world's darkness.  I encourage you (without children) to come tomorrow morning between 9 and 11 to the Eurythmy room where the spiral is set up, to walk it yourselves in honor of the lives of yesterday's victims.

 

The 2nd Grade curriculum, like that of every grade, is itself a powerful medicine that awakens the children's awareness of good and evil, heightens their compassion for each other and for the world, and fortifies them inwardly so that one day they will be ready to engage properly with the world.  Their steady diet of Saints stories on the one hand, and Fables on the other, goes straight into their wondering souls and works deep within them.  I see it every day!

 

With love,

 Melissa

2nd grade teacher

 

 

***

 

On Friday morning, while our HVWS children were going about their business of play and work, their counterparts just a few miles away in Sandy Hook descended into a vortex of unspeakable horror that will forever impact the lives of so many. As members of the Newtown community, we bear the burden of grief, disbelief and awareness of the fact that while our families will be sending children off to school next week, some neighbors will not.

 

Rudolf Steiner was deeply troubled by WWI and wanted to foster a culture that would not repeat its horrors. He wanted to develop a prescription that would inoculate the future generations from the antipathy that threatens to devolve society.  Together with our community, our obligation as keepers of his vision is to cultivate the healthy development of whole human beings "who are able, of themselves, to impart purpose and direction to their lives."

 

 

Patrick Cushing

4th grade parent and Board President

 

 

***

 

Dear parents,
 

I do not know how much your children might be sharing with you about our day today so I thought I would try to do so.

We started our day as usual with going through our homework assignments that needed to be handed in etc. and then moved to the atrium for our daily Advent candles lighting and singing together with grades 5 & 6.


Once back in class I lit a candle for all victims of Friday's tragedy. We left it burning all day and will do so each day of this week.
I then spoke to the students about my/the school's reasoning behind not telling them anything on Friday afternoon. I spoke to them about the fact that many younger students at school or other younger children in their environment might not know the full extent of what happened so I asked them to only speak about it in our classroom. I let them know that they could speak freely about it and could ask questions whenever they wanted to.

Some children cried as they said they felt helpless and so very sad, another said to be really angry about this all. I told them I had cried too and it was only very normal to be sad about this. We spoke about it being different as this happened in Newtown where our school is and where some of the students live.

After dismissal time I was left in the classroom with Dylan and Marley. Dylan shared with me that he would like the class to dedicate their Nativity Play performance on Thursday to the victims of the tragedy. I was very touched by his thinking and asked him to share this with Ms. Merkling. We will speak about this some more tomorrow too.

I would like to share with you that today was a good day in school. The routine and comfort of it was soothing. More importantly the students are so amazing in their care and resilience.
My goal for this week is to try to keep it as regular as possible. We will burn the candle for victims each day and I will ask the class each day how they are doing. Please urge them to speak with me or another adult at school if they feel the need to.

Best,
Marleen

7th/8th grade teacher

 

post #288 of 435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

Start saving your money and practicing your Spanish.  :)

We're getting around $7K for taxes. Most likely not NEARLY enough to get there and settle, though. lol.gif But Billy lived in Mexico for 2 years, so he can be the translator until I get a handle on it. thumb.gif

post #289 of 435
Please don't say taxes again until congress fixes the fiscal cliff and he AMT...it just reminds me how in debt I'm going to be in a few months...

Your plan does sound awesome Abra. We have talked about moving abroad, or taking long work trips (then it is funded by the government, housing travel and all). But so far there is nowhere to go aside from Japan, and I'm just not too interested in spending a year in Japan right now.
post #290 of 435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

There are a lot of reasons that we're drawn to Uruguay..  One, it's a first world country, but most people seem to have an impression that it's an impoverished place.  We like that it's totally off of most peoples radar.  

 

*There is a very European feel to it

*They have a stable government

*The cost of living is about 1/2 of the USA, although it is more in Uruguay than some other South American countries.

*There is good, affordable health care there

*The education system is good, if we decided to stay there long term our kids could go to college.

*The climate is very moderate, similar to Southern Cali.

*Most of the country is farm land, and they have very stable, high quality, non-erroded soil and growing conditions.  Basically, the country can support all it's own people with it's own land.

*There is a lot of affordable beach-front property.

*There is low governmental regulation, so we can go there and build any type of house/farm we want.

*It's fairly easy to get citizenship there, you just need to be able to prove income.

 

That sounds awesome! You've got me sold. I'm coming, too! :)

post #291 of 435
Quote:
Originally Posted by dashley111 View Post

Please don't say taxes again until congress fixes the fiscal cliff and he AMT...it just reminds me how in debt I'm going to be in a few months...
Your plan does sound awesome Abra. We have talked about moving abroad, or taking long work trips (then it is funded by the government, housing travel and all). But so far there is nowhere to go aside from Japan, and I'm just not too interested in spending a year in Japan right now.

That sucks, Ash. guilty.gif

post #292 of 435

Earlier this year we were depending on the fiscal budget to be highered-  otherwise my husband would have been immediately out of work.  All the govt workers were at the bar, watching congressional hearings, waiting to hear if they were going to work tomorrow.  Now we are waiting to hear if we have to pay a ton of taxes.  It makes it obvious to us how little "the man" cares about toying with our livelihood and emotions for their agenda. 

 

Anyways, rant over...I'm sure nobody cares because it affects so few people and I only care so much because it directly affects us. 

 

 

 

ALSO, GOOD JOB LEVI!!!! I saw your video on Facebook :)

post #293 of 435

I think the whole DDC should move with us to Uruguay.  We can start an intentional community of people with children all the same age, heh heh..  Really though, I will let you all know what my dh thinks after he goes there in Feb.  We are all working hard at learning Spanish.  Luckily we already owned Rosetta Stone Spanish, which is awesome!

post #294 of 435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

I think the whole DDC should move with us to Uruguay.  We can start an intentional community of people with children all the same age, heh heh..  Really though, I will let you all know what my dh thinks after he goes there in Feb.  We are all working hard at learning Spanish.  Luckily we already owned Rosetta Stone Spanish, which is awesome!

Yes! Please.
post #295 of 435
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ZippyGirl View Post

I really now do the eye roll when people ask me if I am worried that DD won't learn to read.  I have yet to meet a Waldorf child who cannot read, and honestly, why on earth would I put her in a school where I didn't think she would learn to read?!  No one here on this board has made me feel this way, but honestly, I am started to feel a wee bit insulted when people ask me this (and it's usually presented in the silliest way possible:  "Aren't you worried she'll never read?"  C'mon!)

Yeah, my concern wasn't that they would never read, but that they could be behind if they needed to switch schools early on (like first or second grade) because of the philosophy of not pushing reading until the child shows readiness.  I know this idea has merit because it's been successful in other countries- Sweden I think- where some studies have shown it leads to a better grasp of the skill and a deeper love for reading.  But waiting until the child would naturally learn to read could result in a child not starting to read until 7 or even 8 years old, and therefore they could potentially be behind if they needed to switch schools.  And the reality was that we were considering Waldorf for just the first few years due to finances.  At any rate, I've met a few Waldorf educated students and found them to be very intelligent and deep thinkers.  I also really, really love the rituals and celebrations.  I actually just finished some figurines to put in my Grimm's Spiel und Holz Waldorf celebration ring.  I'll post pics in the crafty mamas thread when I get the pics on my computer.  smile.gif

post #296 of 435
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

I think the whole DDC should move with us to Uruguay.  We can start an intentional community of people with children all the same age, heh heh..  Really though, I will let you all know what my dh thinks after he goes there in Feb.  We are all working hard at learning Spanish.  Luckily we already owned Rosetta Stone Spanish, which is awesome!


thumb.gif  We have such a diverse set of skills among all of us that we really could create our own little self-sustaining village!  I lived in Costa Rica for about 4 months, but my Spanish is really, really rusty.  LOL!  Keep us updated, Abra! 

post #297 of 435

Let's all go to Uruguay!!!! run.gif

post #298 of 435
George and my step-dad are going from Feb 6th-21st. I will know more after that. What was your experience in Costa Rica Jaimee? It's one of the places George is going to check out.
post #299 of 435
Thread Starter 

First, I must say that I was there in 1999, so things may have changed quite a bit since then.  I was told at the time that Costa Rica had recently moved from a third world to second world designation, but it's not a first world nation, so definitely a different animal.  It's gorgeous- I think something like 28% of the country is protected land, they have many beautiful beaches and amazing rainforests (monkeys, butterflies, poison dart frogs, snakes, bullet ants, rainbow colored birds...).  We stayed at a few places where howler monkeys would wake us up each morning!  I would imagine that real estate is pretty affordable, but I really don't know since eco-tourism is really big there.  I found it a strange mix of little tiny villages, resorts, plantations (mostly banana, coffee, and pineapple), and one larger city (San Jose).  The roads are awful and most people did NOT speak English.  White women get whistled at constantly when you walk the streets- especially if you're blonde!  Being closer to the equator, the days and nights were pretty equal in length and that didn't change much as the seasons progressed so people get on a schedule of waking at dawn daily.  Most people don't have hot water in the house, so I took a lot of cold showers!  The food was pretty much rice and beans three times a day with fresh fruit or vegetables and bread.  People would get up each morning and go to the local market to get fresh bread and fruit.  Bars and dance clubs are main sources of entertainment- lots of salsa dancing!   They have two seasons: dry and rainy.  During the rainy season it pretty much rains daily in the afternoon- torrential downpours. 

 

At least that was my experience when I was there.  Did you have more specific questions?

post #300 of 435

Jaimee when Billy lived in Mexico, he said that they doted over his red hair ALL the time. lol Pretty funny how they appreciate different colored hair.

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